Anthony Cody Omnidawn, 2019 Library of Congress PS3603.O29548B67 2020 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo marked an end to the Mexican—American War, but it sparked a series of lynchings of Mexicans and subsequent erasures, and long-lasting traumas. This pattern of state-sanctioned violence committed towards communities of color continues to the present day. Borderland Apocrypha centers around the collective histories of these terrors, excavating the traumas born of turbulence at borderlands. In this debut collection, Anthony Cody responds to the destabilized, hostile landscapes and silenced histories of borderlands. His experimental poetic reinvents itself and shapeshifts in both form and space across the margin, the page, and the book in forms of resistance, signaling a reclamation and a re-occupation of what has been omitted. The poems ask the reader to engage in searching through the nested and cascading series of poems centered around familial and communal histories, structural racism, and natural ecosystems of borderlands. Relentless in its explorations, this collection shows how the past continues to inform actions, policies, and perceptions in North and Central America.
Rather than a proposal for re-imagining the US/Mexico border, Cody’s collection is an avant-garde examination of how borderlands have remained occupied spaces, and of the necessity of liberation to usher the earth and its people toward healing. Part auto-historia, part docu-poetic, part visual monument, part myth-making, Borderland Apocrypha unearths history in order to work toward survival, reckoning, and the building of a future that both acknowledges and moves on from tragedies of the past.
Borderland Apocrypha won Omnidawn's 2018 1st/2nd Book Prize.
Bullets and Fire is the first collection on lynching in Arkansas, exploring all corners of the state from the time of slavery up to the mid-twentieth century and covering stories of the perpetrators, victims, and those who fought against vigilante violence.
Among the topics discussed are the lynching of slaves, the Arkansas Council of the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching, the 1927 lynching of John Carter in Little Rock, and the state’s long opposition to a federal anti-lynching law.
Throughout, the work reveals how the phenomenon of lynching—as the means by which a system of white supremacy reified itself, with its perpetrators rarely punished and its defenders never condemned—served to construct authority in Arkansas. Bullets and Fire will add depth to the growing body of literature on American lynching and integrate a deeper understanding of this violence into Arkansas history.
Reconstruction in the South is a much studies and yet little understood dark epoch in the region’s history; in many areas it was marked by such violence as to have been in all but name guerrilla warfare. Death and Cross Plains is the history of one such clash, and the story of one of its casualties – William Luke.
Luke, born in Ireland, was a former Canadian minister fleeing a checkered past and perhaps seeking to redeem himself by service to the black freedmen of northern Alabama. In 1869 he took a teaching post at Talladega College, the only school for blacks in the area. Later taking the position of schoolteacher to the black railroad workers near Talladega, Luke found himself enmeshed in the web of racial antagonisms, xenophobia, and partisan conflict rampant in much of the South.
Death at Cross Plains follows the tragic course of William Luke’s life and death and vividly depicts the hatreds and failures that plunged the South into its darkest days.
The End of American Lynching
Rushdy, Ashraf H. A. Rutgers University Press, 2012 Library of Congress HV6457.R87 2012 | Dewey Decimal 364.134
The End of American Lynching questions how we think about the dynamics of lynching, what lynchings mean to the society in which they occur, how lynching is defined, and the circumstances that lead to lynching. Ashraf H. A. Rushdy looks at three lynchings over the course of the twentieth century—one in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, in 1911, one in Marion, Indiana, in 1930, and one in Jasper, Texas, in 1998—to see how Americans developed two distinct ways of thinking and talking about this act before and after the 1930s.
One way takes seriously the legal and moral concept of complicity as a way to understand the dynamics of a lynching; this way of thinking can give us new perceptions into the meaning of mobs and the lynching photographs in which we find them. Another way, which developed in the 1940s and continues to influence us today, uses a strategy of denial to claim that lynchings have ended. Rushdy examines how the denial of lynching emerged and developed, providing insight into how and why we talk about lynching the way we do at the dawn of the twenty-first century. In doing so, he forces us to confront our responsibilities as American citizens and as human beings.
Often considered peculiarly American, lynching in fact takes place around the world. In the first book of a two-volume study, Michael J. Pfeifer collects essays that look at lynching and related forms of collective violence in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Understanding lynching as a transnational phenomenon rooted in political and cultural flux, the writers probe important issues from Indonesia--where a long history of public violence now twines with the Internet--to South Africa, with its notorious history of necklacing. Other scholars examine lynching in medieval Nepal, the epidemic of summary executions in late Qing-era China, the merging of state-sponsored and local collective violence during the Nanking Massacre, and the ways public anger and lynching in India relate to identity, autonomy, and territory. Contributors: Laurens Bakker, Shaiel Ben-Ephraim, Nandana Dutta, Weiting Guo, Or Honig, Frank Jacob, Michael J. Pfeifer, Yogesh Raj, and Nicholas Rush Smith.
Why did some offenses in the South end in mob lynchings while similar crimes led to legal executions? Why did still other cases have nonlethal outcomes? In this well-researched and timely book, Margaret Vandiver explores the complex relationship between these two forms of lethal punishment, challenging the assumption that executions consistently grew out of-and replaced-lynchings.
Vandiver begins by examining the incidence of these practices in three culturally and geographically distinct southern regions. In rural northwest Tennessee, lynchings outnumbered legal executions by eleven to one and many African Americans were lynched for racial caste offenses rather than for actual crimes. In contrast, in Shelby County, which included the growing city of Memphis, more men were legally executed than lynched. Marion County, Florida, demonstrated a firmly entrenched tradition of lynching for sexual assault that ended in the early 1930s with three legal death sentences in quick succession.
With a critical eye to issues of location, circumstance, history, and race, Vandiver considers the ways that legal and extralegal processes imitated, influenced, and differed from each other. A series of case studies demonstrates a parallel between mock trials that were held by lynch mobs and legal trials that were rushed through the courts and followed by quick executions.
Tying her research to contemporary debates over the death penalty, Vandiver argues that modern death sentences, like lynchings of the past, continue to be influenced by factors of race and place, and sentencing is comparably erratic.
Living with Lynching: African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890–1930 demonstrates that popular lynching plays were mechanisms through which African American communities survived actual and photographic mob violence. Often available in periodicals, lynching plays were read aloud or acted out by black church members, schoolchildren, and families. Koritha Mitchell shows that African Americans performed and read the scripts in community settings to certify to each other that lynch victims were not the isolated brutes that dominant discourses made them out to be. Instead, the play scripts often described victims as honorable heads of household being torn from model domestic units by white violence.
In closely analyzing the political and spiritual uses of black theatre during the Progressive Era, Mitchell demonstrates that audiences were shown affective ties in black families, a subject often erased in mainstream images of African Americans. Examining lynching plays as archival texts that embody and reflect broad networks of sociocultural activism and exchange in the lives of black Americans, Mitchell finds that audiences were rehearsing and improvising new ways of enduring in the face of widespread racial terrorism. Images of the black soldier, lawyer, mother, and wife helped readers assure each other that they were upstanding individuals who deserved the right to participate in national culture and politics. These powerful community coping efforts helped African Americans band together and withstand the nation's rejection of them as viable citizens.
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.
In 1905, the sociologist James Cutler observed, "It has been said that our country's national crime is lynching." If lynching was a national crime, it was a southern obsession. Based on an analysis of nearly six hundred lynchings, this volume offers a new, full appraisal of the complex character of lynching. In Virginia, the southern state with the fewest lynchings W. Fitzhugh Brundage found that conditions did not breed endemic mob violence. The character of white domination in Georgia, however, was symbolized by nearly fie hundred lynchings and became the measure of race relations in the Deep South. By focusing on these two states, Brundage addresses three central questions ignored by precious studies: How can the variation in lynching over space and time be explained? To what extent was lynching a social ritual that affirmed traditional values? What were the causes of the decline of lynching?
The book's multidisciplinary approach and the significant issues it addresses will interest historians of African-American history, the South, and American violence. At the same time, it will remind a more general audience of a tradition of violence that poisoned American life, and especially southern life.
Accounts of lynching in the United States have primarily focused on violence against African Americans in the South. Ken Gonzales-Day reveals racially motivated lynching as a more widespread practice. His research uncovered 350 instances of lynching that occurred in the state of California between 1850 and 1935. The majority were perpetrated against Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans; more Latinos were lynched in California than were persons of any other race or ethnicity.
An artist and writer, Gonzales-Day began this study by photographing lynching sites in order to document the absences and empty spaces that are emblematic of the forgotten history of lynching in the West. Drawing on newspaper articles, periodicals, court records, historical photographs, and souvenir postcards, he attempted to reconstruct the circumstances surrounding the lynchings that had occurred in the spaces he was photographing. The result is an unprecedented textual and visual record of a largely unacknowledged manifestation of racial violence in the United States. Including sixteen color illustrations, Lynching in the West juxtaposes Gonzales-Day’s evocative contemporary photographs of lynching sites with dozens of historical images.
Gonzales-Day examines California’s history of lynching in relation to the spectrum of extra-legal vigilantism common during the nineteenth century—from vigilante committees to lynch mobs—and in relation to race-based theories of criminality. He explores the role of visual culture as well, reflecting on lynching as spectacle and the development of lynching photography. Seeking to explain why the history of lynching in the West has been obscured until now, Gonzales-Day points to popular misconceptions of frontier justice as race-neutral and to the role of the anti-lynching movement in shaping the historical record of lynching in the United States.
In Men, Mobs, and Law, Rebecca N. Hill compares two seemingly unrelated types of leftist protest campaigns: those intended to defend labor organizers from prosecution and those seeking to memorialize lynching victims and stop the practice of lynching. Arguing that these forms of protest are related and have substantially influenced one another, Hill points out that both worked to build alliances through appeals to public opinion in the media, by defining the American state as a force of terror, and by creating a heroic identity for their movements. Each has played a major role in the history of radical politics in the United States. Hill illuminates that history by considering the narratives produced during the abolitionist John Brown’s trials and execution, analyzing the defense of the Chicago anarchists of the Haymarket affair, and comparing Ida B. Wells’s and the NAACP’s anti-lynching campaigns to the Industrial Workers of the World’s early-twentieth-century defense campaigns. She also considers conflicts within the campaign to defend Sacco and Vanzetti, chronicles the history of the Communist Party’s International Labor Defense, and explores the Black Panther Party’s defense of George Jackson.
As Hill explains, labor defense activists first drew on populist logic, opposing the masses to the state in their campaigns, while anti-lynching activists went in the opposite direction, castigating “the mob” and appealing to the law. Showing that this difference stems from the different positions of whites and Blacks in the American legal system, Hill’s comparison of anti-lynching organizing and radical labor defenses reveals the conflicts and intersections between antiracist struggle and socialism in the United States.
In this deeply researched prequel to his 2006 study Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society, 1874–1947, Michael J. Pfeifer analyzes the foundations of lynching in American social history. Scrutinizing the vigilante movements and lynching violence that occurred in the middle decades of the nineteenth century on the Southern, Midwestern, and far Western frontiers, The Roots of Rough Justice: Origins of American Lynching offers new insights into collective violence in the pre-Civil War era.
Pfeifer examines the antecedents of American lynching in an early modern Anglo-European folk and legal heritage. He addresses the transformation of ideas and practices of social ordering, law, and collective violence in the American colonies, the early American Republic, and especially the decades before and immediately after the American Civil War. His trenchant and concise analysis anchors the first book to consider the crucial emergence of the practice of lynching of slaves in antebellum America. Pfeifer also leads the way in analyzing the history of American lynching in a global context, from the early modern British Atlantic to the legal status of collective violence in contemporary Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.
Seamlessly melding source material with apt historical examples, The Roots of Rough Justice tackles the emergence of not only the rhetoric surrounding lynching, but its practice and ideology. Arguing that the origins of lynching cannot be restricted to any particular region, Pfeifer shows how the national and transatlantic context is essential for understanding how whites used mob violence to enforce the racial and class hierarchies across the United States.
Since the Bolivian revolution in 1952, migrants have come to the city of Cochabamba, seeking opportunity and relief from rural poverty. They have settled in barrios on the city’s outskirts only to find that the rights of citizens—basic rights of property and security, especially protection from crime—are not available to them. In this ethnography, Daniel M. Goldstein considers the significance of and similarities between two kinds of spectacles—street festivals and the vigilante lynching of criminals—as they are performed in the Cochabamba barrio of Villa Pagador. By examining folkloric festivals and vigilante violence within the same analytical framework, Goldstein shows how marginalized urban migrants, shut out of the city and neglected by the state, use performance to assert their national belonging and to express their grievances against the inadequacies of the state’s official legal order.
During the period of Goldstein’s fieldwork in Villa Pagador in the mid-1990s, residents attempted to lynch several thieves and attacked the police who tried to intervene. Since that time, there have been hundreds of lynchings in the poor barrios surrounding Cochabamba. Goldstein presents the lynchings of thieves as a form of horrific performance, with elements of critique and political action that echo those of local festivals. He explores the consequences and implications of extralegal violence for human rights and the rule of law in the contemporary Andes. In rich detail, he provides an in-depth look at the development of Villa Pagador and of the larger metropolitan area of Cochabamba, illuminating a contemporary Andean city from both microethnographic and macrohistorical perspectives. Focusing on indigenous peoples’ experiences of urban life and their attempts to manage their sociopolitical status within the broader context of neoliberal capitalism and political decentralization, The Spectacular City highlights the deep connections between performance, law, violence, and the state.
This incisive study takes on one of the grimmest secrets in America's national life—the history of lynching and, more generally, the public punishment of African Americans. Jacqueline Goldsby shows that lynching cannot be explained away as a phenomenon peculiar to the South or as the perverse culmination of racist politics. Rather, lynching—a highly visible form of social violence that has historically been shrouded in secrecy—was in fact a fundamental part of the national consciousness whose cultural logic played a pivotal role in the making of American modernity.
To pursue this argument, Goldsby traces lynching's history by taking up select mob murders and studying them together with key literary works. She focuses on three prominent authors—Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Stephen Crane, and James Weldon Johnson—and shows how their own encounters with lynching influenced their analyses of it. She also examines a recently assembled archive of evidence—lynching photographs—to show how photography structured the nation's perception of lynching violence before World War I. Finally, Goldsby considers the way lynching persisted into the twentieth century, discussing the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955 and the ballad-elegies of Gwendolyn Brooks to which his murder gave rise.
An empathic and perceptive work, A Spectacular Secret will make an important contribution to the study of American history and literature.
Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence, and the Last Lynching in America recounts the story of three innocent victims, all of whom suffered violent deaths through no fault of their own: Vaudine Maddox in 1933 in Tuscaloosa, Sergeant Gene Ballard in 1979 in Birmingham, and Michael Donald in 1981 in Mobile.
The death of Vaudine Maddox—and the lynchings that followed—serves as a cautionary tale about the violence that occurred in the same region nearly fifty-years later, highlighting the cowardice, ignorance, and happenstance that sustained a culture of racial intolerance far into the future.Nearly half a century later, after a black bank robber was acquitted for the murder of police Sergeant Gene Ballard, two Klansmen took it upon themselves to exact revenge on an innocent victim--nineteen-year-old African American Michael Donald. Donald's murder--deemed the last lynching in America--reignited the race debate in America and culminated in a courtroom drama in which the United Klans of America were at long last put on trial.
While tracing the relationships among these murders, B. J. Hollars's research led him deep into the heart of Alabama’s racial, political, and legal landscapes. A work of literary journalism, Thirteen Loops draws upon rarely examined primary sources, court documents, newspaper reports, and first-hand accounts in an effort to unravel the twisted tale of a pair of interconnected murders that forever altered United States' race relations.
In Troubled Ground, Claude A. Clegg III revisits a violent episode in his hometown's history that made national headlines in the early twentieth century but disappeared from public consciousness over the decades. Moving swiftly between memory and history, between the personal and the political, Clegg offers insights into southern history, mob violence, and the formation of American race ideology while coming to terms on a personal level with the violence of the past.
Three black men were killed in front of a crowd of thousands in Salisbury, North Carolina, in 1906, following the ax murder of a local white family for whom the men had worked. One of the lynchers was prosecuted for his role in the execution, the first conviction of its kind in North Carolina and one of the earliest in the country. Yet Clegg, an academic historian who grew up in Salisbury, had never heard of the case until 2002 and could not find anyone else familiar with the case.
In this book, Clegg mines newspaper accounts and government records and links the victims of the 1906 case to a double-lynching in 1902, suggesting a complex history of lynching in the area while revealing the determination of the city to rid its history of a shameful and shocking chapter. The result is a multi-layered, deeply personal exploration of lynching and lynching prosecutions in the United States.
Looking at the narrative accounts of mob violence produced by vigilantes and their advocates as “official” histories, Lisa Arellano shows how these nonfiction narratives conformed to a common formula whose purpose was to legitimate frontier justice and lynching.
In Vigilantes and Lynch Mobs, Arellano closely examines such narratives as well as the work of Western historian and archivist Hubert Howe Bancroft, who was sympathetic to them, and that of Ida B. Wells, who wrote in fierce opposition to lynching. Tracing the creation, maintenance, and circulation of dominant, alternative, and oppositional vigilante stories from the nineteenth-century frontier through the Jim Crow South, she casts new light on the role of narrative in creating a knowable past.
Demonstrating how these histories ennobled the actions of mobs and rendered their leaders and members as heroes, Arellano presents a persuasive account of lynching’s power to create the conditions favorable to its own existence.
White Man's Heaven is the first book to investigate the lynching and expulsion of African Americans in the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Kimberly Harper shows how an established tradition of extralegal violence and the rapid political, economic, and social change of the New South era combined to create an environment that resulted in interracial violence. Even though some whites tried to stop the violence and bring the lynchers to justice, many African Americans fled the Ozarks, leaving only a resilient few behind and forever changing the racial composition of the region.
Witnessing Lynching: American Writers Respond is the first anthology to gather poetry, essays, drama, and fiction from the height of the lynching era (1889–1935). During this time, the torture of a black person drew thousands of local onlookers and was replayed throughout the nation in lurid newspaper reports. The selections gathered here represent the courageous efforts of American writers to witness the trauma of lynching and to expose the truth about this uniquely American atrocity. Included are well-known authors and activists such as Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Ida B. Wells, and Theodore Dreiser, as well as many others. These writers respond to lynching in many different ways, using literature to protest and educate, to create a space of mourning in which to commemorate and rehumanize the dead, and as a cathartic release for personal and collective trauma. Their words provide today’s reader with a chance to witness lynching and better understand the current state of race relations in America.
An introduction by Anne P. Rice offers a broad historical and thematic framework to ground the selections.