Lynching in America: A History in Documents

Front Cover
Christopher Waldrep
NYU Press, Jan 1, 2006 - History - 281 pages

Whether conveyed through newspapers, photographs, or Billie Holliday’s haunting song “Strange Fruit,” lynching has immediate and graphic connotations for all who hear the word. Images of lynching are generally unambiguous: black victims hanging from trees, often surrounded by gawking white mobs. While this picture of lynching tells a distressingly familiar story about mob violence in America, it is not the full story. Lynching in America presents the most comprehensive portrait of lynching to date, demonstrating that while lynching has always been present in American society, it has been anything but one-dimensional.

Ranging from personal correspondence to courtroom transcripts to journalistic accounts, Christopher Waldrep has extensively mined an enormous quantity of documents about lynching, which he arranges chronologically with concise introductions. He reveals that lynching has been part of American history since the Revolution, but its victims, perpetrators, causes, and environments have changed over time. From the American Revolution to the expansion of the western frontier, Waldrep shows how communities defended lynching as a way to maintain law and order. Slavery, the Civil War, and especially Reconstruction marked the ascendancy of racialized lynching in the nineteenth century, which has continued to the present day, with the murder of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s contention that he was lynched by Congress at his confirmation hearings.

Since its founding, lynching has permeated American social, political, and cultural life, and no other book documents American lynching with historical texts offering firsthand accounts of lynchings, explanations, excuses, and criticism.

 

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Contents

Explanations
1
Ida B WellsThe Case Stated 1895
4
Georgia 1897
6
John Carlisle KilgoAn Inquiry concerning Lynchings 1902
9
James Elbert CutlerLynch Law 1905
11
John DollardCaste and Class 1937
13
Gunnar MyrdalAn American Dilemma 1944
17
Wilbur Joseph CashThe Mind of the South 1941
18
John Mitchell Jr Shall the Wheels of Race Agitation Be Stopped? 1902
127
Ida B WellsA Lynching at the Curve 1892
129
State Sovereignty and Mob Law
134
North Carolina An Act to Protect Prisoners 1893
135
Thomas Goode JonesReport to the GovernorDecember 11 1883
136
John G CashmanLaw and Order 1886
138
A Lynching in Ohio 1895
140
Rebecca Latimer FeltonNeeds of the FarmersWives and Daughters 1897
143

Robyn WiegmanThe Anatomy of a Lynching 1993
20
Grace Elizabeth HaleSpectacle Lynching 1998
22
The First Lynchers
26
A Farmer Named Lynch 1835
28
Andrew EllicottCaptain William Lynch 1811
29
Edgar Allan PoeLynchers Character 1836
30
William Preston to Thomas Jefferson March 1780
32
Col Arthur Campbell to Major William Edmiston June 24 1780
33
Thomas Jefferson to Charles Lynch August 1 1780
34
Col William Preston to Gov Thomas Jefferson August 8 1780
35
Col Charles Lynch to Col William Preston August 17 1780
36
The LynchLaw Tree 1892
37
Thomas Walker PageThe Real Judge Lynch 1901
38
Jacksonian America
41
Robert Butler to Daniel Parker Adjutant and Inspector General May 3 1818
42
Andrew Jackson to Secretary of War John C Calhoun May 5 1818
43
Henry ClaySeminole War January 20 1819
44
James StuartOn the Mississippi 1830
46
William Gilmore SimmsGuy Rivers 1834
47
The Vicksburg Tragedy 1835
49
The Enemies of the Constitution Discovered 1835
52
McIntosh Burning 1836
53
Luke Lawless Charge to the Grand Jury after McIntosh Burning 1836
55
Abraham LincolnThe Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions January 27 1838
57
Slavery
61
Norfolk Herald and Public AdvertiserThe Sentence Was Immediately Put into Execution February 24 1797
62
Thomas ShacklefordMadison County Mississippi Proceedings 1836
63
Governor Charles LynchThe Question of Right Admits of No Parley 1836
67
Joseph HenryA Statement of Facts 1839
68
Fulton Anderson Grand Jury Indictment 1846
69
Proposed Jury Instructions in Trial of Arthur Jordan 1846
70
Debate in the Senate April 20 1848
71
Richard HildrethDespotism in America 1854
73
Boston LiberatorSouthern Outrages 1855
74
New York Daily Tribune The Burning of a Negro 1854
75
Mississippi Free Trader Men Wept Tears of Blood 1854
76
James M ShacklefordA Little Mob Law in the State of Missouri 1859
78
How the West Was Won
81
Kansas Weekly Herald Resolutions 1855
82
Squatter SovereignHanging Is a Death Entirely Too Good for Such a Villain 1855
83
New York Tribune Border Ruffianism 1855
84
Our Only Law 1855
85
Citizens of San Francisco 1855
87
Kansas Weekly Herald Exciting News from California 1856
90
Thomas J DimsdaleThe Vigilantes of Montana 1865
91
Civil War and Reconstruction
95
Ulysses S Grant to Edwin M Stanton February 8 1867
96
Orville Hickman Browning Diary February 15 1867
97
Gideon Welles Diary February 15 1867
98
The Ku Klux Klan 1868
99
A Murderers Mishaps 1868
100
Communication from the Great Grand Cyclops 1868
102
New York Commercial AdvertiserLynch Law in Maryland 1869
103
Senator Eugene CasserlyStale Charges January 18 1871
104
Testimony of Frank Myers Jacksonville Florida November 11 1871
105
Testimony of Joseph J Williams Jacksonville Florida November 13 1871
106
Testimony of Dr Pride Jones Washington D C June 5 1871
107
Testimony of William Coleman Colored Macon Mississippi November 6 1871
109
William W Murray to Alphonso Taft September 25 1876
111
Grand Jury Indictment of Roland Green Harris and Others November 1876
112
Charleston News and Courier Lynch Law and Mob Law 1880
113
Justice William B Woods Opinion of the U S Supreme Court in United States v Harris 1882
114
Shall the Wheel of Race Agitation Be Stopped?
115
T Thomas FortuneFiendishness in Texas 1885
116
Charles H J TaylorIs God Dead? 1892
119
Indianapolis Freeman Americas Scarlet Crime 1893
121
W L AndersonThe Texas Horror 1893
124
Richmond PlanetThe Lynching in Kansas 1901
126
Georgia Governor George W Y AtkinsonGovernment Crime and Lynching October 27 1897
144
Alexander ManlyMrs Fellowss Speech 1898
146
Sam Hose 1899
147
Report of Debate at the Alabama Constitutional Convention June 22 1901
151
Justice Melville W Fuller Opinion of the U S Supreme Court in United States v Shipp 1909
154
Sheriff Jack Griffin Sr Testimony in State v Oscar Gordon and Oscar Gordon Jr July 1933
156
Western Lynching in an Industrializing Age
160
Hubert Howe BancroftPopular Tribunals 1887
161
Chico EnterpriseThe People Execute the Law 1887
163
Red Bluff News A Righteous Execution 1887
164
Sam Travers CloverThe Johnson County War 1892
166
Owen WisterThe Virginian 1902
167
Alvey A Adee to ConsulGeneral Donnelly August 16 1897
168
Report of ConsulGeneral Donnelly September 13 1897
169
Los Angeles Regeneración A Swine 1914
175
Los Angeles Regeneración At the Last Hour 1914
176
Plan of San Diego 1915
177
Pascual Orozco and the Fugitive Law 1915
178
Reprisals Feared for the Death of Pascual Orozco 1915
179
Walter Van Tilburg ClarkThe OxBow Incident 1940
180
The Limits of Progressive Reform
183
Ray Stannard BakerWhat Is Lynching? 1905
184
Holberts Man and Woman Captured Near Itta Bena 1904
187
Editor J A Richardson Talks about Indianola Post Office and Doddsville Burning 1904
188
E T WellfordThe Lynching of Jesus 1905
190
Herbert AsburyHearst Comes to Atlanta 1926
191
Tom WatsonRise People of Georgia 1915
194
Tom WatsonThe Voice of the People Is the Voice of God 1915
195
Mary White OvingtonMary Phagan Speaks 1915
196
Stephen GrahamMary Turner Lynching 1918
197
Hugh Dorsey Answers Colored Welfare League of Augusta 1918
198
Frank Hicks Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus May 2 1921
200
Mitchell G Hall to the U S Attorney General 1921
203
Norfolk Journal and Guide New Wrinkle in Mobbery 1925
204
Federal Law against Mob Law
207
James B Moseley to President William McKinley February 23 1900
208
Abial Lathrop to Attorney General March 5 1898
209
Abial Lathrop to Attorney General April 18 1898
210
Columbia Record State Sovereignty and Lynching 1898
211
Grand Jury Indictment in Frazier Baker Case 1898
212
Lavinia Bakers Testimony 1899
213
George Legare Argument for the Defense in the Frazier Baker Case 1899
215
Albert E PillsburyA Brief Inquiry into a Federal Remedy for Lynching 1902
216
Thomas Goode Jones Charge to the Grand Jury October 11 1904
218
Judge Thomas Goode Jones Opinion in Ex parte Riggins 1904
220
Woodrow WilsonA Statement to the American People July 26 1918
222
J E Boyd to President Woodrow Wilson November 19 1920
223
Ara Lee Settle of Armstrong Technical High SchoolWashington D C
226
The New Deal
229
Walter White to Attorney General Homer Cummings December 29 1936
232
Walter White to Attorney General Homer Cummings January 5 1937
234
Howard KesterLynching by Blow Torch April 13 1937
235
Victor W RotnemThe Federal Civil Right Not to Be Lynched February 1943
238
Justice William O Douglas Opinion of the U S Supreme Court in Screws v United States 1945
241
Albert Harris Jr Affidavit August 29 1946
243
Theron L Caudle to Malcolm Lefargue March 5 1947
246
Malcolm Lefargue to Theron L Caudle March 11 1947
247
HighTech Lynchings
249
Rebecca WestOpera in Greenville 1947
253
William Bradford HuieThe Shocking Story of Approved Killing in Mississippi January 24 1956
255
St John Barrett to Brooks and Kehoe December 21 1959
257
Richard Maxwell BrownThe Ideology of Vigilantism 1969
261
Richard Maxwell BrownLegal and Behavioral Perspectives on American Vigilantism 1971
265
Supreme Court of Alabama Opinion in Henry F Hays v State of Alabama 1985
267
Clarence ThomasFurther Testimony of Hon Clarence Thomas of Georgia to Be Associate Justice of the U S Supreme Court 1991
268
Index
271
About the Editor
281
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Christopher Waldrep is Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Professor of History, San Francisco State University. He is the author of Night Riders: Defending Community in the Black Patch: 1890-1915, Roots of Disorder: Race and Criminal Justice in the American South, 1817-1880, and The Many Faces of Judge Lynch: Extralegal Violence and Punishment in America.

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