MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The nation's first memorial to lynching victims is expanding.
The Equal Justice Initiative on Saturday opened a new welcome center and exhibition space that will add to the existing lynching memorial and museum that documents the history of racial inequality in America.
The pavilion, located in downtown Montgomery, will serve as a hub for visitors to the two previously opened sites, EJI’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which documents the era of racial terror lynchings between 1877 and 1950 and the Legacy Museum.
The Legacy Pavilion will include a monument to women, men and children who were victims of racial terror lynchings in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War and during Reconstruction. It will also honor civil rights figures including Martin Luther King Jr., Claudette Colvin, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Jonathan Daniels, Jo Ann Robinson, and E.D. Nixon and describe the role Montgomery played in fueling a civil rights movement.
It will also include a gift shop, soul food restaurant and a shuttle service to the memorial and museum.
The organization said the new welcome center will provide convenience, comfort, and food to the thousands of people who visit the memorial and museum. The organization said they are also proud to present new content about America’s history “that is essential for understanding our past and improving our future.”
The Equal Justice Initiative is a a legal advocacy center. The organization's work is featured in the movie “ Just Mercy.” The organization said 650,000 people have visited the memorial and museum since the sites opened in 2018.