America, Montgomery Alabama, Brian Stevenson discussed on 60 Minutes


Reckoning taking place in america over how we remember our history much of the focus has been on whether or not to take down monuments that celebrate the confederacy but this story is about a new monument going up in montgomery alabama it documents the lynchings of thousands of african american men women and children during a seventy year period following the civil war the project is being led by criminal defense attorney brian stevenson who is determined to shed light on a dark period in our past that most people would rather forget it's a shocking and disturbing reality that lynchings were not isolated murders committed only by men in white hoods in the middle of the night often they were public crimes witnessed even celebrated by thousands of people stevenson believes if we want to heal racial divisions we must educate americans of every color and creed these fields in southern alabama or quiet now but in nineteen thirty seven a brutal murder took place here the lynching of west johnson last january some of johnson's descendants came here in what has become a ritual taking place at lynching sites across the country organized by civil rights attorney brian stevenson something happened here that was wrong something happened here that was unjust and too few people have talked about it and so we want to acknowledge the wrong that happened to west johnson this is eighteen year old west johnson it is the only known image of him that remains he was attended farmer accused of assaulting a white woman before he could stand trial a mob of one hundred men dragged him from jail shot him and left him hanging from tree the blood of west johnson is in this soil i'd like you to begin to dig the soil in remembrance of west johnson the soil collection is part of brian stevens project document and remember african americans lynch during a period of what he calls racial terror we want to call this community to repentance to acknowledgement to shane we want to tell the truth because we believe in truth and reconciliation but we know that truth and reconciliation are sequential we can't get to where we're trying to go if we don't tell the truth.

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