When the National Memorial for Peace and Equal Justice opened this April in Montgomery, Alabama, attorney and author Bryan Stevenson was told no one would want to claim such painful and egregious part of history.

Stevenson created the 11,000-square-foot memorial in the capital city through his organization the Equal Justice Initiative. The memorial features over 800 steel monuments with the names of over 4,400 black people who were lynched between 1877 and 1950. Over 200,000 people have visited so far, according to the organization.

“We’ve already heard from 300 counties, people in those communities saying we wanna claim our monument, some community leaders, some elected officials, some faith people, black folks and white folks,” Stevenson said told NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt on Tuesday. “I’m excited that people seem ready to do something that feels like an act of truth telling towards reconciliation.”


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