EJI’s Report on Lynching Continues to Generate Conversation About Legacy of Racial Terror


EJI’s report Lynching in America continues to generate conversation across the country and globally about the legacy of decades of terrorism and racial subordination most dramatically evidenced by lynching.

EJI reported that racial terror lynching was much more prevalent than previously reported, documenting nearly 4000 lynchings of African Americans in twelve Southern states between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and 1950.

Many community organizations have contacted EJI to learn more about the history of lynching in their local communities. EJI’s report described the astonishing absence of any effort to acknowledge, discuss, or address lynching, and noted that most communities do not actively or visibly recognize how their race relations were shaped by terror lynching. Dozens of communities now are working to remedy that, and to begin a process of truth and reconciliation by publicly acknowledging and commemorating mass violence.

Journalists and educators are using EJI’s report to reflect on how best to teach the legacy of racial terrorism. For example, the New York Times Learning Network blog recently juxtaposed EJI’s report with the canonical novel To Kill a Mockingbird to “situate[] the novel in its historical context and also raise[] important questions about race, justice and memory in our society today.”

Since February a hundred editorials, news articles, op-eds, radio and television programs have used Lynching in America to inform, deepen, and expand a national and international conversation about how lynching shaped the geographic, political, social, and economic conditions of African Americans and reinforced a legacy of racial inequality that has never been adequately addressed, but is now being confronted in communities across the country.