2018-05-02 14:49:19

“Death Penalty Is Lynching’s Stepson”: Bryan Stevenson on Slavery, White Supremacy, Prisons & More

Extended conversation with Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, the nonprofit behind the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the country’s first-ever memorial to the victims of lynching in the United States. The memorial opened last week in Montgomery, Alabama. Its centerpiece is a walkway with 800 weathered steel pillars overhead, each of them naming a U.S. county and the people who were lynched there by white mobs. The memorial’s partner site, the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, also opened last week. DN! speaks with Bryan Stevenson, who says that acknowledging history is crucial to facing racism today. “Everybody wants to think that if they were alive during slavery, they’d be an abolitionist,” Stevenson says. “If we’re not prepared to act today, then I don’t think we can claim that we would have acted any differently during slavery and lynching and segregation.”

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