Brooklyn Museum, Equal Justice Instititute,, Anne Pasternak, Bryan Stevenson, From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, The Memorial to Peace and Justice
photo credit: Brooklyn Museum

The exhibition presents groundbreaking research and connects it to selected artworks from the museum’s collection

photo credit: Brooklyn Museum

“The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America,” on view from July 26 through September 3 at the Brooklyn Museum, presents extensive research into the history of lynchings conducted by the Equal Justice Instititute (EJI) and connects it to the artworks from the museum’s collections.

“Throughout its nearly two-hundred-year history, the Brooklyn Museum has never shied away from difficult but important conversations — including racial exclusion and inequality,” said Anne Pasternak, the Brooklyn Museum’s Shelby White and Leon Levy executive director. “We are proud to work with the Equal Justice Initiative in its fight to confront America’s painful past in order to educate and heal, and to contribute to a more empathetic and just society.”

The exhibition is dedicated to the personal stories from descendants of lynching victims and features video, photographs, a documentary and an interactive map to display EJI’s groundbreaking research. In a collaboration with Google, EJI launched an online platform,, which digitizes the organization’s research on the more than four thousand racial terror lynchings of African Americans between 1877 and 1950.

The exhibition features work of photographers commissioned by EJI, notably Melissa Bunni Elian, Kris Graves, Raymond Thompson, Andre Wagner, Bee Walker and Rog Walker, as well as artists from the museum’s collection.

The exhibition also documents EJI’s plans to open a national monument, “The Memorial to Peace and Justice”, in Montgomery, Alabama, and a museum, “From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration,” which focuses on the legacy of slavery, segregation and mass incarceration.

Committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment, EJI is a nonprofit organization which provides legal representation, and challenges racial and economic injustice in the United States. Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of EJI, is a widely acclaimed public-interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated, and the condemned.

Artist Melissa Bunni Elian, photo credit: Brooklyn Museum

“Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape. This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and equal justice,” said Stevenson. “We all must engage this history more honestly.”

The Legacy of Lynching: Confronting Racial Terror in America – on view at The Brooklyn Museum, July 26 to September 3, 2017


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