The Equal Justice Initiative released a report titled “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror” in early February. It catalogues the legacy of lynching in the U.S., documenting more than 4,000 cases from 1877-1950.
The report details cases from across 12 southern states, including North Carolina, and breaks down lynching cases per county. While there were no recorded lynchings in Orange County, there were several in neighboring counties, including Chatham and Alamance.
There were 102 lynchings in North Carolina during that period. Georgia had the most total lynchings, with 586.
“We documented more lynchings than had ever previously been published in these states,” said John Dalton, staff attorney for EJI. “We issued this report, as the title suggests, to confront our legacy of terrorism in this country.”
It explores the prevalence of lynching, the social conditions that made lynching possible and the lingering effects of racially motivated terrorism in today’s social landscape.
“The report makes it clear that a tradition that lasted from the end of the Civil War on up to the 1940s obviously had long tentacles that extend to the present day,” said Fitzhugh Brundage, chairman of UNC’s history department.
“There is value in taking the conversation about the legacy of lynching from an abstract, general, national concern and then targeting it down and reminding people in specific places that this was not just history that happened somewhere, but in very specific locations and communities,” he said.