Cook: Our purgatory of the last 100 years and the way out

Staff File Photo / Pictured is the headstone of Ed Johnson, who was lynched on the Walnut Street Bridge in 1906, on Tuesday, May 29, 2012, at Pleasant Gardens Cemetery in Chattanooga.

On Thursday, Sept. 16, the Ed Johnson Memorial Dedication begins, lasting four days, with more than a dozen events: a courthouse church service, discussions with Eddie Glaude Jr., Jon Meacham, artist Jerome Meadows, panels, lectures, walking tours and Sunday's memorial dedication.

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The dedication is the culmination of years of work.

It is historic; besides Montgomery, Alabama, is there another city in America that has done something like this?

But we must see it clearly.

The dedication of the Ed Johnson Memorial is not justice.

"If I burn down your house, then build a memorial of your house, that is not justice," one friend said.

It is not absolution.

It is not an ending.

While reconciling, it is not reconciliation.

It is, quite simply, the truth.

Yes, the truth. This is what happened. Here. On our bridge.