The Legacy Museum

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The Legacy Museum
The Legacy Museum Lobby at The Legacy Museum - From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration.jpg
EstablishedApril 26, 2018; 3 years ago (2018-04-26)
LocationMontgomery, Alabama
Coordinates32°22′47″N 86°18′37″W / 32.37984°N 86.31031°W / 32.37984; -86.31031Coordinates: 32°22′47″N 86°18′37″W / 32.37984°N 86.31031°W / 32.37984; -86.31031
FounderEqual Justice Initiative
WebsiteOfficial website

The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration is a museum in Montgomery, Alabama, that displays the history of slavery and racism in America. This includes the enslavement of African-Americans, racial lynchings, segregation, and racial bias.


The museum, which opened on April 26, 2018,[1] is founded by Montgomery's Equal Justice Initiative as a counterpart to the National Memorial to Peace and Justice, which is dedicated specifically to the memory of the victims of lynching.[2] The development and construction of the museum and the nearby memorial cost an estimated $20 million raised from private donations and charitable foundations.[3][4] Former Vice-President Al Gore spoke at the two-day opening summit meeting.[5]


Display on slavery inside museum

The memorial complex features artwork by Hank Willis Thomas, Glenn Ligon, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Titus Kaphar, and Sanford Biggers. One of its displays is a collection of soil from lynching sites across the United States.[3] The exhibits in the 11,000-square-foot museum include oral history, archival materials, and interactive technology.[4]

The museum's goal is to lead the visitor on the path from slavery to racial oppression in other forms, including terror lynching and mass incarceration of minorites.[6] To illustrate the point of on-going oppression, the exhibits include photographs of African-Americans picking cotton; the photos could be easily mistaken as depicting the slavery period. In fact, they are of inmates from 1960s.[7] Unlike the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the Legacy Museum does not tell a comforting story of progress from oppression to civil rights reform, but of continually evolving ways of controlling black people. In one telling exhibit, a panicked group of captured and chained Africans stand opposite a group of men, arms raised, at the moment of arrest.[8]

The museum employs technology to dramatize the horror and terror of enslavement, lynchings, and legalized racial segregation in America. Visitors can hear, see, and be in close proximity to slave replicas, which model what it was like to be an imprisoned slave awaiting sale at the auction block. There are first person accounts of slavery and auctioning through narration and voice overs.[9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Exonerated death row inmate tells his story at Legacy Museum". CBS. April 9, 2018. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  2. ^ Henderson, Nia-Malika (April 9, 2018). "This new lynching memorial rewrites American history". CNN. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Miller, James H. (April 16, 2018). "Alabama memorial confronts America's racist history". The Art Newspaper. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Dafoe, Taylor (April 26, 2018). "A Look Inside the New Alabama Museum and Memorial Boldly Confronting Slavery and Its Brutal Legacy". Artnet. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
  5. ^ Pilkington, Ed (April 27, 2018). "Al Gore warns worst of climate change will be felt by black and poor people". The Guardian.
  6. ^ Little, Becky (April 20, 2018). "See America's First Memorial to its 4,400 Lynching Victims". Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  7. ^ Williams, Drew (April 22, 2018). "From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration: A Timely and Necessary Memorial". Greenwich Sentinel. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  8. ^ "A Memorial to the Lingering Horror of Lynching". Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  9. ^ "Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration". Legacy Museum and National Lynching Memorial. Retrieved May 2, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

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