The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, opening Thursday, stands high on a hillside overlooking downtown Montgomery, Ala. Beyond the buildings you can see the winding Alabama River and hear the distant whistle of a train — the nexus that made the city a hub for the domestic slave trade.
And that's where the experience begins as visitors encounter a life-size sculpture in bronze of six people in rusting shackles, including a mother with a baby in her arms.
"You see the agony and the anguish and the suffering in these figures," says Bryan Stevenson, founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative, the non-profit legal advocacy group that created the memorial.
"It's people in distress," Stevenson says. "And I don't think we've actually done a very good job of acknowledging the pain and agony, the suffering, the humiliation, the complete denial of humanity that slavery created for black people on this continent."
Stevenson serves as a tour guide through the somber space – which remembers the nation's history of racial terror, representing a journey from slavery to the period after the Civil War, and before the civil rights movement. [Full Story]