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A project of the Equal Justice Initiative, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice opened to the public on April 26, 2018 and is the first memorial in the United States dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of African Americans who were the victims of lynching and other forms of racial violence. The memorial also shares the story of people who faced violence while they were enslaved, as well as the trauma of segregation, racial discrimination, and police violence.


  •  The National Memorial for Peace and Justice entrance.
  •  The National Memorial for Peace and Justice.
  • The National Memorial for Peace and Justice Marker and Sculpture by Kwame Akoto-Bamfo.
  • The National Memorial for Peace and Justice monuments.

The Equal Justice Initiative began creating the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in 2010 to memorialize the African Americans enslaved, segregated, tortured and lynched. This memorial also honors the African Americans who currently suffer from police violence and marginalization. The Equal Justice Initiative wanted to memorialize and openly confront the horrors of how African Americans were treated in American, and how that history rings true today.

The Equal Justice Initiative staff researched the lynchings that happened in twelve states in the Deep South. This research resulted in the creation of the “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror” report that documented thousands of lynchings. The Equal Justice Initiative staff has conducted additional research that documented lynchings outside of the Deep South. The Equal Justice Initiative staff has also begun a project that will memorialize the history of lynchings by visiting lynching sites and placing markers there to help educate the public on this difficult history.

Set on a six-acre site, sculptures, text, narrative and monuments guide visitors through the history of America’s racial inequality. At the center of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice is a memorial square, built by the Mass Design Group, that represents all lynching victims. The memorial documents the history of slavery, segregation, lynchings, the civil rights movement and current issues of police violence and racial profiling.

The Equal Justice Initiative’s website states a reaction to the question of “Why Build a Memorial to Victims of Racial Terror?” The reaction statement from the website follows.

“The Equal Justice Initiative believes that publicly confronting the truth about our history is the first step towards recovery and reconciliation. A history of racial injustice must be acknowledged, and mass atrocities and abuse must be recognized and remembered, before a society can recover from mass violence. Public commemoration plays a significant role in prompting community-wide reconciliation.”1 

1. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The Equal Justice Initiative. . Accessed September 11, 2018. https://eji.org/national-lynching-memorial.

2. Hilton, Mark. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice. The Historical Marker Database. May 31, 2018. Accessed September 11, 2018. https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=118044&Result=1.

3. Hilton, Mark. "6. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice entrance." The Historical Marker Database, Number Six, The Historical Marker Database, May 31, 2018, https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=118044&Result=1.

4. Hilton, Mark. "8. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice." The Historical Marker Database, Number Eight, The Historical Marker Database, May 31, 2018, https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=118044&Result=1.

5. Hilton, Mark. "10. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice Marker. Sculpture by Kwame Akoto-Bamfo." The Historical Marker Database, Number 10, The Historical Marker Database, May 31, 2018, https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=118044&Result=1.

6. Hilton, Mark. "11. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and duplicate monuments." The Historical Marker Database, Number 11, The Historical Marker Database, May 31, 2018, https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=118044&Result=1.