The history of lynching in AmericaHistorians estimate over 3500 deaths by lynching    1. Although race was at the center, ...
Why are specific people selected for lynching?    1.   Being too saucy, etc.    2. Suspected of crimes    3. Related to ac...
e. Usually naked with erotic overtones            f.   Selection of site was deliberate-scene of the crime, outside of the...
i.   Lynching was more effective than Jim Crow because it sent a reminder to the entire race about keeping     away from w...
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The history of lynching in america

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The history of lynching in america

  1. 1. The history of lynching in AmericaHistorians estimate over 3500 deaths by lynching 1. Although race was at the center, not all lynching victims were black 2. Dates back to the American Revolution but really takes off after the Civil WarAmerica 1865-1900-complex system of white supremacy 1. Legal aspects-deny the 14th amendment, no blacks on juries, unequal justice 2. Social mechanisms-defacto segregation-not by law, just by practice and custom 3. Rules for the color line-rules said that African Americans had to control themselves a. Not look whites in the eye b. Give way on the sidewalk c. Come in the back door d. No interracial sex or touching e. No comments to white women 4. Political mechanism-disenfranchised, concerted effort to prevent blacks from voting a. Literacy tests b. Grandfather clauses c. Poll taxes d. Intimidation by KKK or White League 5. Economic mechanism-sharecropping and debt peonage, work your land and pay off your debt when the harvest comes, you are paid in crops that you must sell or barterPatterns of a Mob/Characteristics of Lynching 1. Extra-legal-outside of the law 2. Groups of 3 or more 3. Grotesque acts of murder-hanging, mutilation and dismemberment, body riddled with bullets, burned alive, dragged to death 4. Motivated by ideas of justice, race, and tradition 5. Lynching is not the same thing as capital punishment, it is not just an execution that is held outside 6. The victim never gets a trial and the executioner is not an agent of justice 7. By 1882-most public executions have been outlawed
  2. 2. Why are specific people selected for lynching? 1. Being too saucy, etc. 2. Suspected of crimes 3. Related to actual suspectCulture of Lynching is very specific 1. Accusation of a crime a. Often no rape, either consensual and need to save face or hide pregnancy, extra paranoid about black men and sudden movement could lead to accusation b. Look for link to any blacks in the area because any black man could be held responsible c. Character of the woman impacted this-upper class woman meant lynching, lower class meant private lynching d. Only 30% of men lynched were accused of rape, more likely to be business owners, voters, overly confident 2. Newspaper story to get the word out 3. Recruitment of people to help with the rounding up and lynching of the accused a. Self appointed posse of men would be forced to take the law into their own hands b. Spontaneous, could be family members, law abiding citizens c. Travel and send invitations to invite others d. Not kept a secret from the law or the public 4. Hunt for the accused a. Dual pursuit by law enforcement and lynch party b. Went on for days, often used tracking dogs c. Grab people out of their homes d. Greater will to capture subject than the sheriff but would demand that the sheriff take them in 5. Festivities at the lynching a. Affront to real authority-break into sheriff’s office and take suspect or threaten the sheriff until he released the suspect b. Parade through the town with the suspect c. Hanged from a tree d. In view of the court house
  3. 3. e. Usually naked with erotic overtones f. Selection of site was deliberate-scene of the crime, outside of the courthouse, near water, near church, etc. g. Castration or Mutilation of the body to show dehumanization, 1/3 of victims in Georgia were castrated h. Strip away your sexuality and manhood i. Torture was prolonged and sadistic-slow burning, etc. overkill j. Send message to all black men to reinforce the social code k. Charred beyond recognition, no sympathy, contempt for the black body l. Bodies often staged and dressed up after, top hat, painted face, props, obscene, ridiculous, light hearted m. Public display of the body as a warning, often on a light pole for a week or two 6. The taking of souvenirs a. Trophies for people, grotesque sketches in the paper, postcards sent through the mail, scrapbooks to remember the event, pieces of clothing taken home as evidence, parts of the bodies kept as a proof of attendance b. Memorialize the event with professional photographers who would sell photos and postcards, became part of the historical memory, pics included spectators and victimsLynching is justified in several ways 1. Maintain the social order with whites as superior and supreme 2. Protect white womanhood a. Myth of the black man as rapist, would degenerate into a wild beast and attack white women b. Needed strong white society to keep him away from white women c. White men extra paranoid about black men even touching white womenj d. Expectation of white women was that they were pure, chaste, virginal, not spoken to in a sexual manner if they were upper class women, e. Black men went out of their way to avoid contact with any white women for fear of being charged or accused f. White women were assumed to have been forced if a relationship was uncovered, white men could not understand why a white woman would willing engage in a physical relationship with a black man g. White men are defined by their ability to check the animalistic nature of black men h. Jim Crow=segregation=prevention of miscegenation
  4. 4. i. Lynching was more effective than Jim Crow because it sent a reminder to the entire race about keeping away from white womenj. Lynching justified as a form of chivalry and code of honor to protect home/family/community honor

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