Mass Incarceration

Legacy Museum draws second-most visitors among Alabama’s paid tourism sites

The expanded Legacy Museum, opened by the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery in 2021, now ranks as Alabama’s second-most widespread paid attraction, the state tourism director stated.

Greater than 500,000 folks a yr now go to the Legacy Museum, “which made it the quantity two attraction for the entire state behind the House and Rocket Heart,” stated Lee Sentell, director of the Alabama Tourism Division.

The highest paid attraction in Alabama, the U.S. House and Rocket Heart in Huntsville, attracts about 850,000 guests a yr. The united statesAlabama Battleship Memorial Park in Cellular attracts about 300,000 a yr.

The opening of the Legacy Museum marked a leap ahead for Alabama in capitalizing on its connections to civil rights historical past, Sentell stated.

“We expect there are between one and two million folks every year that come for that subject, significantly proper now with what Equal Justice Initiative has achieved,” Sentell stated.

Lawyer Bryan Stevenson, creator of “Simply Mercy,” got here up with the idea of the museum, which traces the historical past of slavery, the African-American expertise and the difficulty of mass incarceration in america.

“What Bryan Stevenson does, every little thing is world class,” Sentell stated. “The folks which might be interested in Montgomery for this topic are individuals who by no means had a cause to return to Alabama. It’s firms, boards. The Ford Basis introduced their complete board (of administrators) about two months in the past. That is quite common.”

The Walt Disney Firm Basis additionally introduced its board of administrators for a tour greater than a month in the past and Microsoft founder Invoice Gates’ solely son, Rory Gates, who graduated final yr from the College of Chicago, spent two days visiting the Legacy Museum lately, Sentell stated.

“It might probably’t assist however be good,” Sentell stated of the potential advantages to the state from company leaders.

The Legacy Museum has develop into a key pilgrimage web site for companies selling variety, fairness and inclusion, Sentell stated.

“They’re all doing it,” he stated. “Going to EJI is a good place to start out that dialog. We work intently with the individuals who give these excursions.”

The Legacy Museum is open at the moment for the federal Martin Luther King Jr. vacation and is providing free admission. King’s civil rights profession reached nationwide prominence in the course of the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 and 1956, an effort King helped lead whereas he was pastor of Dexter Memorial Baptist Church.

King additionally led civil rights marches in Birmingham in 1963, and wrote his landmark “Letter from Birmingham Jail” after he was arrested and held within the metropolis jail.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, which attracts about 150,000 guests a yr, can be open at the moment with free admission, however tickets and reservations have been required and people are bought out for the day. The institute is a part of the Birmingham Civil Rights District, which incorporates Kelly Ingram Park and the Sixteenth Road Baptist Church, the place 4 women have been killed in a racially motivated bomb assault on Sept. 15, 1963.

See additionally: Slave trade to mass incarceration, museum tells grim truth

Alabama civil rights trail gets national exposure in Smithsonian

Birmingham begins events honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

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