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In early , a seventeen-year-old black boy named Henry Smith was accused of killing a three-year-old white girl. He was met at the station on February 1, , by a mob of thousands of white people from across the state. Henry was placed on a carnival float and carried through the town to the county fairgrounds, where he was forced to mount a ten-foot-high platform. Henry was brutally tortured for nearly an hour in front of 10, people and then burned alive.

According to an investigation by anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells, Henry pleaded his innocence until the end. Less than thirty years later, Paris hosted a second gruesome lynching. In , brothers Irving and Herman Arthur worked on a white-owned farm where they suffered ongoing abuse. When the Arthurs decided to leave in search of better working conditions, the farm owners tried to stop them with gunfire and then alleged that the Arthurs had wounded them.

Soon after Irving and Herman were arrested and jailed, local whites began posting signs throughout town advertising their impending lynching. On July 6, , a mob of gathered to watch as both men were tied to a flagpole at the fairgrounds, tortured, and burned to death. A local sheriff involved in the case later declared the brothers had been guilty of no crime. Today, Paris is a small but vibrant and diverse city of 25, people, with no historical markers to document either lynching. A large Confederate memorial adorns the courthouse lawn—a site of racial unrest in the twenty-first century.

In , a twenty-four-year-old black man named Brandon McClelland was found dead by a roadside in Paris. An investigation determined he had been dragged behind or under a vehicle as far as seventy feet. Two white men who spent several hours with Mr. McClelland on the night he died were arrested after blood reportedly was found on the undercarriage of their truck. When the local prosecutor dropped all charges against the men in , citing a lack of evidence, racial tensions flared. Paris, Texas, is eaten up with racism.

Thousands watch as lynchers prepare to torture Henry Smith on a ten-foot-high platform at the county fairgrounds. Most lynchings involved the killing of one or more specific individuals, but some lynch mobs targeted entire black communities by forcing black people to witness lynchings and demanding that they leave the area or face a similar fate. When the men found Mr. Devert crossing a river with the girl in his arms, they shot him in the head and the girl drowned. Insisting that the entire black community needed to witness Mr.

The white men then rounded up all sixty African American residents and forced the men, women, and children to watch the corpse burn. These African Americans and eighty black people who worked at a local quarry were then told to leave the county within twenty-four hours. He was seized by a mob, forced to jump from an automobile with a noose around his neck, and shot times. The mob then threw Mr. At p.

Reign of Terror: The Forgotten Historic War by J. Elizabeth Kraft

They threw Mr. Rather, these lynchings were designed for broad impact—to send a message of domination, to instill fear, and sometimes to drive African Americans from the community altogether. From to , lynch mobs targeted African Americans who protested being treated as second-class citizens. African Americans throughout the South, individually and in organized groups, were demanding the economic and civil rights to which they were entitled.

In response, whites turned to lynching. The overseer pulled a gun, which Mr. Flemming wrestled away from him and fired in self-defense. A mob pursued and quickly caught him. Alerted of Mr. In Hernando, Mississippi, in , Reverend T. When white landowners learned that Reverend Allen was using his pulpit to preach to the black community about unionization, they formed a mob, seized him, shot him many times, and threw him into the Coldwater River.

The gang tied Mr. They took him to the jail in Selma, Alabama, where other inmates heard him being beaten and screaming. Whites used terrorism to relegate African Americans to a state of second-class citizenship and economic disadvantage that would last for generations after emancipation and create far-reaching consequences.

The data reveals telling trends across time and region, including that lynchings peaked between and See Figure 1. Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana had the highest absolute number of African American lynching victims during this period. See Table 1. Mississippi, Florida, and Arkansas had the highest per capita rates of lynching by total population, while Arkansas, Florida, and Mississippi had the highest per capita rates of lynching by African American population.

See Tables 2 and 3. The twenty-five counties with the highest rates of lynchings of African Americans during this era are located in eight of the twelve states studied: Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas, and Mississippi. The terror of lynching was not confined to a few outlier states. Racial terror cast a shadow of fear across the region. See Tables 4 and 5. Lynching outside of the Southern states differed from lynching within the South, largely in relation to the cultural and historical distinctions between the regions.

In addition to the documented lynchings committed in the South between and , EJI has documented more than racial terror lynchings of black people that took place in other parts of the United States during the same period. Though the numbers were lower, mirroring the lower concentration of black residents in these states, racial terror lynchings committed outside the South featured many of the same characteristics.

When black people moved and built communities outside the South in growing numbers during the lynching era, they were often targeted and violently terrorized in response to racialized economic competition, unproven allegations of crime, and violations of the racial order. As early as , anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells-Barnett gave a speech continuing her denouncement of Southern lynching and also noting the growing number of atrocities being committed in other regions.

EJI found the highest numbers of documented racial terror lynchings outside the South during the lynching era in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois, and those totals were largely fueled by acts of mass violence against entire black communities that left many people dead, property destroyed, and survivors traumatized.


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In early July , after several years of postwar migration had increased the black population of East St. Louis, Illinois, and created economic competition for white residents, white mobs in the city ambushed African American workers as they left factories during a shift change. Just a few years later, in , a black elevator operator named Dick Rowland was arrested in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after a misunderstanding led to rumors that he had attacked a white woman.

Though charges against Mr. Rowland were soon dropped and he was released, a white mob quickly gathered to lynch him. When the black community banded together to help the young man leave town, the mob indiscriminately attacked the prosperous local black residential and business district known as Greenwood. Over the next two days, the mob killed at least thirty-six black people, displaced many more, and destroyed the once vibrant community. No member of the mob was ever convicted. Racial terror lynchings outside the South were often brutal and brazen public spectacles. Though both men had alibis confirmed by their employer, a mob refused to wait for a trial.

Instead, the mob seized both men from jail, hanged them from Gottfried Tower near the town square, and burned and shot their corpses while a crowd of white men, women, and children watched. Members of the mob reportedly raped Ms. Nelson before hanging her and her son from a bridge over the Canadian River. On August 7, , a large white mob used tear gas, crowbars, and hammers to break into the Grant County Jail in Marion, Indiana, to seize and lynch three young black men who had been accused of murder and assault.

Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, both 19 years old, were severely beaten and hanged, while the third young man, year-old James Cameron, was badly beaten but not killed. Photographs of the brutal lynching were shared widely, featuring clear images of the crowd posing beneath the hanging corpses, but no one was ever prosecuted or convicted. Even in states with sparse black populations and very few documented racial terror lynchings, violent attacks terrorized small and vulnerable black communities.

After seizing the men from jail, where they were being held on charges of assault, the mob ignored the pleas of a local white clergyman to spare the young men, and hanged them from a light pole. In Omaha, Nebraska, in October , thousands of white people gathered to seize George Smith, a black man, from the local jail after he was accused of assault.

Though he had an alibi and most reports of the alleged crime were false, the mob beat Mr. Smith, dragged him through the streets with a rope around his neck, and then hanged him from telephone wires in front of a local opera house. Despite the severe physical injuries inflicted, the coroner concluded that Mr. More than twenty-five years later, another Omaha lynching led to death and destruction for black residents.

After a black man named Will Brown was accused of attempting to assault a white woman, a mob set the local courthouse on fire and pulled him from the jail. The mob beat Mr. Brown, hanged him from a telegraph post, riddled his body with bullets, and then dragged his burning corpse through the streets until it was mutilated beyond recognition.

Fragments of the rope used to hang Mr. Brown were sold for ten cents as souvenirs to white spectators. The lynching era was fueled by the movement to restore white supremacy and domination, but Northern and federal officials who failed to act as black people were terrorized and murdered enabled this campaign of racial terrorism. For more than six decades, as Southern whites used lynching to enforce a post-slavery system of racial dominance, white officials outside the South watched and did little.

Congress made efforts to pass federal anti-lynching bills throughout the lynching era, but Southern white representatives predictably and consistently protested so-called federal interference in local affairs. Very few white people were convicted of murder for lynching a black person in America during this period, and of all lynchings committed after , only 1 percent resulted in a lyncher being convicted of a criminal offense.

In November , journalist, activist, and anti-lynching crusader Ida B. I am not a Republican, because. Because they care no more for the Negro than the Democrats do, and because even now, and since their defeat last November, the Republican head and the New York Republican Convention are giving vent to utterances and passing resolutions recommending State rights, and the taking from the Negro—for the reason his vote is not counted, but represented in the Electoral College, that they claim his gratitude for giving—the ballot.

The dominant political narrative blamed lynching on its victims, insisting that brutal mob violence was the only appropriate response to the growing scourge of black men raping white women. Such theories were used to legitimate and reinforce racial hierarchy. By the start of the twentieth century, national leaders had learned to profitably employ popular white supremacist views and pro-lynching rhetoric. With fading voting power and few allies in either national political party, African Americans undertook their own efforts to combat the terror of lynching through grassroots activism.

Black people targeted members of the white lynch mobs for economic retaliation by boycotting their businesses, refusing to work for them, and setting fire to their property. Protestors demand that President Truman take action against lynching, Black anti-lynching activists like journalists Ida B.

Wells and T. Thomas Fortune and Tuskegee sociologist Monroe Work harnessed the growing power of the black press. In February , a white mob in Lake City, South Carolina, set fire to the home of the Baker family and riddled it with gunshots, killing Frazier Baker and his infant daughter, Julia, and leaving his wife and five surviving children wounded and traumatized.

Baker, a black man, had aroused the hatred of the predominately white community when President William McKinley appointed him to the position of local postmaster. After efforts to have Baker removed from the post failed, local whites resorted to mob violence. Despite ample evidence, an all-white jury refused to convict any of the defendants. Though she ultimately lost the case, the effort foreshadowed her lifelong fight against racial injustice. An avid reader and writer, Ms.

Wells became a popular columnist in black newspapers while in Memphis, eventually rising to editor and part owner of the local Free Speech and Headlight. More than African Americans heeded the call, but Ms. Wells stayed to promote the movement she had begun. In May , she published another editorial that challenged the claim that lynching was necessary to protect white womanhood. Wells relocated to New York, where she continued her anti-lynching efforts by writing for the New York Age , publishing several anti-lynching pamphlets, and embarking on a speaking tour through the Northern states and Britain, where she decried the atrocities of lynching and urged federal and international intervention.

Wells became Mrs. Wells-Barnett and raised five children while collaborating with leaders like Frederick Douglass and W. In the preface to her pamphlet, Southern Horrors , Ida B. If this work can contribute in any way toward proving this, and at the same time arouse the conscience of the American people to a demand for justice to every citizen, and punishment by law for the lawless, I shall feel I have done my race a service. Other considerations are of minor importance. The NAACP formed in direct response to racial attacks in Springfield, Illinois, in —an outbreak of violence that shocked Northerners and demonstrated that lynching was not only a Southern phenomenon.

By , chapters boasted 91, members nationwide. The NAACP launched a renewed campaign for federal anti-lynching legislation that succeeded in winning passage of the Dyer anti-lynching bill in the House of Representatives on January 26, , by a vote of By , the ASWPL claimed 40, supporters, and by , Gallup polls showed overwhelming white support for anti-lynching legislation. When national lynching rates declined markedly in the s, NAACP Executive Secretary Walter White attributed the trend to these shifts in the public discourse and to anti-lynching activism, as well as to the Great Migration.

Within a single decade, the black populations of Georgia and South Carolina declined by 22 percent and 24 percent, respectively. Black flight in the face of violent racial terrorism was not a new or mysterious Southern phenomenon. In a brutal environment of racial subordination and terror, faced with the constant threat of harm, close to six million black Americans fled the South between and Many left behind their homes, families, and employment after a lynching or near-lynching rendered home too unsafe a place to remain.

Many shared the experience of George Starling, a young black man working in the orange groves of Eustis, Florida, in , who fled for his life after word spread that he was seeking better working conditions. And there would be no protecting him if he stayed. Though the growth of Northern cities and wartime industrial work increased the volume of black movement out of the South, the terror of lynching and other racial violence had long made the South a tenuous homeland for black Americans.

In each successive decade of the Great Migration, the number of lynchings in the South declined as black departures from the region rose. Lynching and racial violence in border states of the South and Southwest from to targeted Mexican nationals and Mexican Americans, who were shot en masse and lynched by mobs that often included Texas Rangers and other law enforcement officials. Researchers estimate that hundreds of Mexican nationals and Mexican Americans were lynched in the South and Southwest during this period, and have identified lynchings in Texas alone.

Scholars have argued that these lynchings in border states served to establish white economic, political, and social dominance in the border areas acquired by the United States following the war with Mexico. Violence forced Mexican residents of territory newly claimed by the United States to flee their homes, allowing whites to seize their land and natural resources.

Martin Luther King Jr. When the era of racial terror and widespread lynching ended in the mid-twentieth century, it left behind a nation and an American South fundamentally altered by decades of systematic community-based violence against black Americans. The effects of the lynching era echoed through the latter half of the twentieth century. African Americans continued to face violent intimidation when they transgressed social boundaries or asserted their civil rights, and the criminal justice system continued to target people of color and victimize African Americans.

These legacies have yet to be confronted. After the rate of lynchings abated, the central feature of the era of racial terror—violence against black Americans—took new forms.


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The social forces and racial animus that made lynching a frequent occurrence and constant threat in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries remained deeply rooted in American culture, and violent intimidation continued to be used to preserve social control and white supremacy. African Americans in the South faced violence, threats, and intimidation in myriad areas of daily life, with no protection from the justice system. Black Southerners who survived the lynching era remained subject to the established legal system of racial apartheid known as Jim Crow. As organized resistance to this racial caste system began to swell in the early s, black demonstrators were met with violent opposition from white police officers and community members.

Black activists protesting racial segregation and disenfranchisement through boycotts, sit-ins, voter registration drives, and mass marches consistently faced physical attacks, riots, and bombings from whites. As a leader of the nonviolent protest movement, Reverend Dr. Police attacked demonstrators during highly publicized events like Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama, in Even black children engaging in peaceful demonstrations were at great risk of harm and death.

In , four young girls were killed when the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed, and that year, more than black children protesting racial segregation in the city were arrested, blasted with fire hoses, clubbed by police, and attacked by police dogs. Closely mirroring the era of lynching, police in Mississippi facilitated the extrajudicial murders of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner in by delivering the men to a white mob after detaining them for an alleged traffic violation. A mob of Ku Klux Klansmen, who had gathered during the several hours the three young men were held in jail, was ready and waiting to seize and murder them upon release.

McCollum had been in the county jail since the previous Saturday for wounding a local constable during an arrest. The town of Sheridan remained a hostile environment for African Americans in the following decades, but some found work at the local sawmill and built a small, resilient black community. Jack Williams, owner of the local sawmill and landlord for most of its employees, then approached black families living on his property and demanded that they let him move their wooden shack homes to Malvern, twenty miles to the west, or he would evict them and burn their homes to the ground.

Just before they left town, they watched a bulldozer dig a large hole and push the entire school into the ground, then cover it up, wiping out all evidence of its existence. The town remained completely white for decades, and its public schools did not desegregate until , when the school districts of two small interracial communities nearby consolidated with the larger district.

Lynching and racial terror profoundly compromised the criminal justice system. Extrajudicial mob violence operated hand-in-hand with legal execution as a means of exercising lethal social control over the black population. Southern courts were deeply embedded in the exploitation of black workers in the South long after the formal abolition of slavery. Lynching also directly fostered the racialization of criminality. Whites defended vigilante violence aimed at black people as a necessary tactic of self-preservation to protect property, families, and the Southern way of life from dangerous black criminals.

In other cases, white mobs justified lynching as a preemptive strike against the threat of black violent crime. Decades of racial terror in the American South reflected and reinforced a view that African Americans were dangerous criminals who posed a threat to innocent white citizens. America has never addressed the effects of racial violence, the criminalization of African Americans, and the critical role these phenomena have played in shaping the American criminal justice system, particularly in the South.

The Civil Rights Act of , a signature legal achievement of the civil rights movement, contains provisions designed to eliminate discrimination in voting, education, and employment, but it does not address discrimination in criminal justice. Though the most insidious tool of racial subordination throughout the era of racial terror and its aftermath, the criminal justice system remains the institution in American life least impacted by the civil rights movement.

The unprecedented level of mass incarceration in America today is a contemporary manifestation of these past distortions and abuses that continues to limit the opportunities of our nation's most vulnerable. Southern legislatures shifted to capital punishment so that legal and ostensibly unbiased court proceedings could serve the same purpose as vigilante violence: satisfying the lust for revenge.

White mobs converged outside the courtroom during the trial to demand that the accused be executed. Represented by incompetent lawyers, the nine were convicted by all-white, all male juries within two days, and all but the youngest were sentenced to death. After all, they did not lynch the accused; they gave them a trial. Northern states had abolished public executions by , but some Southern states authorized the practice until In Sumterville, Florida, in , a black man named Henry Wilson was convicted of murder in a trial that lasted just two hours and forty minutes.

To mollify the mob of armed whites that filled the courtroom, the judge promised the death sentence would be carried out by public hanging, despite state law prohibiting public executions. James Keaton During a confrontation with a group of white men, James Keaton, a year old black man, shot and killed a white man.

Keaton was arrested and an all-male, all-white jury sentenced him to death. By , court-ordered executions outpaced lynchings in the former slave states for the first time. Southern opponents decried the decision and immediately proposed new death penalty statutes. The new death penalty statutes continued to result in racial imbalance, and constitutional challenges persisted.

In the case of McCleskey v. Kemp , the Supreme Court considered statistical evidence demonstrating that Georgia decisionmakers were more than four times as likely to impose death for the killing of a white person than a black person. Race remains a significant factor in capital sentencing. In Houston County, Alabama, prosecutors have excluded 80 percent of qualified African Americans from juries in death penalty cases.

More than eight in ten American lynchings between and occurred in the South, and more than eight in ten of the nearly legal executions carried out in this country since have been in the South. In addition, lynching—and other forms of racial terrorism—inflicted deep traumatic and psychological wounds on survivors, witnesses, family members, and the entire African American community. Whites who participated in or witnessed gruesome lynchings and socialized their children in this culture of violence also were psychologically damaged.

Establishing monuments and memorials to commemorate lynching has the power to end the silence and inaction that have compounded this psychosocial trauma and to begin the process of recovery. In , Sherrilyn A. Ifill outlined the critical need for memorializing the history of lynching in this country.

(D-2) The Standardization of Terror

Her powerful book persuasively made the case for why public memorials on lynching should be an American priority. Honoring civil rights activists and embracing their successes is appropriate and due, but when they are not accompanied by meaningful engagement with the difficult history of systematic violence perpetrated against black Americans for decades after slavery, such celebrations risk painting an incomplete and distorted picture. No prominent monument or memorial exists to commemorate the thousands of African Americans who were lynched during the American era of racial terrorism.

Of the Southern lynchings documented in this report, the overwhelming majority took place on sites that remain unmarked and unrecognized. In contrast, the landscape of the South is cluttered with plaques, statues, and monuments that record, celebrate, and lionize generations of American defenders of white supremacy, including countless leaders of the Confederate war effort and white public officials and private citizens who perpetrated violent crimes against black citizens during the era of racial terror. The era of racial terror calls for serious and informed reflection as well as public acknowledgment of the lives lost.

Meaningful public accountability is critical to bring the cycle of racial violence to a close. Creating a formal space to memorialize mass violence can help to establish trust between communities and build faith in government institutions. Only by telling the truth about the age of racial terror and collectively reflecting on this period and its legacy can we hope that our present-day conversations about racial exclusion and inequality — and any policies designed to address these issues — will be accurate, thoughtful, and informed.

War and terrorism

EJI and community leaders dedicated this public marker about lynching in Letohatchee, Alabama. Litwack explains. It is the story of slow, methodical, sadistic, often highly inventive forms of torture and mutilation. Each lynching or near-lynching instilled an overwhelming sense of fear and terror in African Americans. Black survivors most strictly observed racial boundaries in the aftermath of a lynching. This culture of fear created an environment in which African Americans who witnessed lynchings or lost family or friends to racial violence were afraid to discuss their experiences and risked violent reprisals if they dared to openly share what they had seen.

Their trauma was intensified by a culture of silence about racial violence that grew out of the same systemic terror that produced racial violence. Millions of black Americans left the South between and in response to the instability and threat of violence that racial terror created in the region. These largely involuntary relocations compounded the trauma suffered by terror survivors, even as leaving the South improved their physical safety.

African American migrants were less terrorized in their new cities and towns, but they were not entirely welcomed. Institutional inequality, continued marginalization, and unaddressed histories of trauma have created a unique legacy of chronic generational poverty, persistent urban distress, debilitating violence, and limited educational opportunities.

The psychological harm inflicted by the era of terror lynching extends to the millions of white men, women, and children who instigated, attended, celebrated, and internalized these horrific spectacles of collective violence. As attendees and participants in lynchings, Southern white children were taught to accept and embrace traumatic violence and the racist narratives underlying it. At one Kentucky lynching, young white children between six and ten years old brought wood and tended to the fire in which the victim was burned. An African American woman who worked for a white family in Alabama during the lynching era observed that lynching messages were received early and burrowed deep.

In , after a young white boy in North Carolina was injured by his eleven-year-old white playmate who hung him from a noose fastened to a nail during a lynching game, the mother of the eleven-year-old refused to reprimand her son for his role in the mock lynching. White women and girls played a central role as accusers and thus instigators of lynchings. In the lynchings committed in reaction to rape accusations, white adolescent girls accounted for more than half of the accusers.

Narratives emerged after the lynching era that blamed lynchings on a minority of Southern white extremists, but reports of the day clearly demonstrate that participation in lynching was widespread among Southern whites. Officials in Owensboro, Kentucky, carry out a public execution in Generations of white people were raised in communities where myths of racial superiority dominated and went largely unchallenged. Many of those people hold powerful positions today. There has been no significant effort to confront white Southerners with the damage done by lynching or to facilitate recovery, and we live with the lingering legacies of that inaction.

A town of less than ten thousand people located in the Florida Panhandle, Marianna is the seat of Jackson County and the site of a Civil War clash known as the Battle of Marianna. On October 19, , Claude Neal, a twenty-three-year-old black farmhand, was arrested for the murder of Lola Cannady, a young white woman whose body had been discovered just hours before. Five days later, six white men seized Neal from an Alabama jail where he had been moved for safekeeping and returned him to Jackson County, where they killed him in the woods before presenting his corpse to the Cannady family and a gathered mob.

The corpse was castrated, the fingers and toes amputated, the skin burned with hot irons; the mob then drove over it with cars, shot it at least eighteen times, and hung it from a tree on the courthouse lawn, where they again shot at it and took pieces of skin as souvenirs. When the sheriff cut the body down and refused to rehang it, an angry mob rioted, burning the homes of Mr. The murder and subsequent attacks were widely reported in local and national newspapers, and it is a well-known twentieth century example of an especially gruesome lynching.

In , researchers conducting an excavation project uncovered the remains of fifty-five boys in the school cemetery, which was twenty-four more than were documented in official records. Richard Huntly, a sixty-seven-year-old black man sent to the school at age eleven, recalled that white boys were given vocational work while he and other black boys were made to work in the field planting and picking crops for state profit.

In , Marianna celebrated the th anniversary of the Battle of Marianna by honoring the memories of Confederate soldiers and officers who fought and died to preserve slavery and the white supremacist ideologies on which slavery was built. Like mass rapes in the former Yugoslavia, terrorism against political dissidents in Argentina, and the torture and violent repression of black South Africans under the apartheid regime, Terror lynchings in the American South were not isolated hate crimes committed by rogue vigilantes.

Lynching was targeted racial violence at the core of a systematic campaign of terror perpetrated in furtherance of an unjust social order. Lynchings were rituals of collective violence that served as highly effective tools to reinforce the institution and philosophy of white racial superiority. The United States government compounded the psychological harm experienced by African Americans by permitting the torture and murder of black citizens.

In , a black man named Eli Pigot was arrested in Brookhaven, Mississippi, on allegations of raping a white woman. Before trial commenced, the judge promised the public that lynching Mr. Pigot was unnecessary because he would plead guilty and face swift execution. But when Mr. Pigot was returned to town by train, hundreds of local whites who had gathered at the station seized and hung him from a tree near the courthouse. On August 13, , also in Brookhaven, Mississippi, a white man shot and killed Lamar Smith, a sixty-three-year-old black voting rights activist, in broad daylight and in front of several witnesses on the courthouse lawn.

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Smith died steps from the site where Eli Pigot was lynched less than fifty years earlier. Erecting monuments and memorials to commemorate lynching can begin to correct our distorted national narrative about this period of racial terror in American history while directly addressing the harms borne by the African American community, particularly survivors who lived through the lynching era. Scholars who have studied the impact of human rights abuses emphasize that speaking out about victimization can have a significant healing impact on survivors of genocide, mass violence, and other harms.

Public acknowledgment and commemoration of mass violence is essential not only for victims and survivors, but also for perpetrators and bystanders who suffer from trauma and damage related to their participation in systematic violence and dehumanization. Public commemoration plays a significant role in prompting community-wide reconciliation. The Vietnam War Memorial, for example, is a powerful space for Americans and others to appreciate the historical context in which the war was fought and to grapple with the harm and death it caused.

The importance of collective memory is the thread that connects national efforts to recover from human rights crises in countries and communites in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. One key lesson has emerged: survivors, witnesses, and all members of the affected community need to know that society has acknowledged what happened to the victims. Through a criminal tribunal, truth commission, or reparations project, suffering must be engaged, heard, recognized, and remembered before a society can recover from mass violence.

EJI staff and community members dedicate three markers about the slave trade in Montgomery, Bernard Troncale.

Night Patrols

Lynching in America was a form of terrorism that has contributed to a legacy of racial inequality that our nation must address more directly and concretely than we have to date. The trauma and anguish that lynching and racial violence created in this country continues to haunt us and to contaminate race relations and our criminal justice system in too many places across this country.

Important work can and must be done to speak truthfully about this difficult history so that recovery and reconciliation can be achieved. We can address our painful past by acknowledging it and embracing monuments, memorials, and markers that are designed to facilitate important conversations. Education must be accompanied by acts of reconciliation, which are needed to create communities where devastating acts of racial bigotry and legacies of racial injustice can be overcome.

This report is written, researched, designed, and produced by the staff of the Equal Justice Initiative. All of our lawyers, law fellows, justice fellows, interns, students, and staff have spent an enormous amount of time researching, investigating, documenting, and analyzing lynchings over the last six years. I would like to specially acknowledge Jennifer Taylor for critical writing, research, and editing; Andrew Childers for writing, research, and analysis of data that allowed us to document the prevalence of lynching in states and counties; John Dalton for coordination of research teams, research, and writing; Aaryn Urell for writing, editing, layout, and production work; Sia Sanneh for writing, research, editing, and coordination of our monument research; Josh Cannon for research; Noam Biale for research and writing; and Bethany Young for research and writing.

Special thanks is also owed to Ian Eppler and Kiara Boone for writing, research, and photo editing for the report and to Imani Lewis for photo research. Maya Angelou, On the Pulse of Morning. During and after the Civil War, many Northerners moved to Southern states looking for economic opportunity and to assist formerly enslaved black people. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. Jefferson Long Library of Congress. John L.

National Archives. The French Revolution started out bloody, and it didn't take long for things to become utterly gruesome. In they, along with many other members of the nobility, were executed.

Sanitising the Suffragettes

During the next seven years, the nation underwent a series of coups, wars, famines, and counterrevolutions. During the so-called "Reign of Terror," ironically, Maximilien de Robespierre, who was in charge of the Committee of Public Safety, sent as many as 40, people to the guillotine. He believed that swift and brutal justice would produce virtue among France's citizens—a belief shared by the Les Miz character of Inspector Javert. While the new republic struggled through what could euphemistically be called growing pains, a young general named Napoleon Bonaparte ravaged Italy, Egypt, and other countries.

When he and his forces returned to Paris, he and other leaders staged a coup, and Napoleon became First Consul of France. From until he bore the title of Emperor of France. After losing in the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon was exiled to the island of St.


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  • Les Miserables' s opening year of is near the beginning of the new king's reign. Despite all of the revolutions and changing political parties, the lower classes still have little voice in society. The story reveals their harsh life, as exemplified by the tragedy of Fantine, a young woman who is fired from her factory job after it is discovered that she bore a child Cosette out of wedlock. After losing her position, Fantine is forced to sell her personal belongings, her hair, and even her teeth, so that she can send money to her daughter.

    Ultimately, Fantine becomes a prostitute, falling to the lowest rung of society. Character Jean Valjean promises the dying Fantine that he will protect her daughter. He adopts Cosette, paying off her greedy, cruel caretakers, Monsieur and Madame Thenadier. Fifteen years pass peacefully for Valjean and Cosette as they hide in an abbey. The new king is soon exiled in during the July Revolution, also known as the Second French Revolution. Valjean risks his life by joining the rebellion in order to save Marius.

    Marius and his friends represent the sentiments expressed by many freethinkers in Paris. They wanted to reject the monarchy and return France to a republic once more. He was a general under Napoleon who became a member of France's parliament. He was also sympathetic to the republican ideologies. When Lamarque lay dying of cholera, many people believed that the government had poisoned public wells, resulting in the deaths of popular political figures. Enjolras, the leader of The Friends of the ABC, knows that Lamarque's death may serve as an important catalyst to their revolution.

    As depicted in the novel and musical, the June Rebellion did not end well for the rebels. They expected that the people would support their cause; however, they soon realized that no reinforcements would be joining them. According to historian Matt Boughton, both sides suffered casualties: " killed and wounded on both sides during the course of the struggle. As Marius describes it, "Empty chairs at empty tables, where my friends sing no more Table of Contents Expand. The French Revolution: Storming the Bastille.