Interactive Map Reveals the Horrific History of Lynching in the United States*
“Today’s police shootings of unarmed African-American men and the mass incarceration of black people are a legacy of slavery and lynching.”
Google.org — Google’s philanthropic arm —partnered with the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to fighting for racial civil rights and created an interactive website showing the dark and harrowing history of lynching in the United States. The website reads:
“Lynching in America was a form of terrorism that has contributed to a legacy of racial inequality that our nation must address more directly and concretely than we have to date. The trauma and anguish that lynching and racial violence created in this country continues to haunt us and to contaminate race relations and our criminal justice system in too many places across this country.”
Apart from an interactive map that chronicles almost every documented lynching against African-Americans between the 1830s and 1960s, the website provides audio stories, photos, videos, and an extensive 77-page report of one of the ugliest parts of American history.
“This site features painful stories of America’s history of racial injustice. In order to heal the deep wounds of our present, we must face the truth of our past. After slavery was formally abolished, lynching emerged as a vicious tool of racial control to reestablish white supremacy and suppress black civil rights.
“More than 4,000 African Americans were lynched across twenty states between 1877 and 1950. These lynching were public acts of racial terrorism, intended to instill fear in entire black communities. Government officials frequently turned a blind eye or condoned the mob violence. The effects of racial terror lynching are still felt today.”
Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, says the goal of the project titled Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror is to “spark a national dialogue about a subject that is too rarely discussed yet is crucial to understanding racism today.”
“Today’s police shootings of unarmed African-American men and the mass incarceration of black people are a legacy of slavery and lynching. Black people are seen through a lens of racial difference that presumes their guilt, resulting in wrongful arrests, convictions and death sentences.
“I think our history has created a kind of smog that we all breathe in. We don’t even talk about the fact that we are living in a polluted environment that has been corrupted by this history of all kinds of racial inequality. We want to change how we think about this era in America.”