Lynching

Lynching is the execution of an offender by a mob without due process of law. It is thought that the word is derived from a Virginian named Lynch, who during the American Revolution sometimes led a small organization that dealt swift justice to desperadoes and Tories. In frontier conditions, when regular law enforcement was either weak or lacking, lynching served as a substitute method of social control. In the South, however, lynching turned into the traditional method of summary execution, primarily when the offense was by a black person against a white.

A compilation made at Tuskegee Institute showed that between 1882 and 1936 there were 4672 people lynched in the United States, of whom 3383 were black and 1289 were white. Only the six New England states were free from lynchings during this period.

Lynchings became less frequent as the 20th century proceeded, having dropped sharply by the late 1930`s, by which time they were almost entirely confined to the South. Since local laws regarding lynchings were ineffective and 99% of lynchings resulted in no arrests, the federal government passed anti-lynching laws. Since World War II, lynching has died out in the United States.

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Coatesville and the Lynching of Zachariah Walker by Dennis B. Downey and Raymond M. Hyser.
On a warm August night in 1911, Zachariah Walker was lynchedóburned aliveóby an angry mob on the outskirts of Coatesville, a prosperous Pennsylvania s...
At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America by Philip Dray.
This extraordinary account of lynching in America, by acclaimed civil rights historian Philip Dray, shines a clear, bright light on American historyís...
All on Fire: William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolition of Slavery by Henry Mayer.
Born in poverty, and self-educated while working in a print shop, William Lloyd Garrison was one of the United States' greatest crusading editors, put...
Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy by Mary L. Dudziak.
In 1958, an African-American handyman named Jimmy Wilson was sentenced to die in Alabama for stealing two dollars. Shocking as this sentence was, it w...
Savage Peace: Hope and Fear in America, 1919 by Ann Hagedorn.
Written with the sweep of an epic novel and grounded in extensive research into contemporary documents, Savage Peace is a striking portrait of America...
Freedom's Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970 by Lynne Olson.
Although men like Martin Luther King Jr. and Stokely Carmichael grabbed the headlines, women provided not just the backbone but frequently the leaders...