Re-Post || 60Minutes |CBSnews || Inside the Memorial to Victims of Lynching


[…] Stevenson wants people to understand that lynchings were not just brutal footnotes in history, they reflected a belief in racial differences that reinforced segregation in the 1950s and 60s, and, he says, has resulted in a pattern of unequal justice today.

Bryan Stevenson: And now we live in a landscape where you see young black boys and men being rounded up. One in three black male babies born in this country is expected to go to jail or prison.

Oprah Winfrey: You actually think that slavery and lynchings led to African-Americans being disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system?

Bryan Stevenson: Yes, I do. And I think, actually, it’s not a hard thing to understand, you know, I look at–

Oprah Winfrey: I think it is a hard thing to understand for people who think people get locked up, people are locked up because they commit crimes.

Bryan Stevenson: About 13 percent of the people illegally in possession of drugs in this country are black. That’s about our proportion of the population.

You know what percentage are arrested? That’s about 35 percent. That is an echo of this consciousness that doesn’t value the lives of these folks.

Equal value for every life is what Bryan Stevenson has spent his life fighting for. So now, soil from the place of Wes Johnson’s lynching sits on this shelf in the museum in Montgomery – along with hundreds of others.

Bryan Stevenson: And right now, when we talk about our history, when we talk about our past, we’re not telling the truth. We’re just not. America can be a great nation, even though there was slavery, even though there was lynching, even though there was segregation. But if we don’t talk about those things we did, we don’t acknowledge those things, we’re not going to get there. […]

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