Study reassesses history of lynching in American South, calls for monuments and memorials

by Vinnie Rotondaro

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Earlier this week, a Montgomery, AL group called the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)  issued a report titled “Lynching in America."

The report is the second in a series "that examines the trajectory of American history from slavery to mass incarceration." It reassesses the number of historical lynchings in the American South, bumping the number up by more than 700.

In total, EJI documents 3959 recorded incidences taking place between 1877-1950 in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. 

The report suggests that the legacy of lynching hasn’t been adequately addressed in America and says that its history continues to “[complicate] contemporary issues of race, punishment, crime, and justice.” 

It called the phenomenon of racial lynching a form of "terrorism," that "profoundly impacted race relations in America and shaped the geographic, political, social, and economic conditions of African Americans in ways that are still evident today."

The report suggests one manner of reconciliation: erecting monuments and memorials to victims of racial lynching. It says that monuments dedicated to lynching victims are few and far between.

The full report can be read here

[Vinnie Rotondaro is NCR national correspondent. His email addresss is]

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