'Nothing is lost': mourning and memory at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice

Woodley, J. ORCID: 0000-0003-2158-1345, 2022. 'Nothing is lost': mourning and memory at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. Memory Studies. ISSN 1750-6980

1563424_Woodley.pdf - Post-print

Download (282kB) | Preview


The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is the first national memorial to Black victims of lynching. Its purpose is to provoke a confrontation with the United States' racial past, in the hope that truth will lead to racial justice. This article argues that in remembering the dead, the Lynching Memorial also allows and encourages visitors to mourn. During the peak of racial lynchings in the early twentieth century, it could be difficult or even dangerous for the bereaved to publicly mourn Black victims. The NMPJ therefore provides a delayed opportunity for the Black community to mourn those losses. But it also encourages visitors of other races to mourn too. The memorial facilitates mourning through the visitors' relationship to the monuments, and the echoing of Black mourning traditions. In publicly mourning for these victims, visitors acknowledge and insist on the grievability of Black lives, something which white supremacy has long sought to deny. This article, therefore, argues for the radical potential for mourning at sites of commemoration as a step towards justice.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Memory Studies
Creators: Woodley, J.
Publisher: Sage
Date: 2 August 2022
ISSN: 1750-6980
Rights: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 06 Jul 2022 15:04
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2022 07:33
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/46568

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View


Views per month over past year


Downloads per month over past year