filmed ’60 Minutes’
segment about the
National Memorial for
Peace and Justice
dedicated to nation’s
Media Process Group cofounder Keith Walker helped Oprah Winfrey and 60 Minutes win an Emmy by commemorating a brutal chapter of American history. In a segment titled The Legacy of Lynching, the Chicago cinematographer filmed Winfrey’s visit to The National Memorial for Peace and Justice.
Located in downtown Montgomery, AL, the Memorial honors the people who were lynched while bringing visitors “face-to-face with the brutal and tragic history of that era,” according to MPG.
Originally broadcast on April 8, 2018, The Legacy of Lynching features Winfrey touring the Memorial with Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and driving force behind completing the monument.
The segment received its Emmy for Outstanding Feature Story in a Newsmagazine during a ceremony at Lincoln Center in New York last month.
OPRAH VISITS ALABAMA MEMORIAL FOR LYNCHING
We will kill you
Stevenson and his team researched more than 4,300 lynching cases that took place over a 70-year period following the Civil War.
Among the victims they identified was Jesse Washington, who was soaked in oil, tied to a tree, and lowered into a fire. According to a published newspaper account, Washington was murdered before a crowd of 15,000 that had turned out for the event, many of whom were “dressed in their Sunday best.”
A memorial square at the center of the six-acre site contains 805 steel markers bearing the names of the victims, who often perished during what a CBS press release describes as “a picnic-like atmosphere.”
Besides offering dignity to the deceased, Stevenson’s efforts shed light on an institution of terror that served the southern white power structure for decades.
“Lynching was especially effective because it would allow the whole community to know that we did this to this person … ” he says. “… a message that, if you try to vote, if you try to advocate for your rights … anything that complicates white supremacy … and political power, we will kill you.”
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, Montgomery, Alabama
About Keith Walker
Keith Walker is co-owner, director of photography, and videographer at Media Process Group. A Columbia College graduate, he has shot hundreds of broadcast segments for shows like 60 Minutes, Oprah’s Next Chapter, Dateline, and HBO Real Sports. He also handled cinematography for Maya Angelou: and Still I Rise, the Peabody Award-winning 2016 documentary directed by Rita Coburn Whack and MPG’s other co-founder, Bob Hercules.
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