Rev Jesse Jackson opens new Museum of Free Derry

Jesse Jackson
Image caption Rev Jesse Jackson pictured along with the mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Maolíosa McHugh

The US civil rights activist, the Rev Jesse Jackson, has officially opened the Museum of Free Derry along with the late Martin McGuinness' son, Fiachra.

The launch took place on Thursday, seven years after the publication of the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday.

It found that 14 civil rights marchers and bystanders had been killed without justification by the Army in Derry.

Rev Jackson said the museum provided a frame of reference for The Troubles.

"There is a healing process but there is hope emerging," he said.

"I am very optimistic about the future here. It is important not to look backwards with fear but forwards with hope."

A number of exhibitions in the museum tell the people's story of the civil rights movement, the Battle of the Bogside, internment, Free Derry and Bloody Sunday.

Image caption Thirteen people were killed on Bloody Sunday and another died some months later

The artwork on the front wall of the museum was created by local artist Locky Morris and is entitled We Shall Overcome.

It uses the actual sound waveform of the moment on Bloody Sunday when the crowd sang the civil rights anthem.

Those 21 seconds have been cut into the fabric of the building and are intended to be seen as a "paean to community resistance amidst deadly force".

Bloody Sunday Trust Chairperson Robin Percival said: "We are all thrilled to officially open the new Museum of Free Derry after a hugely successful first few months in our flagship building.

Image caption The outside wall shows a sound wave of 'We Shall Overcome'

"While it has been a long and hard road, we are proud to be back in the heart of the Bogside, where so much of our story happened."

Terence Brannigan, who is the Tourism NI Chairman, said that the museum further strengthens the visitor offering in the North West.

"It is an attraction worthy of domestic, national and international appeal," he said.

"The ever-increasing visitor numbers are testament to the Museum of Free Derry's enhanced facilities and focus on the ever popular local heritage special interest groups."

The museum opened to the public in February 2017.

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