State Sanctioned

A clearinghouse for information, analysis, and resources related to state sanctioned violence in the United States

Online and Print Inventories

The NAACP, 30 Years of Lynching in the United States: 1889 – 1918.  This book, originally published by the NAACP in 1919, includes a full-scale inventory of lynch victims, organized by name, date, state, and method of execution. Included also are interpretative essays and statistics written by NAACP staff and attorneys.  Reprints of the original are available at AbeBooks, Amazon, and other sellers. A new version was published in 2012, which includes an introduction from historian Paul Finkelman.

Project HAL – The Historical American Lynching Project. Created by Elizabeth Hines (PhD in Geography) and Eliza Steelwater (PhD, Independent Scholar), Project HAL offers a comprehensive inventory of lynch victims, drawn largely from records kept by the NAACP and the Tuskegee Institute.  The inventory can be downloaded as an excel file.  Although the project appears to be temporarily dormant, the site and all associated links still work.

The Mary Turner Project – Named to commemorate Mary Turner and other victims of anti-black violence in Valdosta, Georgia, in 1918, The Mary Turner Project includes an online, searchable database of lynching victims.

Collective Punishment: Mob Violence, Riots, and Pogroms Against African American Communities (1824 – 1974). A crowd-sourced, interactive map, Collective Punishment documents anti-black mass violence, focusing on mobs and riots instead of lynching.

Stewart Tolnay & E.M. Beck – Tolnay and Beck are preeminent sociologists of lynching.  They have published numerous articles and books on the subject.  Their co-authored book, A Festival of Violence, includes a comprehensive inventory of lynching victims across the ten states they study. Depending on your level of access, you may be able to view the inventory on Google Books.  The book can also be purchased from Amazon or AbeBooks.

Amy Bailey – Amy Bailey’s recently published book, Lynchedis a fascinating new study of the victims of lynching, which offers details of the lives and personal characteristics of men and women who were lynched, painting a rich picture of individuals’ lives that is often lacking in quantitative studies.  Bailey has worked with Tolnay and Beck to create a more comprehensive database of lynching victims, although to my knowledge it is not yet publicly available.

Fitzhugh Brundage – Brundage’s thorough study of lynching in Georgia and Virginia includes a comprehensive inventory of lynching victims in these states from 1880 – 1930.  His inventory also includes some details that are not included in others – for example, he categorizes lynch mobs as “posses,” “terroristic,” “private,” etc., offering details about the perpetrators of mob violence in addition to that of the victim.

Without Sanctuary – Collection of lynching photographs, postcards, and other memorabilia. Compiled by art collector James Allen. If you want to use images from Without Sanctuary in the classroom, check out the page on Teaching About Lynching, for ideas.

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