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About Us

The Jefferson County Memorial Project (JCMP) was created after the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) opened the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a groundbreaking memorial in Montgomery dedicated to African American victims of racial terror violence. The Memorial contains monuments corresponding to over 800 counties where EJI documented racial terror lynchings. EJI has invited these counties to participate in their Community Remembrance Project, retrieve their monument and take the lead in facilitating a local reckoning. 

Mission: 

The Jefferson County Memorial Project is a grassroots coalition that will memorialize victims of racial terror violence and expand our county’s understanding of past and present issues of racial injustice. 

 

To retrieve the Jefferson County Monument, EJI has asked counties to create coalitions that demonstrate broad support and intentional planning and use of the monument. The Jefferson County Coalition will: 

  • Research and reach out to descendants of the victims of the 33 Jefferson County lynchings
  • Educate the county on the history and purpose of the monument through museum exhibits, K-12 engagement, a city wide book discussion, and other programming.
  • Place the monument and establish historical markers throughout the county
  • Advocate for criminal justice reform for the city and county

Our Core Coalition

In June 2018, a group of Jefferson County residents created the JCMP Coalition to help guide our county in coming together to understand this history. Our members include:

Graham C. Boettcher, Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art, assumed his newest role as Director in 2017 after joining the Museum as a Curatorial Fellow in 2006 and then serving as Curator of American Art, Chief Curator, and Deputy Director. Under his leadership, the Museum strives to draw in all members of the community with its programming and celebrate the many cultures represented in its extensive collection and across the Birmingham metropolitan area.

Joi Brown, previously worked as Marketing Manager for the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to maintain an unforgettable brand and created lasting impressions that span far beyond the Birmingham community.

Brown continued her personal commitment to social justice as a founding core coalition member of the Jefferson County Memorial Project and now leads the coalition as Executive Director and serves as Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the American Marketing Association – Birmingham Chapter.

Carol Clarke, Project Director and Community Development Specialist for Corporate Realty Development, brings her background in community development and project management together with her experience with public-private partnerships and passion for urban revitalization. Corporate Realty’s development strategy focuses on not only underutilized properties and assets, but also on a holistic and strategic vision for the surrounding areas.

Scott Douglas, Executive Director of Greater Birmingham Ministries, utilizes his extensive experience in community organizing, advocacy, and nonprofit work throughout the Southeast to lead the multi-faith, multi-racial organization as it provides emergency services for people in need. GBM engages the poor and the non-poor in systemic change efforts to build a strong, supportive, engaged community and pursue a more just society for all people.

Myeisha Hutchinson, a lifelong resident of Woodlawn, her training in community organizing has come from a range of local and national organizations including the Highlander Research and Education Center, Congressional Black Caucus Political Boot Camp, Leadership Birmingham, and Leadership Alabama’s Alabama Leadership Initiative.

T. Marie King is an activist, speaker, trainer, and voice for progress in the City of Birmingham. She is passionate about creating pathways to healing, teaching empathy and methods to nonviolence, curating community events to facilitate connections, and building a better global community. King is a faculty member with the Satyagraha Institute and a trained empathic facilitator, presenting at seminars touching youth, college students, and adults.

Meg Daniel Nelson, Director of Development at Create Birmingham, works with nonprofits, artists, and social enterprises to enhance fundraising and marketing campaigns, initiate new programs and evaluate existing ones, build community partnerships, and strategize for sustainability. Create Birmingham is the only agency in the region exclusively dedicated to the economic development of Birmingham’s nonprofit and commercial creative industries.

In college, Abigail wrote her theses on forgotten lynchings in Illinois and helped orchestrate lynching commemoration ceremonies in other towns. As JCMP’s Project Director, Abigail manages all aspects of the Jefferson County Memorial Project and coordinates our extensive network of community partners and volunteers.

Jim Sokol is a life-long civic volunteer who has lent his organizational and community expertise to numerous local institutions and causes. He has served as chair of the Anti-Defamation League, Birmingham Jewish Foundation, and Birmingham Crisis Center, the vice chair of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Birmingham Museum of Art, and on the boards of numerous organizations including Leadership Birmingham, Living in Limbo, and Pathways.

Coalition Committees

Dedicated volunteers lead our committees to further JCMP’s goals. If you’re interested in joining one of these committees, please email info@jeffersoncountymemorial.com

Marie King

The Public Education committee coordinates with our community partners to host events and collaborations that allow our community to better understand this history.

Carol Clarke, Roman Gary, and Cindy Coyle

The Site Design committee will create an intentional design process for placing the monument and the accompanying historical markers in Jefferson County.

The Public Relations/Marketing committee coordinates JCMP community partner engagement events, works with press on coverage for JCMP, and helps coordinate the hiring of local graphic designers, web developers and photographers. If you have any press inquiries, reach out to press@jeffersoncountymemorial.com.  

Jim Sokol, Mary Boehm, Gail Andrews

The Fundraising committee ensures we have the necessary financial support at varying levels from all parts of the communityto make our retrieval process intentional and effective, properly honoring the 30 documented racial terror victims.  

Connie Kohler

The Correctional Facility Involvement committee will work to bring the voices of incarcerated people to the public through the Jefferson County Memorial Project and work with inmates and staff to identify and complete a project that will be of value to them.

Scott Douglas, Joyce Shevin

The Interfaith Interpretation committee invites faith leaders to interpret and translate the importance of the JCMP’s work into their faith communities to cultivate expanded community involvement and expand the reach and impact of this work.

Abigail Schneider

The Fellowship committee trained Jefferson County college students from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines to complete primary and genealogical research on the documented victims. You can read their report here. The students also are campus ambassadors, hosting events on at their respective schools for JCMP.

Kate Crawford

The Museums committee will coordinate a four-part exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Studio 2500 and UAB’s Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts and host programming around how art can help interpret and reconcile with this history.

Brian “Voice Porter” Hawkins and Meg Nelson

The Community Arts committee will work with local artists, once the monument arrives in Jefferson County, to create work responding to the monument, this history, and present day issues of social justice.

Mary Boehm

The Student Involvement committee works to connect teachers to JCMP’s work and will work with EJI to host a high school essay contest in our county.  

Juliet Hemingway and Kristie Williams

The Educator sub-committee of the Student Involvement committee of JCMP is collecting resources and creating content for lesson plans that allow middle and high school classes to engage with this history and its legacies.

Interfaith Interpretation Committee hosts a breakfast for faith based leaders

Our Community Partners

Community partners have partnered with JCMP in a wide variety of ways. All of the partners below have agreed to educate their organizations on our work, help promote events or partner with us for a community engagement, and attend bi-annual meetings. Besides this, each partnership takes on a unique form. For instance, AEIVA and BCRI have hosted exhibits and events in partnership with JCMP. The universities provide advising support to our JCMP Fellows. We’ve co-hosted events with Magic City Bar, Alabama Dance Council, The Listening Project, and many others! Would you like to be a CP? Email  info@jeffersoncountymemorial.com.

  • Abroms-Engel Institute for Visual Arts
  • Alabama Dance Council
  • Alabama Faith in Action
  • Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation
  • ARC Outreach Center, Bessemer 
  • Birmingham AIDS Outreach
  • Birmingham City Schools 
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
  • Birmingham Holocaust Education Center
  • Birmingham Islamic Community 
  • Birmingham Jewish Federation
  • Birmingham Museum of Art
  • Birmingham-Southern College
  • Breakthrough Birmingham
  • City of Bessemer (Mayor’s Office)
  • City of Birmingham (Mayor’s Office)
  • Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham
  • Create Birmingham
  • Desert Island Supply Co. 
  • Greater Birmingham Arts Education Collaborative
  • Greater Birmingham Ministries
  • Foundation for Arts and Cultural Connections 
  • Highlands United Methodist Church
  • Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama
  • HIVE Alabama 
  • Jefferson County Commission
  • Jefferson State Community College 
  • Kids in Birmingham, 1963
  • Lawson State Community College 
  • Magic City Acceptance Center
  • Magic City Bar Association
  • Miles College
  • Mission Impossible Inc. 
  • No More Martyrs 
  • Offender Alumni Association 
  • Red Mountain Theatre Company
  • Rotaract 
  • The Regenerative Society 
  • Samford University
  • Studio 2500
  • Space One Eleven
  • The Altamont School 
  • The Listening Project
  • University of Alabama, Birmingham 
  • Urban Impact
  • White Birminghamians for Black Lives 
  • YWCA Central Alabama 

JCMP Staff

A Tuscaloosa native most recently serving as Marketing Manager at The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Gina Mallisham has dedicated her career to nonprofit, grassroots organizing. She’s one of the founding members of Mayor Randall Woodfin’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Board with whom she advocates for the betterment of Birmingham’s QTPOC+ (queer, transgender, and people of color) community. Gina serves as secretary of The Central Alabama Pride Board of Directors and is a member of The Greater Birmingham Community Foundation’s LGBTQ Fund Advisory Board.
After studying marketing and mass communication at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, she moved to Birmingham to begin her nonprofit career in community outreach. From  the Office of Public Relations and Community Affairs at Lawson State Community College to the acclaimed Sidewalk Film Festival – The Magic City Acceptance Center to Birmingham AIDS Outreach (BAO) – Gina has been an architect for sustainable community programs, institutional events, workshops and the like. With countless hours spent producing print, radio and television promotions for organizations throughout The Magic City, she’s groomed to lead Jefferson County Memorial Project to an outstanding future.
Gina is an honored recipient of Central Alabama Pride’s 2017 Simpkins Talley Spirit of Pride Award and and CAP’s 2020 Vision Award. She’s also been distinguished by TAKE Transgender Resource Center with the 2021 Marsha P. Johnson Advocacy Champion Award. Her advocacy and outreach efforts for the QTPOC+ community have been featured in several publications, including The Birmingham Times, HRC’s #LoveYourNeighbor Campaign and B-Metro Magazine – where she was named one of the city’s “Birmingfamous” individuals.
For nearly two decades, Gina has championed thoughtful leadership among community stakeholders through branding, development, and outreach. She’s offered special efforts to many of Alabama’s grassroots organizations and delights in her charge as an activist and former HIV/STD prevention specialist in the Jefferson County’s field of public health. Whether by fundraising, organizing, or connecting community leaders, her life-long roots in advocacy are unwavering.

Lauren Harris is a multidisciplinary producer and designer who specializes in video production, writing and motion graphic design. She was raised in Bessemer, AL and graduated high school from the Alabama School of Fine Arts in 2014. In 2018, she graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications in Evanston, IL. Today, she works full time at NBCUniversal where she’s participating in the NBCUniversal Page Program. If you’re interested in hiring her for creative projects, please reach out at lharriscreative@gmail.com.

You!

JCMP strives to be a community comprehensive coalition. Thank you for visiting this site and wanting to learn more about our work.  Everything we do is made possible by our volunteers. Would you like to be one? Join Us! We send out periodic emails providing information on upcoming events, as well as volunteer opportunities  that range from one- to two-hour commitments to month-long engagements.

JCMP Members at Training learning about this history and discuss how to engage their communities in this work

Timeline Highlights  

2018
  • April: The National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened in Montgomery, Alabama 
  • June: Residents create a core-coalition to build out the Jefferson County Memorial Project
  • Summer: The coalition meets with community partners to gain support and feedback  
  • September: Inaugural class of  JCMP Fellowship launches
  • November: JCMP officially launches and accompanies Mayor Randall Woodfin and his staff to EJI’s Museum and Memorial in Montgomery. 
2019 
  • February: JCMP hosts its first public event with the release of the 30 Residents Report, compiled by JCMP Fellows. 
  • March – Ongoing: JCMP starts hosting trainings with community partners to discuss how to talk about this difficult topic with family and peers. So far we have held 20+ trainings to create over 175 JCMP Ambassadors.  
  • May – November:  JCMP partners with UAB’s AEIVA for Mary Frances Whitfield’s exhibit, “WHY?” 
  • June: Launch of the inaugural Summer County-Wide Book Discussion 
  • August: Incarcerated Voices Blog, written by JCMP’s students at the Donaldson Correctional Facility launched on JCMP’s website 
  • September: Historical marker dedication ceremony at Sloss Furnaces and launch of Birmingham High School Essay Contest 
  • September: JCMP 2020 Fellowship cohort launches 
  • December: Holiday Hygiene Drive for men incarcerated at the Donaldson Correctional Facility 
2020
2021
  • February: Installation of Irondale historical marker
  • February: JCMP’s 2021 Fellows release their report, Contested Terrain: A Historical Walk Through Birmingham’s Linn Park
  • April: JCMP partners with the Greater Birmingham Arts Education Collaborative and Bush Hills STEAM Academy to present “The Green Book Project
  • April: JCMP partners with Space One Eleven for “Just Injustice” exhibit
  • April: JCMP Fellows visit The National Memorial for Peace and Justice
  • May: Red Mountain Theatre’s table read of Memorial
  • May: Launch of  “ JCMP: My Story,” three part virtual speaker series
  • June:  Launch of annual Summer County-Wide Book Discussion 
  • September:  JCMP partners with UAB’s AEIVA for “Marking Time” exhibit
  • Octobrr: JCMP Core members attend opening of the new Legacy Museum
  • October: JCMP partners with Substrate Radio for “No Longer Silent: Within Our Gates” silent film event with DJ Suaze
  • December: Holiday Hygiene Drive for men incarcerated at the Donaldson Correctional Facility 
  • December: JCMP and Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office – Birmingham Division awarded $498,933  Emmett Till Cold Case Training Program Grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance

 

2022
  • January – Ongoing: JCMP Research Fellows begin pilot partnership completing case studies with Northeastern University’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project and  the Jefferson County District Attorney – Birmingham Division’s Office
  • February – Ongoing: Community engagement for Linn Park memorial begins
  • February: Red Mountain Theatre’s table read of Memorial at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church
  • April: JCMP partners with The Black Cherry Tree Project for “33 Victims” inaugural exhibition at Gallery Vox
  • May:   JCMP partners with the Greater Birmingham Arts Education Collaborative and Bush Hills STEAM Academy to present “The Green Book Project”
  • May – Ongoing: JCMP begins participating in “Revision Linn Park” project
  • July: JCMP presents “100 Years from Mississippi” Film Screening and discussion at Sidewalk Cinema
  • July: JCMP partners with The Black Cherry Tree Project for  “Black Cherry Tree Corral” conversation series at Ground Floor Contemporary
  • July – Ongoing: “Operation Legacy” Oral History Project begins w/2020 JCMP Fellow, Austin Lewter
  • September:  Recruitment for 2023 JCMP Fellowship begins
  • October:  JCMP to partner with Substrate Radio to host second silent film event “No Longer Silent: Scar of Shame” with DJ Supreme at UAB’s AEIVA
  • November: – Holiday Hygiene Drive for men incarcerated at the Donaldson Correctional Facility 

 

2023 and Beyond
  • JCMP progresses from design process to construction planning for Linn Park memorial
  • Brookside, Pratt City, Oak Hill, and Stockham Park move forward with placing historical markers
  • JCMP Fellows continue research  and partnership with JCDA’s office and Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project on the Emmett Till Cold Case Training Program
  • JCMP partners with Bib and Tucker Sew-Op for community quilting sessions.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I learn about this history?
Our JCMP Fellows from the six Jefferson County colleges publish their research in an annual report that can be found on our website. Their reports include profiles of the thirty-three documented victims and ways to better understand how to learn about and interpret this history. Read the report here: https://jeffersoncountymemorial.com/fellowsresearch/ 

 

When will the monument come to Jefferson County? 

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, opened in 2018, and the accompanying museum, are breaking new ground in how communities remember and respond to our collective history of racial terror violence. The Equal Justice Initiative is still developing the important protocol required for county retrieval. The JCMP team meets regularly with EJI staff for updates and guidance as we move ahead, and we look forward to being part of a collective national effort that is proceeding in the careful and deliberate manner that this painful subject matter requires. 

 

Where will the monument go? 

Because this will be a public monument in a public space, we wanted to ensure the community was involved in this process. Through our website and community engagement meetings, we heard from residents throughout the county that resoundingly supported JCMP’s recommendation that the monument be placed in Linn Park. We believe it should be placed there for three primary reasons: 

 

  1. On November 24th, 1883, a white mob lynched Lewis Houston in Linn Park. This was the first of the thirty documented lynchings that occured in Jefferson County.
  2. 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 motivated the lynching of those who defending their rights.
  3. Linn Park is the public space that connects the seat of city government, City Hall, with the seat of 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 and its citizens of this painful history , which is the first step necessary to ensure that such atrocities never happen again.

 

How do I get involved? 

Please see the “Join Us” section of our website to fill out the sign-up form or find an upcoming JCMP event to attend. You can also follow us on Instagram (@JeffCoMemorial) and Facebook (JCMP: Jefferson County Memorial Project). We are a grassroots coalition, and the majority of our work is done by committed volunteers. We would love for you to join us in this effort!

JCMP’s Work with the The Equal Justice Initiative’s Community Remembrance Project

The Community Remembrance Project is part of EJI’s effort to partner with communities to recognize the victims of racial terror lynching through education events, collecting soil from lynching sites, erecting historical markers in communities where racial terror lynchings occurred, and creating a memorial that acknowledges the horrors of racial injustice. 

 

EJI has documented more than 4400 racial terror lynchings throughout the country between 1877 and 1950. For a more comprehensive understanding of the historical and contemporary analysis and discussion that informs the scope and purposes of EJI’s community remembrance project, EJI encourages community members and potential partners to read EJI’s Lynching In America report and to engage with the interactive website. 

 

Many communities where lynchings took place have not created spaces to address the history of lynching and most victims have never been publicly acknowledged in these communties. To create greater awareness and understanding about racial terror lynching and the legacy of this violence, EJI works with communities to engage in truth-telling work through educational events and remembrance ceremonies. 

 

EJI’s Community Remembrance Project has several components that are all connected and intended to create opportunities for the community to deepen an understanding of the history of racial terror lynching and it’s continued legacies. EJI believes that truth and reconciliation are sequential. In order to get closer to healing and repair, we must address oppressive histories by honestly and soberly recognizing the pain of the past. In order to build towards those goals after an era of enslavement, an era of racial terror lynching and violence, an era of Jim Crow segregation, an era mass incarceration, we have to commit ourselves to building an era of truth and justice. We have to be intentional about creating space for honest engagement with the work of truth-telling. 

 

As communities consider working with EJI to respond to the call to action to claim the monument from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, it’s critical that communities understand the monument as part of a larger effort/process of engaging in truth-telling work (under EJI’s community remembrance project umbrella). As of now, EJI has not yet released any of the memorial monuments to any of the communities that they represent. However, EJI encourages communities to consider partnering with EJI on other aspects of the community remembrance project to build towards community readiness for the memorial monument as well as building a local commitment to truth-telling work. Claiming the monument is not the end goal; the purpose is to help communities confront and recover from tragic histories of racial violence and terrorism and to create an environment where there can truly be equal justice for all. 

 

The process of community readiness includes public education, community engagement and raising consciousness about the local history of racial terrorism and it’s present-day legacy in that community. At this time, EJI continues to work with communities through the Soil Collection and Historical Marker Projects which allow for engagement with activities aimed at helping to create space for honest reflection and recognition of this history. Community partners who participate in these projects will also bring the experience of that work to an understanding of what it means and symbolizes to claim the memorial monument which will be helpful to do this work with great intentionality. 

 

EJI currently encourages and welcomes community partners to consider participating in our Community Remembrance Historical Marker Project as a meaningful step in the process towards engaging with effort to claim the memorial monument, which can be preceded or followed by a Soil Collection Project, as well. Community members and partners who choose to pursue a historical marker project in particular will have the opportunity to complete some of the preliminary steps necessary for participation in claiming the memorial monument. 

 

For more information, updates, or to pose any questions, please feel welcome to reach the team at EJI by emailing memorialmonument@eji.org.

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