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Memorial Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

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The Untold Story of Memorial Day: Former Slaves Honoring and Mourning the Dead

By Editors' Choice

The African-American history of the federal holiday has been nearly wiped from public memory. By Sarah Lazare, AlterNet — Union General John Logan is often credited with founding Memorial Day. The commander-in-chief of a Union veterans’ organization called the Grand Army of the Republic, Logan issued a decree establishing what was then named “Decoration Day” on May 5, 1868, declaring it “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating…

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Visitors at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, April 26.

Lynching Didn’t Disappear, It Just Evolved

By Commentaries/Opinions

By A.T. McWilliams — While visiting the newly opened National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama — a hallowed and harrowing enshrinement bearing the names of over 4,000 black people lynched in the Jim Crow South — I was reminded of stories my grandparents told me as a child. Stories of my great-grandfather, once chased by Ku Klux Klan members on horseback before swimming to safety, preferring possible death by drowning…

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Why America Must Atone for its Lynchings

Why America Must Atone for its Lynchings

By Commentaries/Opinions

How white Americans used lynchings to terrorize and control black people. By Ed Pilkington in Montgomery, Alabama — Vanessa Croft was driving home after work in Gadsden, Alabama, last month when she noticed something strange in her rear-view mirror. There were two huge flags bearing the starred cross of the Confederacy fluttering angrily behind her from the back of a menacing black pickup truck. She had seen plenty of Confederate flags…

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Montgomery, Alabama - The Legacy Museum and the Memorial for Peace and Justice

No Reconciliation Without Truth

By Commentaries/Opinions

A new museum and lynching memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, constitute a watershed moment in the way America remembers its racist past. By Caleb Gayle — When it comes to the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, there are two kinds of monuments in America. There are memorials that seek to honor this country’s fitful march toward civil rights. Then there are the statues of generals and politicians—as well as the…

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Harvard Law School unveils memorial honoring enslaved people who enabled its founding

Harvard Law School unveils memorial honoring enslaved people who enabled its founding

By News & Current Affairs, Reparations

Harvard Law Today — On September 5, at the opening of its Bicentennial observance, Harvard Law School unveiled a memorial to the enslaved people whose labor helped make possible the founding of the school. The plaque, affixed to a large stone memorial placed at the Crossroads in the center of the Law School’s plaza, reads: In honor of the enslaved whose labor created wealth that made possible the founding of…

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