“In the American South, we don’t talk about slavery”, said EJI director Bryan Stevenson.
Jay Reeves / Kim Chandler
MONTGOMERY.- Elmore Bolling defied the odds against black men and built several successful businesses during the harsh era of Jim Crow segregation in the South.
He had more money than a lot of whites, which his descendants believe was all it took to get him lynched in 1947. He was shot to death by a white neighbor, according to news accounts at the time, and the shooter was never prosecuted.
But Bolling’s name is now listed among thousands on a new memorial for victims of hate-inspired lynchings that terrorized generations of U.S. blacks. Daughter Josephine Bolling McCall is anxious to see the monument, located about 20 miles from where her father was killed in rural Lowndes County.
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, opening Thursday, is a project of the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative, a legal advocacy group in Montgomery. The organization says the combined museum and memorial will be the nation’s first site to document racial inequality in America from slavery through Jim Crow to the issues of today.
“In the American South, we don’t talk about slavery. We don’t have monuments and memorials that confront the legacy of lynching. We haven’t really confronted the difficulties of segregation”, said EJI executive director Bryan Stevenson.