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Topical - Resources for Racial Reconciliation and Justice: Legacy of Lynching

Books, articles & more in support of communities talking about race.

Legacy of Lynching

"The history of lynching in the United States is something that must be studied and talked about, all the while recognizing that it is an experience for which every word will fall short. We owe it to those who suffered to remember what was done to them in the cities and towns that we continue to live in, and to inform ourselves about the ongoing legacy of such brutality in existing laws and practices."

-The Rev. Jane Patterson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of New Testament

The Rev. Jane Patterson, Ph.D.

The Rev. Jane Patterson, Ph.D., author of this page's introductory note, is Associate Professor of New Testament at Seminary of the Southwest. Jane took this photo of the monument that memorializes lynchings in Travis County, Texas, while visiting The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama with a group of Southwest students, professors, alumni, and friends in 2019. 

Print books


Current News

Pictured above is a flag hanging outside the NAACP headquarters in New York in the late 1930s.

Trump's "Lynching" Tweet Isn't Just Offensive. It's Dangerous.

"Fortunately, activists, politicians, and scholars condemned Trump’s comparison and his Republican backers. But it’s also important to read Trump’s outrageous claim as a common and dangerous tactic: Powerful people steal the language of those they oppress to signal to others that they themselves are victims. This carefully crafted narrative of victimhood has perpetuated its own lynchings."

Purnell, Derecka. "Trump's 'Lynching' Tweet Isn't Just Offensive. It's Dangerous." Slate. 24 Oct 2019. Web. 26 Oct 2019.

Visual Reminders

Spectators at the Lynching of Jesse Washington in Waco, Texas on May 15, 1916

Without Sanctuary

The following website, Without Sanctuary, is a collection of photographs and postcards from lynchings across America. The content is very graphic and includes depictions of murdered victims.

Allen, James and John Littlefield. Without Sanctuary. 2000-2018. Web. 26 Oct 2019.

The Spaces We Inherit

"Based on over twelve months of research and documentation across eleven states, The Spaces We Inherit features a selection of photographs that show the exact or approximate location where individuals were lynched or murdered, reflecting not just the universality and mundanity of physical space but the simultaneous nature of presence and absence - what is both seen and not seen."

Clasper, Oliver. The Spaces We Inherit. 2019. Web. 26 Oct 2019.

This is a closeup examination of the Kadir Nelson’s June 22, 2020 cover of The New Yorker, in which the murder of George Floyd embodies the history of violence inflicted upon black people in America.

Nelson, Kadir. "Say Their Names." The New Yorker. 14 Jun. 2020. Web. 15 Jun. 2020.

Equal Justice Initiative

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is the first of its kind to commemorate the victims of lynching. More than 4400 lynchings of black people have been documented in the United States. The Memorial commemorates the names (when known) and dates of each lynching by county.

Located at: 417 Caroline Street Montgomery, AL 36104

Open 9 AM - 5 PM daily, closed Tuesdays

The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration

Built in a former warehouse where enslaved black people were imprisoned, The Legacy Museum educates on the history of enslavement, the racial terrorism of the Jim Crow Era, and the continued racial oppression of black people in America in the form of Mass Incarceration.

Located at: 115 Coosa Street Montgomery, AL 36104

9 AM-7:30 PM (6 PM on Sunday), closed Tuesdays

Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror

An interactive online project by Equal Justice Initiative containing interviews, interactive maps, and videos exploring our shared history of lynching in America.

The Report: Lynching in America

"Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror documents EJI’s multi-year investigation into lynching in twelve Southern states during the period between Reconstruction and World War II."

Legacy of Lynching

Oh, tragic bitter river
Where the lynched boys hung,
The gall of your bitter water
Coats my tongue.
The blood of your bitter water
For me gives back no stars.
I'm tired of the bitter river!
Tired of the bars!

-Langston Hughes, Selection from "The Bitter River"

Pictured on Right: The "hanging bridge" in Shubata, Mississippi