One of those “just in the family” things they don’t talk about in front of the Yankees, apparently, because I don’t remember hearing about it before. This year’s commemoration gets a more fitting memorial. Angela Helm, at The Root:
On Monday, Alabama is set to observe Confederate Memorial Day, commemorating the sons of the South killed in the U.S. Civil War. No surprise there. Alabama loves fighting with Mississippi for the title of “most racist state” (though they actually may be running neck and neck with “everything south of the Canadian border” if we’re keeping it real).
I find this amusing, not just because of the abiding ridiculousness of the holiday itself—which for me and most black people is a dressed-up way of reveling in institutional racism and anti-blackness (contrary to claims of “love of heritage”)—but because I just so happen to be in Alabama today, Monday, for a press preview of a memorial and museum dedicated to those both forgotten and annihilated through acts of racial terror across the country, and I will touch this holiest site on … Confederate Memorial Day…
… [H]ere in America, the God some trust is not on the dollar bill, it is the dollar bill. Here, as we all were whispered songs of “sweet lands of liberty,” black Americans perished in a nightmare of running blood and burning flesh and mass rape for pleasure and profit; that story all but erased from history and replaced with men playing war games, re-enacting so-called acts of valor for an indefensible premise…
The national lynching memorial, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, will stand atop a hill, in remembrance of the more than 4,000 victims of racial terror on U.S. soil, which the Montgomery, Ala.-based Equal Justice Institute has meticulously tracked for six years.
The accompanying Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, located in a former slave warehouse, will also tell the tale of our sojourn here: from enslavement to widespread public executions, to Jim Crow, to the continued violence against black bodies through mass incarceration and police violence.
The museum and memorial are but two drops in a bucket recognizing the true “legacy” of this nation; it’s a befitting tribute to those who weren’t able to throw up statues and establish holidays, their bodies sometimes snatched and ripped apart for keepsakes. It finally acknowledges, in a lasting way, what this country wrought upon its literal children, drafted into another war they never signed up for, but one in which they certainly perished, strange fruit hanging from poplar trees…
Fred Hiatt, in the Washington Post:
In the Riverfront Park of this state capital, you will find a series of panels depicting the city’s history. They will tell you when the first white settler arrived, how riverboats transformed Montgomery into a trading hub for cotton “and many other important commodities,” and how the city became the cradle of the Confederacy.
They will not tell you that the most important of those other commodities was human beings.
It is the sort of lacuna, says Bryan Stevenson, that allows people to “achieve political victories by celebrating the greatness of America.”
“The question is, which decade are black Americans supposed to want to relive?”