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Revitalizing Montgomery as It Embraces Its Past

No other Southern city is arguably tied as closely to the history of race relations in America as Alabama’s capital, considered to be the birthplace of the civil rights movement. Not until recently, though, have the story of suffering and the response from activists translated into economic benefit for the 200-year-old river city.

Now, thousands of visitors arrive every day to experience newexpressions of racial injustice, represented in a national monument to victims of lynching and an accompanying museum of slavery and mass incarceration. The two projects and the throngs of people who visit them are encouraging a surge of downtown construction.

Both attractions were the inspiration of Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. They express a contemporary narrative of bigotry that ties slavery, the Civil War, lynching, segregation and civil rights to the current era of street shootings and mass incarcerations of African-American men.

Since they opened in April 2018, the monument and museum are responsible for attracting 400,000 more visitors to Montgomery and selling 107,000 more hotel rooms in 2018 than the year before, according to city figures.

Read entire article at NY Times