Hundreds more were lynched in the South than previously known: report

Image from a lynching in Texas in 1920.

Image from a lynching in Texas in 1920.

New research has found that 800 more people were lynched in the South from 1877 to 1950 than was previously believed.

The Equal Justice Initiative said its findings bring the total of "terror lynchings" — murders in which no one was charged that were intended to terrorize black Southerners — to 4,084 during the period from the Civil War to just after World War II.

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With 589, Georgia trailed only Mississippi in the total number of such killings. The report says that Fulton County was the scene of far more lynchings, 35, than any other county in the state.

“Terror lynchings were horrific acts of violence whose perpetrators were never held accountable,” said the  80-page report, “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.”

“Indeed, some public-spectacle lynchings were attended by the entire white community and conducted as celebratory acts of racial control and domination.”

The Equal Justice Initiative, a private nonprofit based in Montgomery that fights for civil rights, listed the number of lynchings in Southern states:

  1. Mississippi 654
  2. Georgia 589
  3. Louisiana 549
  4. Arkansas 492
  5. Alabama 361
  6. Texas 335
  7. Florida 311
  8. Tennessee 233
  9. South Carolina 185
  10. Kentucky 168
  11. North Carolina 123
  12. Virginia 84

Outside of Fulton County, many of the lynchings in Georgia were clustered in the extreme southwestern part of the state. An asterisk indicates that the county is in that region.

  1. Fulton 35
  2. * Early 24
  3. * Brooks 20
  4. * Mitchell 11
  5. * Decatur 10
  6. * Baker 10
  7. Jasper 10
  8. Oconee 10
  9. Jasper 10
  10. Bleckley 10
  11. Montgomery 10
  12. * Miller 9
  13. * Thomas 8

While focusing on what it calls the 12 most “active” states for lynching, all in the South, the report said it also identified an additional 300 lynchings in states outside the South.

“The history of terror lynching complicates contemporary issues of race, punishment, crime and justice,” said the report.

“Avoiding honest conversation about this history has undermined our ability to build a nation where racial justice can be achieved.”

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