Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New Study Reveals Data on Lynching

The extra-judicial practice of lynching in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is a subject of interest to many students of legal history and civil rights. But compiling the hard statistical data, the victims and the when and where of the lynchings that took place in the United States, as well as the context of these events, has been a major challenge and an ongoing effort of historians and other scholars. Today, a New York Times article described a brand new report, "Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror," produced by the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit organization based in Montgomery, Alabama, after five years of research.  The Report Summary is available here, and the full report is available upon request from the organization.

As the article explains, "efforts to count the number of lynchings in the country go back at least to 1882, when the The Chicago Tribune began publishing each January a list of all executions and lynching in the previous year." In 1995, sociology professors Stewart Tolnay and E. M. Beck compiled what may be the most accurate inventory to that time, based on previously published lists.  The book based on their inventory, A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930, is available at Axinn Library. Both the new report and the books and articles by Tolnay and Beck are important resources for research on this topic.      

Ernster, the Virtual Library Cat

No comments: