*Did you know that there is a museum that is preserving the soil from sites where people from the Black community were killed by lynching? Why are they doing this, you ask? Because they want to help America acknowledge the fact that it has brutality because of racism in its past.
In this museum, you can find jars with an array of browns. It contains richly red clay which owes its color to the blood of Black men and women breaking their backs while working from sunrise to way past sundown. Not only is the blood of lynching victims deeply absorbed in this soil but also their sweat and tears. The very sweat and tears of people that were humiliated and deprived during the years of Jim Crow!
Bryan Stevenson, who works at this museum, identified that the soil that is stored in this museum acts as a powerful medium for conveying Black history. He also said that the soil represents the lives of many victims that were never given a proper burial and were met with violent and unspeakable deaths. They are being honored in this museum and this is exactly what the Equal Justice Initiative wants to bring forward in the Legacy Museum and Memorial in Montgomery.
Even some descendants of the people who are named over the jars have traveled great distances to make the sad sojourn and catch a glimpse of their ancestors’ remains. The movement has been able to document about 4,400 people who were lynched across 35 states. Most of these were from Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia between the period of 1877 and 1950.
People haven’t learned to talk about lynching or the racist history of the nation in an open and honest manner. This is because of how difficult it is to face this horrid past and acknowledge the brutality that was faced by our ancestors. Now this museum aims to shed a light on this dark period of American history, make people understand our complete history and provide the courage to absorb it.
While sharing his aim of using the museum to give context to the current struggle, Stevenson aptly said, “That’s because while this soil may surround us in death, it also is the place to plant seeds of hope for a new beginning.”