Montgomery – The Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery holds the distinction of being the only monument honoring the forty men, women, and children who died in the Civil Rights Movement between the years of 1954 and 1968. Created by Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer, artist, and architect Maya Lin, the black granite memorial is located across the street from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s building downtown on Washington Avenue.
Lin’s design concept is based on the soothing and healing effect of water and was inspired by Dr. King’s quotation, “…we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream…”, from his I Have a Dream speech, delivered at the National Mall in Washington, D. C. on August 28, 1963.
The memorial is a round stone inverted cone, which is a fountain. A film of water flows over the base of the cone which contains the names of the forty people who died in the movement. One can touch the smooth film of water and temporarily alter the surface film, which quickly returns to smoothness.
The memorial is located in an open plaza and is accessible to visitors twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, with no admission fee. The open-air plaza is a place where one can reflect on the struggles of racial equality and to honor those who gave their lives in that vigorous effort.
Article by Melissa Parker
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