Earlier this year, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) opened a groundbreaking memorial in Montgomery dedicated to African American victims of racial terror lynchings called the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice contains monuments corresponding to over 800 counties where EJI documented racial terror lynchings, with each county having a duplicate monument. EJI has invited each county to retrieve their monument and take the lead in facilitating a local reckoning.
Community leaders of Jefferson County have created a grassroots community coalition, the Jefferson County Memorial Project (JCMP), to orchestrate the retrieval of our memorial. This swift action ensures that Jefferson County will be among the first to take this step towards contrition and reconciliation. It is our hope that the opportunity to retrieve our memorial will bear witness to our horrific past and make a statement that Alabamians are leading the charge in confronting our past and reconciling for our future.
Why Linn Park?
The Jefferson County Memorial Project, a coalition formed from over 40 Jefferson County organizations and institutions, believes that we should erect the memorial in Linn Park. After much discussion, we support this decision because:
On November 24th, 1883, a white mob lynched Lewis Houston in Linn Park. This was the first of the twenty-nine lynchings that occured in Jefferson County.
Linn Park was the route taken by those fighting against the poll tax, especially in the 1930’s. Voting rights was one of the core triggers that justified the lynching of those who dared defend their rights.
Linn Park is the public space that connects the seat of City Government, City Hall, with the County Government, the Jefferson County Courthouse. These public entities allowed these acts of racial terror to occur. By placing the monument in Linn Park, we will remind our local government to never let such atrocities happen again.
We recognize that the retrieval of the Jefferson County monument intersects with multiple Birmingham City initiatives, such as the Civil Rights District, the Alabama Bicentennial, and the discussion around the Confederate monument in Linn Park. This initiative is independent of these, yet certainly complements them.
Your Feedback and How To Get Involved
This is only the coalition’s suggestion for where Jefferson County should place the monument. Please let us know your thoughts or suggestions on other potential places for the monument below. Additionally, if you would like to be a part of this project, please fill out the form below: