My visit to a lynching museum

last month

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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


The National Memorial for Peace and Justice

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Over the summer, I had the opportunity to visit The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. This was an amazing experience that I was looking forward to on when I found out the route we were taking on our trip for the Civil War book I was working on.

The quote on the wall in the picture says "Thousands of African Americans are unknown victims of racial terror lynchings whose deaths cannot be documented, many whose names will never be known. They are honored here."


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


The museum was constructed to honor the more than 4400 documented lynching victims from 1877 to 1950 in the US. There is believed to be about 3-4 times more victims that were never documented.

In the museum there are 800 steel monuments hanging from the ceiling, each one representing a county in the US where a lynching occurred. The names of the victims in each of the counties are engraved on the monument that is hanging.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


You could feel the tension

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The museum had recently opened in April and it is a pretty controversial topic in the south right now. One of the things that I had noticed that the others in my group had not noticed was that there was a large amount of security posted around the outsides of the museum all along the walls.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


There were also fire alarms and fire extinguishers placed all over the place. I spoke with one of the workers and asked if they had received threats against the museum while it was under construction and they said that they had kept the meaning of the museum pretty quiet while it was being built, but when it opened there had been some backlash from some in the area.

Emotional times

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It is hard to read the reports of some of the lynchings and why they happened. Here are a few of the horrible reasons why this happened to these people.

General Lee, a black man, was lynched by a white mob in 1904 for merely knocking on the door of a white woman’s house in Reevesville, South Carolina. source

In 1934, after being accused of “associating with a white woman” in Newton, Texas, John Griggs was hanged and shot seventeen times and his body was dragged behind a car through the town for hours. source


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


In 1918, Private Charles Lewis was lynched in Hickman, Kentucky, after he refused to empty his pockets while wearing his Army uniform. source

White men lynched Jeff Brown in 1916 in Cedarbluff, Mississippi, for accidentally bumping into a white girl as he ran to catch a train. source

The stories were horrible and it was hard to realize that this was happening less than 100 years ago. It was a big eye opener to what has gone on in this area of the US because it is an area that I am not from.

As I was walking around reading the names and taking pictures, I noticed a group of three women and they appeared to be searching for something or someone.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


I could tell that they were becoming emotional being in this place as they were searching for what I assume to be a loved one that had been brutalized.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


The older woman spent time wiping away tears as they searched for the area where the county that the name they were searching for was located.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


The museum is laid out nicely and all of the workers can point you in the direction of a certain county you are looking for. It did not take them long to find the one that they were looking for.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


I could only imagine what was going on in that woman's mind seeing the name on the monument. I don't know if it was a father, grandfather or what, but I could tell that it was someone that meant something to her.

This was a powerful moment to see the impact that these events were still having today.

The bonds of Slavery

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When you first enter in the museum there is a large sculpture of a group of slaves in shackles. This is a very in your face display and really sets the tone of the whole museum because the artist did an excellent job capturing the emotion in these sculptures.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


On the wall near the sculpture plaque with information about the start of slavery in the US.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


It states that during the 17th and 18th centuries, 12 million African people were brought to the US on a journey across the Atlantic Ocean.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


During that time, nearly 2 million of those on the torturous journey died along the way.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


They were packed into the ships for the 2-3 month long voyage with barely room to move. If someone were to die during the trip, they were still chained next to the others for the remained of the trip.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


It is hard for anyone to imagine the atrocities that this people had to endure. The horrible thing is that there are still areas of the world that this is still happening.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


The only thing that we as a people can do from here is to not try to erase the past or to hide the mistakes that have been made. That is one of the reasons that this museum was constructed. It was made to honor those that were victims of these acts of violence, but also to server as a reminder of where our country has been so that we do not return to that state.


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Photo taken by me @derangedvisions


Thank you for taking the time to check out this post. This is not an easy topic to read about, nor discuss, but it is something that needs to be remembered. The victims of this are that, victims, and to forget about the past and act like it never happened is kind of like erasing their memory and everything that they had gone through. Let's all hope that we can all grow as human beings and never go through anything like this again.

Never Forget

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Wow, you made a very powerful post friend. I'm recently learning that the US still has a ways to go. I'm fighting for a friend that has powerful people against him and has been thrown in jail guilty until he can prove he is innocent.
Are you a witness in whaleshares?

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Nvmd, I see you are a witness. I will vote for you :)

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I am sorry to hear about your friend. That is horrible to hear about. I appreciate you stopping by and for the witness vote.

Great to hear about your visit to a musleum in alabama and i hope it was fun going. Actually i hear that there are different sculpture and art work in there. I will love to visit one day. I was was also supposed to go to one of my country own but due to what later turn up lately which changed all my plans but i still hope to attend one day.

Surely the level of security surrounding a muslem must be high. Thanks for sharing the pictures also, they look great

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I appreciate your compliments and you stopping by.

Great photography, @derangedvisions
I don't know what to say, I heard about the museum's name being sad, this might be scary for me. However, I believe this is a tiring visit and at the same time a very pleasant visit. I have never heard of the museum, let alone visit the museum, and of course I do not know what is in the museum. Did the museum you visit make history about the existence of the region?
Also visit my blog about the unique culture of my area.
Thanks you so much for you sharing

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Thank you for your compliments. I see that you are new to Whaleshares. Welcome to the platform. I wish you success here.

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Thank you so much @derangedvisions, you are very kind. I am new to this platform, I hope you can guide me to be better. Hopefully your days will shine and your life will be more beautiful.

I remember from when you first made this trip a while back. Seeing the pictures again now it once again impresses upon me just how much my ancestors had to endure, and how miraculous it is that the family is so non-violent and loving. Even to this day there is out-sized danger just living as a black person in the USA, but it in no way compares to the daily terrorism my grandmother grew up with.

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I couldn't even imagine what it was like to have gone through this. It was a very sobering experience to go through this museum and see all of the names of these people. It really is horrible happened in the US.

I'm not even gonna lie. This made me shed a tear. I can't imagine how powerful of an experience that was to see the family in person, much less the museum.

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The whole museum is a pretty impactful place. It is one of those places that I think all Americans should visit to be reminded about the past in our country so that we do not ever go back down that road.

you really do go search for the dark places in the soul of humanity but I guess that makes you a better man in the end...
and there as well:

we will remember

Damn man. This one rattled me.

I mourn for America that was and is. I sincerely believe that Jim Crow is one of the three huge blots on our national psyche. To think that laws were passed to allow this behavior AFTER 620,000 Americans died to settle the slavery issue makes me completely crazy.

Thanks for a wonderful look at an important place. Capturing those women there is just almost too much. This is really important photography, important documentation.

Thank you.

A great and very good museum from Alabama, very explained how the past happened to the great history of the nation in the name of America / USA, but that was life and the past with various flaws and also greed from humans at that time.

Slavery and unhappiness without humanity happened to many Africans at that time, indicating that they needed an improvement and renewal, so that every exiting who had felt a great loss would get the right to be entitled in the name of Justice.

The law must be given to see how this reaction will be happy for the entire family of the Victims, with 4,400 people or even 3 times more.

Long history, black and dark, hopefully in the future it will not happen again

Wow, these images took my breath away, I can only imagine what it was like to be there in person. These atrocious acts of violence and cowardice that have happened over the years undoubtedly deserve to be remembered and I think although it is a controversial memorial, I 1000% agree that it should remain and we should never forget the victims of these horrific crimes.

Absolutely some crazy photos. Always enjoy reading your posts! Keep it up!

very amazing ... I'm really tense reading it, your post deserves a thumbs up.

I like it your post