EJI Memorial Brings Boost to Businesses
Since the opening of the Equal Justice Initiative’s Peace and Justice Memorial and Legacy Museum, thousands of people have flocked to Montgomery, giving other downtown businesses and attractions a boost in traffic.
Over 100,000 people have visited the memorial and business owners I spoke with say they are definitely seeing the benefits in their own places from tourists.
One word describes how many tourists feel when visiting the peace and justice memorial and legacy museum – Impressed. That feeling has led to them visiting a number of other places in Montgomery.
“As a result of the memorial, the recognition-right, the plaques that are here. It feels like a different era of the south to me,” says Maggie Harrison.
“We’ve been here 20 years ago and and we’re going to go the peace and justice museum right now,” says Zelda Saeli.
Museums like the white house of the confederacy have seen a 25 percent increase in visitors since the memorial opened. Officials say has brought in over 100,000 visitors in it’s first 3 months.
“Typically in April it would be 28 to 3,000 and in April we had upwards of 4,000,” says Bob Wieland, Curator at the First White House of the Confederacy.
“We now have the much needed other half so there will be twenty-twenty vision as to the history,” says Evelyn England, at the First White House of the Confederacy.
Beth Petty, Director at the Hank Williams Museum says she has seen the same.
She says she is always interested to know what brings people to Montgomery when they walk through her door.
“We do contribute a lot of the traffic probably thirty or 40 percent extra from the traffic that the new museum has brought in and we’re just really happy about that,” says Petty.
Just like others, Petty is hoping that momentum continues into the slower winter months.
“I think it’s becoming more and more aware around the world just how important Montgomery is so people are traveling here from all over to visit and they’re trying to absorb all they can.
Just last month, about 100 leaders visited the memorial from Charlottsville, Virginia bringing soil in memory of Virginia lynching victim Henry James.