Our van pulled up outside the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Civil Rights Memorial and a guard immediately hurried down to the street. We couldn’t just stop there to unload. When I later realized what was housed inside the adjacent building, I understood the need for security measures. What was shared inside was the far-reaching effects of hatred.
I promise that this is the last post I’ll write about the horrific sadness that abounds in these Montgomery institutions, but their history and progressive work is so important. I need to share it.
The Southern Poverty Law’s Civil Rights Memorial Center overwhelmed me with its stories. It was the only place I remember visiting in Montgomery where we had to go through security as we entered the building. And then we were free to explore and interact with the displays inside. I took a million pictures. I’ll let a few of the pictures speak for themselves.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is committed to fighting hate, teaching tolerance, and seeking justice. They have a hate map that tracks hate crime groups around the U.S. Though I focused on a few of the victims of hate crimes toward blacks, many other groups are targeted. You can click the hate map by state. I was appalled that 35 hate groups exist in my home state of Ohio. You can check the map here: https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map
The Civil Rights Memorial building ends in a large, dark room with an illuminated Wall of Tolerance. Visitors are invited to pledge to take a stand against hate and work for justice and tolerance in their daily lives.
You can add your name so easily among the thousands that continuously scroll across the Wall of Tolerance. Those names greatly outnumber the names of victims. So there is hope.