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Social Justice Activist: Slavery Never Ended, It Just Evolved

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. (eji.org)
Bryan Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. (eji.org)

In the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, when Americans were frustrated at the flare up of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites, historians pointed out that it took the U.S. a full 100 years after the Civil War to achieve civil rights. After the massacre at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, it’s obvious that racial tensions still exist.

Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative – a legal advocacy group that represents people facing racial injustice in the legal system – says these tensions have never really been addressed.

“You can’t go to Germany, to Berlin, and walk 100 meters without seeing a marker or a stone or a monument to mark the places where Jewish families were abducted from their homes and taken to the concentration camps,” he said in an interview with The Marshall Project. “Four thousand African Americans were lynched between 1870 and WWII and none of us know anything about it. We don’t mark these places where these lynchings took place. Most of them took place on courthouse lawns that are now adorned with monuments to the Confederacy.”

Stevenson recently launched an initiative to mark where lynchings took place in the U.S. He speaks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about that effort, and the issue of racial tensions in America.

[Youtube]

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