The Civil Rights Memorial honors the achievements and memory of those who died during the Civil Rights Movement, a period framed by the momentous Brown v. Board decision in 1954 and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968. The memorial serves as a vehicle for education and reflection about the struggle for equality.
Created by Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin, the memorial is located across the street from the Southern Poverty Law Center's office building in Montgomery, Alabama, a city rich with civil rights history.A circular black granite table records the names of the martyrs and chronicles the history of the movement in lines that radiate like the hands of a clock. Water emerges from the table's center and flows evenly across the top. On a curved black granite wall behind the table is engraved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s well-known paraphrase of Amos 5:24 - We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
Like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Civil Rights Memorial invites visitors to touch the engraved names. As Lin envisioned, the Memorial plaza is "a contemplative area — a place to remember the Civil Rights Movement, to honor those killed during the struggle, to appreciate how far the country has come in its quest for equality, and to consider how far it has to go."
The Memorial is just around the corner from the church where Dr. King served as pastor during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955-1956, and the capitol steps where the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march ended in 1965. The Memorial is located on an open plaza accessible to visitors 24 hours a day, every day of the week.
The Civil Rights Memorial Center is adjacent to the Memorial. In addition to exhibits about Civil Rights Movement martyrs, the Memorial Center houses a 56-seat theater, a classroom for educational activities, and the Wall of Tolerance.