Truth and Reconciliation

Reconciling past injustices is a central ingredient to healing and progress in human relations and ultimately, the creation and maintenance of a civil society is built on justice. A particular type of injustice that has historically received little reconciliation is the legacy of terrorism inflicted on African Americans during the period of reconstruction.

Background

Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)

Founded in 1989 by Bryan Stevenson, a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer and bestselling author of Just Mercy, EJI is a private, nonprofit organization that is committed to changing the narrative about race in America.

In addition to providing educational materials and conducting research for criminal justice reform, EJI has taken the lead on reconciliation and a commitment to racial justice through the establishment of the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery Alabama.

Courtesy of EJI.org

Lynching in America: A Community Remembrance Project

To create greater awareness and understanding about racial terror lynchings and begin a necessary conversation that advances truth and reconciliation, EJI is working with communities to collect soil from lynching sites across the country and erect historical markers and monuments in these spaces.

Truth and Reconciliation Project (FSW591)

The Miami University Graduate School and Department of Family Science and Social Work have collaborated to offer a one credit hour Spring 2019 graduate seminar course titled "Truth and Reconciliation Project." The broader vision of the course is to promote EJI's Community Remembrance Project, specifically as it relates to southwest Ohio.

The seminar course participants were charged with investigating two lynching incidents that occurred in the late 1800s within Butler County and specifically, in Oxford, Ohio. Specific elements of the course included a Community Remembrance Event held uptown on Monday, May 13, to honor those victims and their families. The class was also tasked with collecting soil from the lynching sites and delivering those soil collections to EJI's Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, where jars from across the nation are exhibited.

Following the visit to Montgomery, the course leaders, the Dr. Anthony James and Dr. Valerie Robinson, presented at the 9th Annual National Civil Rights Conference in Birmingham, Alabama in June 2019.

The broader vision for Miami's "Truth and Reconciliation Project" is a continued focus on the work that remains left to be done in advancing truth and reconciliation around race in America and honestly confronting the legacy of slavery, lynching, and segregation.

Lynchings Remembered

Walls inside the National Memorial for Peace & Justice

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Ala.

In a three-part series for The Cincinnati Enquirer, Mark Curnutte covers a legacy of terrorism close to home. The articles were published just days following the April 26, 2018, opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice—the first national memorial to African-American victims of lynching.

Lynching Memorial Includes Six Killed Near Cincinnati (PDF)

Descendant tries to find truth behind lynching (PDF)

Anger led to 8 Boone Co. lynchings (PDF)

Mark Curnutte ('84) teaches sociology and journalism at Miami while reporting for The Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration

Wall display in the Legacy Museum

In Montgomery, Alabama, visitors encounter a powerful sense of place when they enter EJI's Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration. The 11,000-square-foot museum is built on the site of a former warehouse where enslaved black people were imprisoned, and is located midway between an historic slave market and the main river dock and train station where tens of thousands of enslaved people were trafficked during the height of the domestic slave trade.

The Legacy Museum employs unique technology to dramatize the enslavement of African Americans, the evolution of racial terror lynchings, legalized racial segregation and racial hierarchy in America. Relying on rarely seen first-person accounts of the domestic slave trade, EJI’s critically acclaimed research materials, videography, exhibits on lynching and recently composed content on segregation, this 11,000-square-foot museum explores the history of racial inequality and its relationship to a range of contemporary issues from mass incarceration to police violence.