EJI collaborated with renowned artist Molly Crabapple on this animated video, which unflinchingly explores America’s brutal history of lynching and racial terror. The video portrays the violent aftermath of the Civil War, when racial terror and lynching were used to create racial hierarchy, disenfranchisement, and oppression against African Americans despite emancipation.
Narrated by EJI Director Bryan Stevenson, the five-minute video illustrates the widespread violence and racial terror created by lynching and mass atrocities perpetrated against African Americans, frequently with the support of government officials. The threat of lynching forced millions of Black people to flee the American South to the urban North and West as refugees from violent racism during the first half of the 20th century.
EJI has documented over 4000 racial terror lynchings of Black men, women, and children, who were hanged, burned alive, shot, drowned, and beaten to death by white mobs between 1877 and 1950. Until EJI announced its plans earlier this year to build a national memorial commemorating the thousands of African American lynching victims during this era, very little public recognition of this period of racial terror was in evidence despite the presence of thousands of Confederate plaques, statues, and monuments across the American South.
“Our nation’s history of racial injustice casts a shadow across the American landscape,” Mr. Stevenson said. “This shadow cannot be lifted until we shine the light of truth on the destructive violence that shaped our nation, traumatized people of color, and compromised our commitment to the rule of law and to equal justice. We all must engage this history more honestly.”