Alabama Memory is a different kind of lynching history. Most studies focus on where and why a person was killed. This project asks who these men, women, and children were before they died – who they loved, how they lived, and whom they left behind. Based at the University of Alabama and inspired by the work of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, Alabama Memory is an ongoing attempt to recapture the lives of the lynching or attempted lynching victims in the state of Alabama.
Undergraduate and graduate students lead the research effort. Collaborating closely with community leaders and professors, they work in local archives, libraries, museums, and published databases to understand the world of the victims and build a testimony to their lives.
Alabama Memory launched in January 2017 with an initial dataset composed of documented lynching victims between 1877 and 1945 as published by Equal Justice Initiative, the Tuskegee Institute, the CSDE Lynching Database, and Monroe Work Today. It regularly updates that initial dataset with lynchings and attempted lynchings newly uncovered by students. As of spring 2021, the projected has discovered 40 new lynchings.
as you explore the lives of victims lost to lynching violence, you may notice a series of numbers at the top of each victims’ page. these are the case numbers we use to organize our metadata. they follow this formula: a unique county id number + the year of the lynching + numbers differentiating lynchings in the same county and year.