American history podcast honors memorial on lynching

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is a memorial to honor thousands of people killed in racist lynchings in Montgomery, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A national memorial to the history of lynchings in the United States has received an award from a local American history podcast.

BackStory, a production of Virginia Humanities, presented the first-ever BackStory Prize to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which is the culmination of an investigation and research into lynchings by the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.

“The Equal Justice Initiative is grateful to BackStory for recognizing the National memorial for Peace and Justice by awarding us the BackStory Prize,” said Sia Sanneh, senior attorney at the EJI. “We believe that in order to address the challenges of the present, it is critical that we honestly confront America's history of racial inequality and we are thrilled that BackStory has decided to support that effort.”

The national memorial, which opened in April, is the first one dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people and more.

Part of the memorial is made up of jars of dirt from across the country collected at locations where a person was lynched, including two from the Central Virginia area.

David Stenhouse, the executive editor of BackStory, says the prize seeks to address how the work of public historians is often overlooked by spotlighting those who have successfully reached broad audiences with their research.

Podcast hosts Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, Nathan Connolly and Joanne Freeman, with guest judges Christopher Jackson of CBS's “Bull” and “Hidden Figures” author Margot Lee Shetterly, unanimously selected the national memorial for the prize.

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