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At The Hands Of Persons Unknown

Author: Philip Dray
Publisher: Modern Library
ISBN: 0307430669
Size: 48.14 MB
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It is easy to shrink from our country’s brutal history of lynching. Lynching is called the last great skeleton in our nation’s closet: It terrorized all of black America, claimed thousands upon thousands of victims in the decades between the 1880s and the Second World War, and leaves invisible but deep scars to this day. The cost of pushing lynching into the shadows, however—misremembering it as isolated acts perpetrated by bigots on society’s fringes—is insupportably high: Until we understand how pervasive and socially accepted the practice was—and, more important, why this was so—it will haunt all efforts at racial reconciliation. “I could not suppress the thought,” James Baldwin once recalled of seeing the red clay hills of Georgia on his first trip to the South, “that this earth had acquired its color from the blood that had dripped down from these trees.” Throughout America, not just in the South, blacks accused of a crime—or merely of violating social or racial customs—were hunted by mobs, abducted from jails, and given summary “justice” in blatant defiance of all guarantees of due process under law. Men and women were shot, hanged, tortured, and burned, often in sadistic, picnic-like “spectacle lynchings” involving thousands of witnesses. “At the hands of persons unknown” was the official verdict rendered on most of these atrocities. The celebrated historian Philip Dray shines a clear, bright light on this dark history—its causes, perpetrators, apologists, and victims. He also tells the story of the men and women who led the long and difficult fight to expose and eradicate lynching, including Ida B. Wells, James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, and W.E.B. Du Bois. If lynching is emblematic of what is worst about America, their fight may stand for what is best: the love of justice and fairness and the conviction that one individual’s sense of right can suffice to defy the gravest of wrongs. This landmark book follows the trajectory of both forces over American history—and makes the history of lynching belong to us all. From the Hardcover edition.

100 Years Of Lynchings

Author: Ralph Ginzburg
Publisher: Black Classic Press
ISBN: 9780933121188
Size: 31.55 MB
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Ginzburg compiles vivid newspaper accounts from 1886 to 1960 to provide insight and understanding of the history of racial violence.

Under Sentence Of Death

Author: W. Fitzhugh Brundage
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 0807866555
Size: 35.89 MB
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From the assembled work of fifteen leading scholars emerges a complex and provocative portrait of lynching in the American South. With subjects ranging in time from the late antebellum period to the early twentieth century, and in place from the border states to the Deep South, this collection of essays provides a rich comparative context in which to study the troubling history of lynching. Covering a broad spectrum of methodologies, these essays further expand the study of lynching by exploring such topics as same-race lynchings, black resistance to white violence, and the political motivations for lynching. In addressing both the history and the legacy of lynching, the book raises important questions about Southern history, race relations, and the nature of American violence. Though focused on events in the South, these essays speak to patterns of violence, injustice, and racism that have plagued the entire nation. The contributors are Bruce E. Baker, E. M. Beck, W. Fitzhugh Brundage, Joan E. Cashin, Paula Clark, Thomas G. Dyer, Terence Finnegan, Larry J. Griffin, Nancy MacLean, William S. McFeely, Joanne C. Sandberg, Patricia A. Schechter, Roberta Senechal de la Roche, Stewart E. Tolnay, and George C. Wright.

Lynching And Spectacle

Author: Amy Louise Wood
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 9780807878118
Size: 65.13 MB
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Lynch mobs in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America exacted horrifying public torture and mutilation on their victims. In Lynching and Spectacle, Amy Wood explains what it meant for white Americans to perform and witness these sadistic spectacles and how lynching played a role in establishing and affirming white supremacy. Lynching, Wood argues, overlapped with a variety of cultural practices and performances, both traditional and modern, including public executions, religious rituals, photography, and cinema, all which encouraged the horrific violence and gave it social acceptability. However, she also shows how the national dissemination of lynching images ultimately fueled the momentum of the antilynching movement and the decline of the practice. Using a wide range of sources, including photos, newspaper reports, pro- and antilynching pamphlets, early films, and local city and church records, Wood reconfigures our understanding of lynching's relationship to modern life. Wood expounds on the critical role lynching spectacles played in establishing and affirming white supremacy at the turn of the century, particularly in towns and cities experiencing great social instability and change. She also shows how the national dissemination of lynching images fueled the momentum of the antilynching movement and ultimately led to the decline of lynching. By examining lynching spectacles alongside both traditional and modern practices and within both local and national contexts, Wood reconfigures our understanding of lynching's relationship to modern life.

Popular Justice

Author: Manfred Berg
Publisher: Government Institutes
ISBN: 9781566639200
Size: 46.51 MB
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Manfred Berg traces the history of lynching in America from the colonial era to the present. Berg focuses on lynching as extralegal communal punishment performed by "ordinary" people. He confronts racially fragmented historical memory and legacies of popular justice to help the reader make better sense of lynching as part of American history.

Lynching Beyond Dixie

Author: Michael J. Pfeifer
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 0252094654
Size: 80.26 MB
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In recent decades, scholars have explored much of the history of mob violence in the American South, especially in the years after Reconstruction. However, the lynching violence that occurred in American regions outside the South, where hundreds of persons, including Hispanics, whites, African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans died at the hands of lynch mobs, has received less attention. This collection of essays by prominent and rising scholars fills this gap by illuminating the factors that distinguished lynching in the West, the Midwest, and the Mid-Atlantic. The volume adds to a more comprehensive history of American lynching and will be of interest to all readers interested in the history of violence across the varied regions of the United States. Contributors are Jack S. Blocker Jr., Brent M. S. Campney, William D. Carrigan, Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua, Dennis B. Downey, Larry R. Gerlach, Kimberley Mangun, Helen McLure, Michael J. Pfeifer, Christopher Waldrep, Clive Webb, and Dena Lynn Winslow.

Lynchings

Author: Walter Howard
Publisher: iUniverse
ISBN: 0595376509
Size: 29.57 MB
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Lynchings: Extralegal Violence in Florida during the 1930sThis study examines the 13 lynchings that occurred in the southern state of Florida during the decade of the 1930s. It provides a lively and detailed narrative account of each lynching and concludes that there is no one single theory or explanation of these extralegal executions. The author does, however, reveal several patterns common to these separate acts of vigilantism. For example, most Florida lynchings were not rural, small-town ceremonial hangings of black males accused of sexual offenses. Rather, the majority of lynch victims were forcibly seized from police and shot by small bands of carefully organized vigilantes rather than frenzied mobs. Moreover, one third of these lynchings occurred in urban areas. The study finishes with a brief overview of the three Florida lynchings of the 1940s and the sudden end of this southern lynch law in modern America.

A Festival Of Violence

Author: Stewart Emory Tolnay
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 9780252064135
Size: 48.46 MB
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A statistical study of lynching in ten southern states which shows that economic and status concerns were at the heart of that violent practice. This book tests explanations of the causes of lynching, using US Census and historical voting data and a newly constructed inventory of southern lynch victims.

Lynched

Author: Amy Kate Bailey
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 146962088X
Size: 13.34 MB
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On July 9, 1883, twenty men stormed the jail in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, kidnapped Henderson Lee, a black man charged with larceny, and hanged him. Events like this occurred thousands of times across the American South in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, yet we know scarcely more about any of these other victims than we do about Henderson Lee. Drawing on new sources to provide the most comprehensive portrait of the men and women lynched in the American South, Amy Bailey and Stewart Tolnay's revealing profiles and careful analysis begin to restore the identities of--and lend dignity to--hundreds of lynching victims about whom we have known little more than their names and alleged offenses. Comparing victims' characteristics to those of African American men who were not lynched, Bailey and Tolnay identify the factors that made them more vulnerable to being targeted by mobs, including how old they were; what work they did; their marital status, place of birth, and literacy; and whether they lived in the margins of their communities or possessed higher social status. Assessing these factors in the context of current scholarship on mob violence and reports on the little-studied women and white men who were murdered in similar circumstances, this monumental work brings unprecedented clarity to our understanding of lynching and its victims.

African Americans Confront Lynching

Author: Christopher Waldrep
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780742552739
Size: 46.82 MB
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This book examines African Americans' strategies for resisting white racial violence from the Civil War until the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968 and up to the Clinton era. Christopher Waldrep's semi-biographical approach to the pioneers in the anti-lynching campaign portrays African Americans as active participants in the effort to end racial violence rather than as passive victims. In telling this more than 100-year-old story of violence and resistance, Waldrep describes how white Americans legitimized racial violence after the Civil War, and how black journalists campaigned against the violence by invoking the Constitution and the law as a source of rights. He shows how, toward the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, anti-lynching crusaders Ida B. Wells and Monroe Work adopted a more sociological approach, offering statistics and case studies to thwart white claims that a black propensity for crime justified racial violence. Waldrep describes how the NAACP, founded in 1909, represented an organized, even bureaucratic approach to the fight against lynching. Despite these efforts, racial violence continued after World War II, as racists changed tactics, using dynamite more than the rope or the gun. Waldrep concludes by showing how modern day hate crimes continue the lynching tradition, and how the courts and grass-roots groups have continued the tradition of resistance to racial violence. A rich selection of documents helps give the story a sense of immediacy. Sources include nineteenth-century eyewitness accounts of lynching, courtroom testimony of Ku Klux Klan victims, South Carolina senator Ben Tillman's 1907 defense of lynching, and the text of the first federal hate crimes law."