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Lynching is extrajudicial punishment carried out by a mob, usually by hanging. It is related to other means of social control that arise in communities, such as charivari and riding the rail. Lynchings were more frequent in times of social and economic tension, and often were means by the politically dominant population to oppress social challenges.

Violence in the United States against African Americans, especially in the South, rose in the aftermath of the American Civil War, after slavery had been abolished and free men were given the right to vote. Violence rose even more at the end of the century, after southern white Democrats regained political power in the South in the 1870s. States passed new constitutions or legislation which effectively disfranchised most blacks and many poor whites, established segregation of public facilities by race, and separated blacks from common public life and facilities.

Nearly 5,000 African Americans were lynched in the United States between 1860 and 1890. In her recent book, Sherrilyn A. Ifill, professor at the University of Maryland, College Parkmarker School of Law, investigates how average white citizens were implicated in the lynchings. Some participated in the violence, while many others witnessed the lynchings but did nothing to stop the mobs. Her research explores how the history of complicity has become embedded in the social and cultural fabric of local communities that either supported, condoned, or ignored the violence. Ifill wrote that she was inspired by South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She suggests ways that American communities with histories of racial violence can face this legacy in constructive ways.

Lynching during the late 19th century in the United States, Great Britain and colonies, coincided with a period of violence which denied people participation in white-dominated society on the basis of race or gender after the Emancipation Act of 1833.

Although in the 20th century, some members of the US Congress tried to pass anti-lynching legislation, the Solid South voting block of Democrats defeated or filibustered every bill.

Today lynching is a felony in all states of the United States, defined by some codes of law as "Any act of violence inflicted by a mob upon the body of another person which results in the death of the person," with a 'mob' being defined as "the assemblage of two or more persons, without color or authority of law, for the premeditated purpose and with the premeditated intent of committing an act of violence upon the person of another." Lynching in the second degree is defined as "Any act of violence inflicted by a mob upon the body of another person and from which death does not result." To sustain a conviction for lynching at least some evidence of premeditation must be produced, but "The common intent to do violence" may be formed before or during the assemblage."


In the United States, the origin of term "lynching" or "lynch law" is traditionally attributed to a Virginia Quaker named Charles Lynch.

  • Charles Lynch (1736–1796), a Virginia planter and American Revolutionary who headed a county court in Virginia which punished Loyalist supporters of the British.

The following are several improbable suggested sources of the word's origin:

  • William Lynch (1742–1820) from Virginia claimed that the phrase was first used for a 1780 compact signed by him and his neighbors in Pittsylvania County.
  • James Lynch Fitzstephen from Galwaymarker, Ireland, who was the Mayor of Galway when he hanged his own son from the balcony of his house after convicting him of the murder of a Spanish visitor in 1493 .
  • Lingchi, a Chinese form of execution used from roughly AD 900 to 1905 .
  • Archaic verb linch; to beat severely with a pliable instrument, to chastise or to maltreat.

There is little actual doubt as to where the term originates. During the Revolutionary War, Judge Charles Lynch imprisoned activists who were loyal to the British and who threatened the colonists' military situation.

"In passing these sentences, comparatively mild though they were, the county court was transcending its powers; the General Court alone had jurisdiction in cases of treason. After the war, therefore, the Tories that had suffered at his hands threatened to prosecute Colonel Lynch and his friends, and the affair attracted wide attention. To avoid the trouble of a lawsuit, Lynch had the matter brought up before the legislature, of which he was still a member; and after a long and thorough debate, that aroused the interest of the whole country, the following act was passed : "Whereas divers evil-disposed persons in the year 1780 formed a conspiracy and did actually attempt to levy war against the commonwealth, and it is represented to the present General Assembly . . . that Charles Lynch and other faithful citizens, aided by detachments of volunteers from different parts of the state, did by timely and effectual measures suppress such conspiracy, and whereas the measures taken for that purpose may not be strictly warranted by law although justifiable from the imminence of the danger, Be it therefore enacted that the said Charles Lynch and all other persons whatsoever concerned in suppressing the said conspiracy, or in advising, issueing, or exacting any orders or measures taken for that purpose, stand indemnified and exonerated of and from all pains, penalties, prosecutions, actions, suits, and damages on account thereof, And that if any indictment, prosecution, action or suit shall be laid or brought against them or any of them for any act or thing done therein, the defendant or defendants may plead in bar and give this act in evidence." The proceedings in Bedford which the legislature thus pronounced to be illegal, but justifiable, were imitated in other parts of the state, and came to be known by the name of "Lynch's Law." In justice to Colonel Lynch, it should be remembered that his action was taken at a time when the state was in the throes of a hostile invasion. The General Court, before which the conspirators should have been tried, was temporarily dispersed. Thomas Jefferson, then the governor of the state, was proving himself peculiarly incompetent to fill the position. The whole executive department was in a state of partial paralysis. It was, therefore, no spirit of insubordination or disregard of the law that induced Lynch to act as he did. There were few men living more inclined than this simple Quaker farmer to render due respect in word and deed to the established authorities. But the seed that had been sown sprung up and bore evil fruit... In 1796 he died, at the age of sixty, and was buried at his home on the banks of the Staunton, in a country which he had found a primeval wilderness... and which he left a prosperous, peaceful, and law-abiding community."

Thomas Walker Page. "The Real Judge Lynch" (December 1901) The Atlantic Monthly

No person named "Lynch" has any recorded historical connection with the extra-judicial mob execution or murder of African-Americans.

One definition of the lynching describes it as "a systematic localized expression of western imperialism when wedded to mob driven political terrorism, was commonly practiced as an accepted form of suppressing human beings of African descent engaged in resisting overwhelming injustice and outright tyranny in America."

United States

Lynching, as a form of punishment for presumed criminal offenses, performed by self-appointed commissions, mobs, or vigilantes without due process of law took place in the United States before the American Civil War and afterwards, from southern states to western frontier settlements. The term "Lynch's Law" (and subsequently "lynch law" and "lynching") apparently originated during the American Revolution when Charles Lynch, a Virginiamarker justice of the peace, ordered extralegal punishment for Tory acts. In the South, members of the abolitionist movement or other people opposing slavery were usually targets of lynch mob violence before the Civil War. During the war, Southern Home Guard units sometimes lynched white Southerners whom they suspected of being Unionists or deserters; one example of this was the hanging of Methodist minister Bill Sketoe in the south Alabama town of Newtonmarker in December 1864. Similar (fictitious) incidents of extrajudicial murder are portrayed in Charles Frazier's novel Cold Mountain.

After the war, southern whites struggled to maintain social dominance. Secret vigilante and insurgent groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) instigated extrajudicial assaults and killings to keep power and to discourage freedmen from voting, working and getting educated. They also sometimes attacked Northerners, teachers, and agents of the Freedmen's Bureau. A study of the period of 1868 to 1871 estimates that the Ku Klux Klan was involved in more than 400 lynchings. The aftermath of the war was a period of upheaval and social turmoil, in which most of the white men had been war veterans. Mobs usually had alleged crimes for which they lynched blacks. In the late 19th century, however, journalist Ida B. Wells showed that many presumed crimes were exaggerated or did not occur.

Not all lynchings in the United States were targeted against African Americans and committed by the Ku Klux Klan. Between 1882 and 1968, the Tuskegee Institute recorded 1,293 lynchings of whites. In this category were minority members such as Chinese and Mexican, who were sometimes the targets of lynchings by European-American whites in the West. In 1868, ten members of the Reno Gang, all white and between 20 and 30 years of age, were lynched on three separate occasions by vigilante mobs in Southern Indiana. There was no formal investigation and no charges were ever filed against anyone.

Mob violence arose as a means of enforcing white supremacy and verged on systematic political terrorism. "The Ku Klux Klan, paramilitary groups, and other whites united by frustration and anger ruthlessly defended the interests of white supremacy. The magnitude of extralegal violence during election campaigns reached epidemic proportions, leading the historian William Gillette to label it guerrilla warfare."

During Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan and others used lynching as a means to control African Americans, forcing them to work for planters and preventing them from exercising their right to vote. White Republicans were often victims of lynching as well in the post-war periodcitation needed. Federal troops and courts enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1871 largely broke up the Reconstruction-era Klan.

By the end of Reconstruction in 1877, with fraud, intimidation and violence at the polls, white Democrats regained nearly total control of the state legislatures across the South. They passed laws to make voter registration more complicated, reducing black voters on the rolls. In the late 19th century, from 1890 to 1908, ten of eleven Southern legislatures ratified new constitutions and amendments to effectively disfranchise most African Americans and many poor whites through devices such as poll taxes, property and residency requirements, and literacy tests. Although required of all voters, some provisions were selectively applied against African Americans. In addition, many states passed grandfather clauses to exempt white illiterates from literacy tests for a limited period. The result was that black voters were stripped from registration rolls and without political recourse. Since they could not vote, they could not serve on juries. They were without official political voice.

The ideology behind lynching, directly connected with denial of political and social equality, was stated forthrightly by Benjamin Tillman, governor of South Carolina and later a United States Senator:

Lynchings declined briefly after the takeover in the 1870s. By the end of the 19th century, with struggles over labor and disfranchisement, and continuing agricultural depression, lynchings rose again. The number of lynchings peaked at the end of the 19th century, but these kinds of murders continued into the 20th century. Tuskegee Institutemarker records of lynchings between the years 1880 and 1951 show 3,437 African-American victims, as well as 1,293 white victims. Lynchings were concentrated in the Cotton Beltmarker: (Mississippimarker, Georgiamarker, Alabamamarker, Texasmarker and Louisianamarker).

African Americans resisted through protests, marches, lobbying Congress, writing of articles, rebuttals of so-called justifications of lynching, organizing women's groups against lynching, and organizing integrated groups against lynching. African-American playwrights produced 14 anti-lynching plays between 1916 and 1935, ten of them by women.

After the 1915 release of the movie The Birth of a Nation, which glorified lynching and the Reconstruction-era Klan, the Klan re-formed. Unlike in its earlier form, it was heavily represented among urban populations, especially in the Midwest. In response to massive immigration of people from southern and eastern Europe, the Klan had an anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish stance, in addition to exercising oppression of blacks.

Members of mobs that participated in lynchings often took photographs of what they had done to spread awareness and fear of their power. Some of those photographs were published and sold as postcards. In the early 21st century, James Allen published his collection of lynching photos in book form and online, with written words and video to accompany the images.

Dyer Bill

The Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill was first introduced to United States Congress in 1918 by Republican Congressman Leonidas C. Dyer of Missourimarker. The bill was passed by the United States House of Representatives in 1922 and in the same year given a favorable report by the United States Senate Committee. Passage was blocked by white Democratic senators from the Solid South, the only representatives elected since southern states disfranchised African Americans at the turn of the century. The Dyer Bill influenced later anti-lynching legislation, including the Costigan-Wagner Bill.

The Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill as it appeared in 1922 stated: "To assure to persons within the jurisdiction of every State the equal protection of the laws, and to punish the crime of lynching.... Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the phrase 'mob or riotous assemblage,' when used in this act, shall mean an assemblage composed of three or more persons acting in concert for the purpose of depriving any person of his life without authority of law as a punishment for or to prevent the commission of some actual or supposed public offense."

Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith

Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, both African-Americans, were lynched on August 7, 1930 in Marion, Indianamarker. They had been arrested the night before on charges of robbing and murdering a white factory worker and raping his girlfriend. A large crowd broke into the jail with sledgehammers, beat the men, and hanged them. Police officers in the crowd cooperated in the lynching. A third person, 16-year-old James Cameron, escaped lynching due to the intervention of an unidentified member of the crowd who announced that he had nothing to do with the rape or murder. A studio photographer, Lawrence Beitler, took a photograph of the dead bodies hanging from a tree surrounded by a large crowd; thousands of copies of the photograph were sold. The event is notable as the last confirmed lynching of blacks in the Northern United States.

America's Black Holocaust Museum

The museum's founding date is given in the AP interview/article by Sharon Cohen, which appeared in the Standard-Times on February 17, 2003, and is quoted in the IDS interview, see above. Cameron's position as Founder and Director is also mentioned in the Little review cited earlier and in other sources.

"Strange Fruit"

In 1937 Abel Meeropol, a Jewish schoolteacher from New Yorkmarker, saw a copy of the photograph of the Marion lynching. Meeropol later said that the photograph "haunted me for days" and inspired his writing the poem "Strange Fruit". It was published in the New York Teacher and later in the magazine New Masses, in both cases under the pseudonym Lewis Allan. This poem became the lyrics for the song of the same name, performed and popularized by Billie Holiday. The song reached 16th place on the charts in July 1939.


The frequency of lynching dropped in the 1930s. Lynch law declined sharply by the 1950s. However, in the South, lynchings rose in the 1960s as resistance against civil rights activism. Most but not all lynchings ceased during the 1960s.

Civil rights law

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees persons the right against unreasonable searches or seizures. Under the "color of law", a law enforcement official—under certain circumstances—is allowed to stop people and search them and retain their property if necessary. Abuse of this discretionary power is a violation of a person's civil rights. Unlawful detention or illegal confiscation of property are examples of such abuse. In deprivation of property, the color of law statute is violated by unlawfully obtaining or maintaining the property of another person. Fabricating evidence or conducting false arrest is a violation of a person's rights of unreasonable seizure and due process. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution secures the right to due process. The Eighth Amendment prohibits the use of cruel and unusual punishment. These rights prohibit the use of force in an arrest or detention context which would amount to punishment or summary judgment and provide that a person accused of a crime is not subject to punishment without legal process and a trial.

Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241 is the civil rights conspiracy statute which makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same) and further makes it unlawful for two or more persons to go in disguise on the highway or premises of another person with intent to prevent or hinder his or her free exercise or enjoyment of such rights. Depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and any resulting injury, the offense is punishable by a range of fines and/or imprisonment for any term of years up to life, or the death penalty.


In Europe early examples of a similar phenomenon are found in the proceedings of the Vehmgerichte in medieval Germany, and of Lydford lawmarker, gibbet lawmarker or Halifax lawmarker in England and Cowper justicemarker and Jeddart justice in Scotland.

Lynching existed in the turbulent society of the 17th Century Netherlands, the most notorious case being on August 20, 1672, when a lynch mob in The Haguemarker killed and mutilated Johan de Witt – the Grand Pensionary, roughly similar to a modern Prime Minister – and his brother Cornelis de Witt.

In 1944, Wolfgang Rosterg, a German prisoner of war known to be unsympathetic to the Nazi regime, was lynched by Nazis in POW Camp 21 in Comriemarker, Scotland. After the end of the war five of the perpetrators were hanged at Pentonvillemarker Prison – the largest multiple execution in 20th century Britain.

There are also some personal accounts of lynching in Budapestmarker, Hungary, during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution against the occupying Sovietsmarker.


On November 23, 2004, in the Tlahuac lynching, three Mexican undercover federal agents doing a narcotics investigation were lynched in the town of San Juan Ixtayopan (Mexico City) by an angry crowd who saw them taking photographs and suspected they were trying to abduct children from a primary school. The agents identified themselves immediately but were held and beaten for several hours before two of them were killed and set on fire. The incident was covered by the media almost from the beginning, including their pleas for help and their murder.

By the time police rescue units arrived, two of the agents were reduced to charred corpses and the third was seriously injured. Authorities suspect the lynching was provoked by the persons being investigated.

Both local and federal authorities abandoned them to their fate, saying the town was too far away to even try to arrive in time and some officials stating they would provoke a massacre if they tried to rescue them from the mob.

Dominican Republic

According to an Amnesty International report, lynchings of Haitians and Dominicans accused of various crimes, ranging from theft to murder, have continued to occur as late as 2006.

South Africa

The practice of whipping and necklacing offenders and political opponents evolved in the 1980s during the apartheid era in South Africa. Residents of black townships formed "people's courts" to terrorize fellow blacks who were seen as collaborators of the government using whip lashings and deaths by necklacing. Necklacing is the torture and execution of victims by igniting a kerosene-filled rubber tire that has been forced around the victim's chest and arms. Necklacing was used to punish victims, including children , who were alleged to be traitors to the black liberation movement and relatives and associates of the offenders. Sometimes the "people's courts" made mistakes, or used the system to punish those to whom leaders were opposed. There was tremendous controversy when the practice was endorsed by Winnie Mandela, wife of the imprisoned Nelson Mandela and a senior member of the African National Congress.

More recently, drug dealers and other gang members have been lynched by People Against Gangsterism and Drugs, a Muslim vigilante organization.


In India, lynchings generally reflect tensions between numerous ethnic groups and castes in the country. Typically, lynchings involve upper-caste members attacking lower caste members. However, recent examples include the Kherlanji massacre, where low castes were lynched by other low castes. India has a large scale affirmative action programme for the emancipation of the lower castes. Sociologists and social scientists reject the identification of caste with racial discrimination and attribute it to intra-racial ethno-cultural conflict.

Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip

Palestinian lynch mobs have murdered Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel. According to a Human Rights Watch report from 2001:

Israelis have been lynched as well. In the 2000 Ramallah lynching, a Palestinian mob beat to death two Israeli reservists who had entered the city.

See also

Sources and external links

Notes and references

  1. On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-first Century by Sherrilyn A. Ifill (Beacon Press, 2007) ISBN 978-0807009871
  2. Thomas E. Smith, "The Discourse of Violence: Transatlantic Narratives of Lynching during High Imperialism", Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History - Volume 8, Number 2, Fall 2007 [1]
  3. S.C. Code of Laws Title 16 Chapter 3 Offenses Against the Person
  4. State v. Barksdale, 311 S.C. 210, 214, 428 S.E.2d 498, 500 (Ct. App. 1993)
  5. Cutler, James E., Lynch Law (New York, 1905)
  6. University of Chicago, Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913 + 1828)
  7. [2]
  8. [3]
  10. " Shaped by Site: Three Communities' Dialogues on the Legacies of Lynching." National Park Service. Accessed October 29, 2008.
  11. Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930 by W. Fitzhugh Brundage (University of Illinois Press: 1993) ISBN 978-0252063459
  12. Barry A. Crouch, "A Spirit of Lawlessness: White violence, Texas Blacks, 1865-1868," Journal of Social History 18 (Winter 1984): 217–26
  13. Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. 119–23;
  14. J.C.A. Stagg, "The Problem of Klan Violence: The South Carolina Upcountry, 1868-1871," Journal of American Studies 8 (Dec. 1974): 303–18
  15. Allen W. Trelease, White Terror: The Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction Harper & Row, 1979
  16. Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. 119–23
  17. Dahleen Glanton, "Controversial exhibit on lynching opens in Atlanta" May 5, 2002, Chicago Tribune. Reproduced online
  18. Musarium: Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America, accessed 6 November 2006
  19. Richard H. Pildes, "Democracy, Anti-Democracy, and the Canon", Constitutional Commentary, Vol.17, 2000, accessed 10 March 2008
  20. Zangrando, NAACP Crusade, pp. 43-44, 54
  21. Anti-Lynching Bill
  22. The primary source for these events is A Time of Terror, which is an eyewitness account. Relevant passages are quoted in several of the external links, including photo notes from Without Sanctuary and Legends of America. Other accounts are in Lynching in the Heartland, listed in the Further reading section, above.
  23. "Lawrence Beitler, a studio photographer, took this photo. For ten days and nights he printed thousands of copies, which sold for fifty cents apiece." from A Time of Terror, quoted in Legends of America, see previous note. See also Lynching in the Heartland, chapter 6 which discusses the photograph in detail.
  24. According to the account in A Time of Terror. This is disputed by Madison, in Lynching in the Heartland (on pp 41-42), but supported by the notes to photo 32 in Without Sanctuary. Madison's position is also disputed by the Monroe H. Little review of the Madison book. Cynthia Carr, author of Our Town: A Heartland Lynching, a Haunted Town, and the Hidden History of White America discovered advertisements for local klan gatherings in Marion newspapers from 1930 during her research for the book, and interviewed subjects that believed the klan was still active at the time of the lynching.
  25. Holiday's autobiography credits her with co-authoring the song, but this PBS site credits the music as well as the words to Meeropol.
  26. According to the spartacus.schoolnet article and this PBS site.
  27. Color of Law
  28. Title 18, U.S.C., Section 241 - Conspiracy Against Rights
  30. Amnesty International | Working to Protect Human Rights
  31. 4. Background: The Black Struggle For Political Power: Major Forces in the Conflict, in The Killings in South Africa: The Role of the Security Forces and the Response of the State, Human Rights Watch, January 8, 1991. ISBN 0-929692-76-4. Accessed 6 November 2006.
  32. Row over 'mother of the nation' Winnie Mandela, The Guardian, January 27, 1989
  33. *Andre Béteille, "treating caste as a form of racism is politically mischievous and worse, scientifically nonsense since there is no discernible difference in the racial characteristics between Brahmins and Scheduled Castes, Race and caste by Andre Beteille *The perception of the caste system as a static and textual stratification has given way to the perception of the caste system as a more processual, empirical and contextual stratification. *Pakistani-American sociologist Ayesha Jalal ; "As for Hinduism, the hierarchical principles of the Brahmanical social order have always been contested from within Hindu society, suggesting that equality has been and continues to be both valued and practiced.", A. Jalal,Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: A Comparative and Historical Perspective (Contemporary South Asia), Cambridge University Press (May 26, 1995), ISBN 0521478626
  34. Yizhar Be'er, Dr. Saleh 'Abdel-Jawad, Collaborators in the Occupied Territories: Human Rights Abuses and Violations (Microsoft Word document), B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, January 1994. Accessed 14 September 2009. Also available as an RTF document, archived 15 July 2004 on the Internet Archive.
  35. Justin Huggler and Sa'id Ghazali, "Palestinian collaborators executed", The Independent, 24 October 2003, reproduced on Accessed 14 September 2009.
  36. Suzanne Goldenberg 'Spies' lynched as Zinni flies in, The Guardian, March 15, 2002. Accessed 14 September 2009.
  37. Chapter 3: Killings By Palestinians in Broken Lives — A year of intifada, Amnesty International, AI Index: MDE 15/083/2001, 13 November 2001. Accessed 14 September 2009.
  38. Martin Asser, Lynch mob's brutal attack, BBC News, 13 October 2000. Accessed 14 September 2009.

Books and articles

  • Allen, James (editor), Hilton Als, John Lewis, and Leon F. Litwack. Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America (Twin Palms Pub: 2000) ISBN 0-944092-69-1 accompanied by an online photographic survey of the history of lynchings in the United States
  • Bancroft, H. H., Popular Tribunals (2 vols., San Francisco, 1887)
  • Bernstein, Patricia, The First Waco Horror: The Lynching of Jesse Washington and the Rise of the NAACP, Texas A&M University Press (March, 2005), hardcover, ISBN 1-58544-416-2
  • Brundage, W. Fitzhugh, Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, (1993), ISBN 0-252-06345-7
  • Barry A. Crouch, "A Spirit of Lawlessness: White violence, Texas Blacks, 1865-1868," Journal of Social History 18 (Winter 1984): 217–26
  • Cutler, James E., Lynch Law (New York, 1905)
  • Dray, Philip, At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America, New York: Random House (2002). Hardcover ISBN 0-375-50324-2, softcover ISBN 0-375-75445-8
  • Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877. 119–23.
  • Finley, Keith M. Delaying the Dream: Southern Senators and the Fight Against Civil Rights, 1938-1965 (Baton Rouge, LSU Press, 2008).
  • Ginzburg, Ralph 100 Years Of Lynchings, Black Classic Press (1962, 1988) softcover, ISBN 0-933121-18-0
  • Ifill, Sherrilyn A., On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-first Century Beacon Press (2007) ISBN 978-0807009871 Law professor at University of Maryland reports on the lynchings of George Armwood and Matthew Williams in coastal Maryland in the 1930s; investigates how the lynchings implicated average white citizens, some of whom actively participated in the violence, while many others witnessed the lynchings but did nothing to stop them; provides concrete ideas to help communities heal.
  • Nevels, Cynthia Skove, Lynching to Belong: claiming Whiteness though racial violence, Texas A&M Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-58544-589-9
  • Stagg, J.C.A. "The Problem of Klan Violence: The South Carolina Upcountry, 1868-1871," Journal of American Studies 8 (December 1974): 303–18
  • Tolnay, Stewart E. and E.M. Beck, A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, (1995), ISBN 0-252-06413-5
  • Trelease, Allen W., White Terror: The Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy and Southern Reconstruction Harper & Row, 1979
  • Wells-Barnett, Ida B., 1900 Mob Rule in New Orleans Robert Charles and His Fight to Death, the Story of His Life, Burning Human Beings Alive, Other Lynching Statistics Gutenberg eBook
  • Wells-Barnett, Ida B., 1895 Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in all its Phases Gutenberg eBook
  • Wood, Joe, Ugly Water, St. Louis: Lulu (2006). Softcover ISBN 978-1-4116-2218-0
  • Amy Louise Wood, "They Never Witnessed Such a Melodrama", Southern Spaces, 27 April 2009.

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