Freedom isn’t free • Missouri Independent

You can’t understand the scope of 122,000 names until you see them on a wall.

Stand at the foot of the National Monument to Freedom, recently dedicated by the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, and you’ll see all of them, soaring three or four stories above your head.

Each name, taken from the 1870 census, belonged to a former enslaved person. These are surnames. Family names. Combined, they represent about 4 million people who emerged from bondage.

Each one stands for an American once treated as an animal.