*A groundbreaking 2015 study on lynching in the United States has been transformed into an interactive digital platform that includes historical data and personal stories so that users can get a comprehensive look at one of the darkest eras in American history.
Google assisted in digitizing the study, titled Lynchings in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror. The aim is to stimulate national dialogue about a subject that is too rarely discussed yet is crucial to understanding racism today, says Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative.
The authors of the report compiled an inventory of 3,959 victims of “racial terror lynchings” in 12 Southern states from 1877 to 1950.
Via the New York Times:
Efforts to count the number of lynchings in the country go back at least to 1882, when The Chicago Tribune began publishing each January a list of all executions and lynchings in the previous year. The Tuskegee Institute began releasing a list in 1912, and in 1919, the N.A.A.C.P. published what its researchers said was a comprehensive list of lynchings in the previous three decades. In 1995, the sociologists Stewart Tolnay and E. M. Beck researched the existing lists, eliminated errors and duplicates, and compiled what many consider the most accurate inventory to that time.
[The Lynchings in America report] says that the new inventory has 700 names that are not on any of these previous lists, many of which Mr. Stevenson said were discovered during the compilation of the report.
“Lynching and the terror era shaped the geography, politics, economics and social characteristics of being black in America during the 20th century,” Stevenson told the Times, arguing that many participants in the great migration from the South should be thought of as refugees fleeing terrorism rather than people simply seeking work.
Google.org, the search engine giant’s philanthropic arm, also announced it’s giving another $1 million to the Montgomery, Ala.-based Equal Justice Initiative to support its racial justice work. The company first gave $1 million to the group in 2015, to help fund a national memorial for lynching victims that the Equal Justice Initiative is building on six acres of vacant land in downtown Montgomery and a museum on the country’s racial history planned for the group’s headquarters that was once a slave warehouse.
“We want to change how we think about this era in America,” Stevenson said.
Click here to visit the digitized “Lynchings in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.”