There’s a new memorial and museum in Montgomery, Alabama, that Oprah Winfrey wants the world to see.

The Legacy Museum and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice open on April 26.  

In a segment on “60 Minutes” that aired April 8, Oprah was given advance access to the museum and memorial, and in her report, she identified the “reckoning taking place in America over how we remember our history.”  


Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images.

It’s one of the first museums in the history of the United States to memorialize black lynching victims in our country.

The museum and memorial are a product of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), an organization that works to end mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the U.S., challenge racial and economic injustice, and protect the basic human rights of our country’s most vulnerable individuals.  

EJI is led by Bryan Stevenson, a historian, public speaker, and lawyer who has dedicated his career to advocating for the poor, incarcerated, and otherwise condemned in America.

Bryan Stevenson. Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.

For years, our history books have ignored or downplayed the epidemic of lynching in the United States.

A multi-year investigation from the EJI helped change the false narrative. Researchers documented:

4,075 racial terror lynchings of African-Americans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia between 1877 and 1950 — at least 800 more lynchings of black people in these states than previously reported.”

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is showcasing the names of victims on the markers that hang from the ceiling.

The reality is harsh. But it’s important that we recognize our history so it doesn’t become our future.  

The memorial has 805 steel markers, one marker for each county where lynchings took place. The magnitude of it is staggering — during Winfrey’s tour with Stevenson, she was shocked to see just how many names there were.

“Every name has its own story,” Winfrey said.

“If they couldn’t find the man they were looking for, they would lynch that man’s wife or daughter or child,” Stevenson said, of the horrific lynchings.

Each marker lists the names of lynching victims. Image from “60 Minutes.”

As Stevenson has noted in a number of interviews, owning up to America’s history of racial injustice is a huge challenge, but one that is worth it. If we can actually accept our nation’s failures, we can move toward a place where we won’t let our worst moments define us.    

The United States can move beyond the horrors of our past — it’s happened elsewhere before.  

Despite hosting one of the most lethal genocides in the world’s history, Germany has largely managed to admit to and move forward from the Holocaust.

The nation hasn’t done this by hiding out from reality, though. Instead, German schools teach children about the Holocaust early on, and multiple museums there allow citizens and visitors to reflect on the horrific acts.  

Germany owns up to its inequity and has policies in place that criminalize anti-Semitic and white supremacist behavior.

Photo by Jerry Lampen/AFP/Getty Images.

America is a great nation, but for far too long, privileges have been granted to far too few.

We believe in freedom, democracy, and the rights to individual liberty and prosperity. But historically, those privileges existed only on the backs of people whose humanity was stripped from their lives. It’s tragic and horrific, but it does not have to be our story.

“There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy,” Stevenson once wrote. “When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things you can’t otherwise see; you hear things you can’t otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.”  

By amplifying the voices that were buried; recognizing their existence, their lives, and their pain; and ending similar behavior in our prisons, neighborhoods, and school systems, we can move toward a place where America’s promise becomes our central reality.

We can do better — and The Legacy Museum and The National Memorial for Peace and Justice are great ways to start.  

The museum and memorial open on April 26, 2018.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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