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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.
Between 1880 and 1930, thousands of African Americans were lynched in the United States. Beyond the horrific violence inflicted on these individuals, lynching terrorized whole communities and became a defining characteristic of Southern race relations in the Jim Crow era. As spectacle, lynching was intended to serve as a symbol of white supremacy. Yet, Jonathan Markovitz notes, the act's symbolic power has endured long after the practice of lynching has largely faded away.Legacies of Lynching examines the evolution of lynching as a symbol of racial hatred and a metaphor for race relations in popular culture, art, literature, and political speech. Markovitz credits the efforts of the antilynching movement with helping to ensure that lynching would be understood not as a method of punishment for black rapists but as a terrorist practice that provided stark evidence of the brutality of Southern racism and as America's most vivid symbol of racial oppression. Cinematic representations of lynching, from Birth of a Nation to Do the Right Thing, he contends, further transform the ways that American audiences remember and understand lynching, as have disturbing recent cases in which alleged or actual acts of racial violence reconfigured stereotypes of black criminality. Markovitz further reveals how lynching imagery has been politicized in contemporary society with the example of Clarence Thomas, who condemned the Senate's investigation into allegations of sexual harassment during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings as a "high-tech lynching."Even today, as revealed by the 1998 dragging death of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas, and the national soul-searching it precipitated, lynching continues to pervade America's collective memory. Markovitz concludes with an analysis of debates about a recent exhibition of photographs of lynchings, suggesting again how lynching as metaphor remains always in the background of our national discussions of race and racial relations.Jonathan Markovitz is a lecturer in sociology at the University of California, San Diego.
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.
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.
This volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture addresses the cultural, social, and intellectual terrain of myth, manners, and historical memory in the American South. Evaluating how a distinct southern identity has been created, recreated, and performed through memories that blur the line between fact and fiction, this volume paints a broad, multihued picture of the region seen through the lenses of belief and cultural practice. The 95 entries here represent a substantial revision and expansion of the material on historical memory and manners in the original edition. They address such matters as myths and memories surrounding the Old South and the Civil War; stereotypes and traditions related to the body, sexuality, gender, and family (such as debutante balls and beauty pageants); institutions and places associated with historical memory (such as cemeteries, monuments, and museums); and specific subjects and objects of myths, including the Confederate flag and Graceland. Together, they offer a compelling portrait of the "southern way of life" as it has been imagined, lived, and contested.
There has been an odd reluctance on the part of historians of the Italian American experience to confront the discrimination faced by Italians and Americans of Italian ancestry. This volume is a bold attempt by an esteemed group of scholars and writers to discuss the question openly by charting the historical and cultural boundaries of stereotypes, prejudice, and assimilation. Contributors offer a continuous series of cultural encounters and experiences in television, literature, and film that deserve the attention of anyone interested in the larger themes of American history.

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