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The lynchings we document were acts of terrorism because these murders were carried out with impunity, sometimes in broad daylight, often “on the courthouse lawn.”1. Tolnay provided an invaluable resource, as did the research collected at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama.Racial terror lynching was much more prevalent than previously reported. These sources are widely viewed asthe most comprehensive collection of research data on the subject of lynching in America.

We reviewed local newspapers, historical archives, and court records; conducted interviews with local historians, survivors, and victims’ descendants; and exhaustively examined contemporaneously published reports in African American newspapers.

Thousands of people fled to the North and West out of fear of being lynched. In all of the subject states, we observed that there is an astonishing absence of any effort to acknowledge, discuss, or address lynching.

Many of the communities where lynchings took place have gone to great lengths to erect markers and monuments that memorialize the Civil War, the Confederacy, and historical events during which local power was violently reclaimed by white Southerners.

We distinguish racial terror lynchings—the subject of this report—from hangings and mob violence that followed some criminal trial process or that were committed against non-minorities without the threat of terror.

Those lynchings were a crude form of punishment that did not have the features of terror lynchings directed at racial minorities who were being threatened and menaced in multiple ways.

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