The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) seeks to fight enduring structural racism by exposing and preserving its legacy in an upcoming museum. The racial justice organization previewed the undertaking in a video released yesterday (April 11).
“We want to create an institution that allows people to experience, directly, what this history means and does,” EJI founder Bryan Stevenson says in the video above. ”In America, we don’t talk about slavery, lynching, segregation. So now, it’s time to talk about it.”
That institution, “From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration,” is currently under construction near the site of a former slave warehouse—a public, enclosed market where people were displayed for purchase—in Montgomery, Alabama. As demonstrated in the video preview, the museum will investigate the historical threads between slavery and contemporary anti-Black oppression through interactive exhibits and archival materials. It will also feature the largest collection of data on lynching.
“Our hope is that by telling the history of the African-American experience in this country, we expose the narratives that have allowed us, as a country, to tolerate suffering and injustice among people of color,” EJI senior attorney Sia Sanneh says in the video.
The 11,000-square-foot museum will open to the public in 2018 in tandem with a separate memorial to nearly 4,000 lynching victims.