My Wish For You This Week Vol 21.: Remember, Reckon, Heal, and Remember Again

Occasionally on Mondays, I like to share a photo or two or a short video from my camera roll and a wish for others (and myself) for the week ahead. Since I know that not everyone uses Instagram, I also post them on the Optimistic Anthropology blog because the wishes often focus on themes we’re committed to in our work here - growing our sense of possibility, the power of changing mindsets and reflection, and of course observing the world, it’s beauty, and it’s challenges.  You can also check out previous wishes here.

View this post on Instagram

My wish for you this week is to remember the past, reckon with it, allow healing, and keep remembering. Two weeks ago, I visited the National Memorial for Peace and Justice (often referred to as the National Lynching Memorial) in Montgomery, AL. It - along with its sister site The Legacy Museum - are incredibly powerful and unflinching explorations of the U.S.’s history of slavery, lynching, segregation, and mass incarceration. I believe they’re among the most important sites in the U.S. The Memorial in particular is profound as it uses the power of art, design, and history to make visible the impact of racial terror lynching has been in the U.S. Each of the rust colored blocks is labeled with a county name (or in some cases a state) and listed on it is the names (if known) of people who were lynched, and the year they died. There are over 4000 names in the memorial, which also recognizes that there are 1000s more who were murdered that have been lost to history. They are acknowledged with a wall that water pours over. The choice of the blocks being upright - some close to the ground, others high up, is an eerie and effective reference to the act of lynching itself, and they are organized around a “town square” in reference to how these acts were public events treated by white people as celebrations while simultaneously making the message clear that people of color who stepped out of line would suffer the consequences of vigilante justice at the hands of white supremacists. The Memorial does something profound in both showing the breadth of lynching’s impact and also the specificity of sharing the names of individual lives that were destroyed. And for each block hanging around the square, there is a second of that block, lying like a coffin on the grounds with the invitation to the state or county to “claim” it as a local memorial. As of my visit, none had. But, last week I read that Maryland has become the first state to establish a commission on racial terror lynching. A tiny step toward reckoning and healing. Hopefully we all will follow. #alabama #montgomery #lynchingmemorial #nationalmemorialforpeaceandjustice #mywishforyou #remember #reckon

A post shared by Alison (@akgold11) on

Let me know what you think about this wish, share your own, or tell me about another place of remembrance and reckoning that you’ve visited and how it impacted you in the comments below or on Instagram where my handle is @AKGold11