In April 2018, 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 Jefferson County Memorial Project (JCMP) was created in June 2018 shortly thereafter. The memorial structure is centered around over 800 steel monuments, one for each of the more than 800 counties in the United States the counties where EJI documented racial terror lynchings. EJI has invited these counties to participate in their Community Remembrance Project, retrieve their monuments, and facilitate a local reckoning.
The Community Remembrance Project is part of EJI’s work to partner with communities to recognize the victims of racial terror lynching through efforts such as educational events, collecting soil from lynching sites, erecting historical markers in communities where racial terror lynchings occurred, and placing their corresponding memorial monuments that acknowledges the horrors of racial injustice.
More information on the Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Community Remembrance Project can be found at www.eji.org. For questions regarding EJI’s Memorial retrieval process for counties, please contact email@example.com.
The Memorial will be placed in historic Linn Park, anchored in the municipal center of downtown Birmingham.
JCMP’s mission and holistic approach for readying the Birmingham and Jefferson County community to thoughtfully and intentionally engage in a process of creating a site of memorial and remembrance for our county’s victims of racial terror is driven by our county’s need for understanding of past and present issues of racial injustice.
Reconciliation Spiral, designed with community input by Birmingham-based architecture and engineering firm, Goodwin Mills Cawood, will present an inner and outer narrative. Each of these ultimately culminates at a single sculptural element; The Jefferson County Memory Jar decorated by ancient African Adinkra symbols chosen to reflect each of the victims memorialized in this landscape. The jar not only immortalizes the memory of the victims held sacred but serves as a point of physical engagement for the visitors. The path to the jar is marked by individual victims’ stories paralleling a timeline of interpretive moments. The timeline depicts the following historic periods: Slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction Era, Jim Crow Laws, Civil Rights, and Mass Incarceration.
Become a Part of Our Memorial
Should your business or organization be included among those on the right side of history? Do you know someone who should be recognized for their extraordinary efforts to further social justice in Jefferson County? Include the name of a loved one at our Memorial in Linn Park! Those who support our efforts with a contribution of $1,000 or more will be tastefully acknowledged along the brick path within our monument.
A Place of Acknowledgement for Social Justice Warriors
JCMP is proud to offer the chance to add acknowledgments to the brick path at our Jefferson County Memorial. This sense of permanence will be honorably designated for those who support our four-pronged mission of memorializing victims of racial terror violence and expanding our county’s understanding of past and present issues of racial injustice. Beautifully engraved bricks inscribed with names chosen by donors will be tastefully included in our outer narrative – a timeline depicting Jefferson County’s historic periods of Slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, and Mass Incarceration. This space will welcome visitors to reflect on how far we’ve come and who leads the fight for a more just community. All donations are tax-deductible.
Based on the outpour of community support, a space for our monument will be accounted for in Rev Birmingham’s Re-vision Linn Park master plan. JCMP is working closely with the initiative as a stakeholder in the overall planning of the redesign of Birmingham’s Linn Park. Linn Park’s community-oriented planning and design process will result in a fresh park design and brand identity, a plan for ongoing park programming and activation plan, and a governance model for sustained maintenance and capital investment.
The Jefferson County Memorial Project was created after the Equal Justice Initiative 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, erect their monument and take the lead in facilitating a local reckoning.
Jefferson County’s Monument
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 thirty documented 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 motivated 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.