Civil Rights Memorial Celebrates 30 Year Anniversary

Tuesday marked a milestone and a day of remembrance in Montgomery.
An event honoring the 30th anniversary of the Civil Rights Memorial was held in downtown.

The Memorial was dedicated by the Southern Poverty Law Center on November 5th, 1989. It honors 40 men women and children who were killed during the Civil Rights Movement.

People from all across the state came to pay respects to those lives.

“It’s about understanding our history and it’s about painting our future,” SPLC interim President Karen Baynes-Dunning said.

For thirty years, the Memorial has shined a light on the struggles African Americans faced for equality- from the Montgomery Bus Boycott that sparked the movement- to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.

“It’s not just remembering. Teaching our children to know so they can remember. That’s the part that I think is the void that we have in our society today,” visitor Georgia Christian said.

The ceremony featured song performances by the Park Crossing’s High School Choir.

Montgomery Mayor-elect Steven Reed joined leaders of the SPLC and the Memorial Center to reflect on the sacrifices the forty lives made.

“It’s a humbling experience to understand where this country was so may decades ago- where people were literally losing lives for equality,” Reed said.

Those forty names are now etched in history on the Memorial’s fountain. Leaders say their actions helped spark changes in civil rights today, but they say there is still much more work to do for equality.

“We have to do more. We have to be deliberate in our intentions and making sure that we’re doing these things for the best interest of our community and for the best interest of the people that live here,” Reed said.

“It won’t be easy, but we have to keep moving forward and we have to keep doing this together. The future is all of us- it’s not a us vs. them,” director of the Civil Rights Memorial Center Tafeni English said.

In honor of the 30-year anniversary, the center offered free admission to visitors during its normal hours of operation.

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