Dozens of local, regional, national, and international media outlets covered last week’s release of EJI’s newest report,Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, prompting public conversations about racial history that EJI believes are necessary to begin a process of truth and reconciliation in this country.
Lynching in America makes the case that lynching of African Americans was terrorism, a widely supported phenomenon used to enforce racial subordination and segregation that was even more pervasive than previously known. It explores the ways in which lynching profoundly impacted race relations in this country and shaped the contemporary geographic, political, social, and economic conditions of African Americans. Mass incarceration, racially biased capital punishment, excessive sentencing, disproportionate sentencing of racial minorities, and police abuse of people of color reveal problems in American society today that were shaped by the terror era.
Dozens of newspapers around the country covered the release of the report. Many writers emphasized the importance of acknowledging racial terrorism and identified the absence of public memorials about lynching as a powerful statement about our failure to value African American lives. Editorial boards across the country agreed that, as the New York Times put it, “this history needs to be properly commemorated and more widely discussed before the United States can fully understand the causes and origins of the racial injustice that hobbles the country to this day.”
Hundreds of individuals responded to the report, which sparked a great deal of reflection and discussion on social media. Many people shared how the terror of lynching and the failure to acknowledge it has impacted their families and communities. One writer in Louisiana wrote:
“In 1994, on his deathbed, my grandfather confessed to my parents that he had been part of a lynch mob that had killed a Black man for raping a white woman. I don’t know when this was–probably the late 1930s or 1940s. The sheriff had called the white men together to do the deed. My grandfather helped build the gallows. The rape victim confessed shortly thereafter that the Black man had been not her rapist, but her lover. My grandfather carried this guilt all his life. Of course he never had to answer for what he did. None of them did.
I wish I knew the name of that lynched man, if only so I could find out what happened to the family that he left behind. The ignorance among white people here of my generation (I’m 48) about all that came before us in terms of racial conflict is near total. Nobody talks about it. Ever.”
- Atlanta Black Star: New Report Compiles A Devastating Count of Nearly 4,000 Lynchings of Black People in the US, Showing This Form of White Terrorism Had Profound Impact on American History
- Atlanta Daily World: Nearly 4,000 Victims In Over 73 Years Of “Racial Terror Lynchings” In Jim Crow South
- Black Enterprise: 20th Century Lynchings Still Costing Black Millions – the Economic Legacy of Terror
- Bustle: History Of Lynching In The South Offers The United States An Opportunity to Talk About Its Uncomfortable Past
- Centre for Research on Globalization: Lynching in the United States – Violent History of National Oppression
- Democracy Now: As Study Finds 4,000 Lynchings in Jim Crow South, Will U.S. Address Legacy of Racial Terrorism?
- Daily Kos: Report on Lynching in the US Shows Historical Numbers, Like Killings by Police, are Underreported
- Daily Mail: Jim Crow Lynchings Were More Common Than Thought with New Report Adding 700 More Murdered African Americans to Total of Nearly 4000
- Fayetteville Observer: Four-Year Project Records History of Racial Lynchings; Includes Cape Fear Region Incidents
- Independent Florida Alligator (University of Florida) Editorial: Past Lynchings Are Still Part of our Present
- International Business Times: Black History Month 2015: Racial Justice Group Plans To Mark Thousands Of Sites Where Blacks Were Hanged
- National Catholic Reporter: Study Reassesses History of Lynching in American South, Calls for Monuments and Memorials
- New Times Broward-Palm Beach: Florida Lynched More Black People Per Capita Than Any Other State, According to Report
- Northstar News Today: Report: Nearly 4,000 African Americans Were Lynched in Acts of Terror by Whites
- Quartz: Why don’t Americans realize ISIL executions look awfully like the thousands of lynchings that happened on their soil?
- Raw Story: Racial Terrorism in America – Group Wants to Honor 4000 Lynching Victims with Historical Markers
- Time Warner Cable News, Charlotte: New Report Documents Nearly 4000 Lynchings in the South, 102 in North Carolina