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The Blood of Emmett Till by
* Longlisted for the National Book Award * A New York Times Notable Book * A Washington Post Notable Book * An NPR Best Book of 2017 * A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2017 * An Atlanta Journal-Constitution Best Southern Book of 2017 * This extraordinary New York Times bestseller reexamines a pivotal event of the civil rights movement--the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till--"and demands that we do the one vital thing we aren't often enough asked to do with history: learn from it" (The Atlantic). In 1955, white men in the Mississippi Delta lynched a fourteen-year-old from Chicago named Emmett Till. His murder was part of a wave of white terrorism in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court decision that declared public school segregation unconstitutional. Only weeks later, Rosa Parks thought about young Emmett as she refused to move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Five years later, Black students who called themselves "the Emmett Till generation" launched sit-in campaigns that turned the struggle for civil rights into a mass movement. Till's lynching became the most notorious hate crime in American history. But what actually happened to Emmett Till--not the icon of injustice, but the flesh-and-blood boy? Part detective story, part political history, The Blood of Emmett Till "unfolds like a movie" (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), drawing on a wealth of new evidence, including a shocking admission of Till's innocence from the woman in whose name he was killed. "Jolting and powerful" (The Washington Post), the book "provides fresh insight into the way race has informed and deformed our democratic institutions" (Diane McWhorter, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Carry Me Home) and "calls us to the cause of justice today" (Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP).
Call Number: HV6465.M7 T97 2017
Emmett Till by
Emmett Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement offers the first, and as of 2018, only comprehensive account of the 1955 murder, the trial, and the 2004-2007 FBI investigation into the case and Mississippi grand jury decision. By all accounts, it is the definitive account of the case. It tells the story of Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old African American boy from Chicago brutally lynched for a harmless flirtation at a country store in the Mississippi Delta. Anderson utilizes documents that had never been available to previous researchers, such as the trial transcript, long-hidden depositions by key players in the case, and interviews given by Carolyn Bryant to the FBI in 2004 (her first in fifty years), as well as other recently revealed FBI documents. Anderson also interviewed family members of the accused killers, most of whom agreed to talk for the first time, as well as several journalists who covered the murder trial in 1955. Till's death and the acquittal of his killers by an all-white jury set off a firestorm of protests that reverberated all over the world and spurred on the civil rights movement. Like no other event in modern history, the death of Emmett Till provoked people all over the United States to seek social change. Anderson's exhaustively researched book is also the basis for a Hollywood mini-series produced by Jay-Z, Will Smith, Casey Affleck, Aaron Kaplan, James Lassiter, Jay Brown, Ty Ty Smith, John P. Middleton, Rosanna Grace, David B. Clark, and Alex Foster. For over six decades the Till story has continued to haunt the South as the lingering injustice of Till's murder and the aftermath altered many lives. Fifty years after the murder, renewed interest in the case led the Justice Department to open an investigation into identifying and possibly prosecuting accomplices of the two men originally tried. Between 2004 and 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the first real probe into the killing and turned up important information that had been lost for decades. Anderson covers the events that led up to this probe in great detail, as well as the investigation itself. This book will stand as the definitive work on Emmett Till for years to come. Incorporating much new information, the book demonstrates how the Emmett Till murder exemplifies the Jim Crow South at its nadir. The author accessed a wealth of new evidence. Anderson made a dozen trips to Mississippi and Chicago over a ten-year period to conduct research and interview witnesses and reporters who covered the trial. In Emmett Till, Anderson corrects the historical record and presents this critical saga in its entirety.
Call Number: HV6465.M7 A63 2015
Lynching Photographs by
Why do we look at lynching photographs? What is the basis for our curiosity, rage, indignation, or revulsion? Beginning in the late nineteenth century, nearly five thousand blacks were put to death at the hands of lynch mobs throughout America. In many communities it was a public event, to be witnessed, recorded, and made available by means of photographs. In this book, the art historian Dora Apel and the American Studies scholar Shawn Michelle Smith examine lynching photographs as a way of analyzing photography's historical role in promoting and resisting racial violence. They further suggest how these photographs continue to affect the politics of spectatorship. In clear prose, and with carefully chosen images, the authors chart the history of lynching photographs--their meanings, uses, and controversial display--and offer terms in which to understand our responsibilities as viewers and citizens.
Call Number: HV6459 .A64 2007
On the Courthouse Lawn by
Nearly 5,000 black Americans were lynched between 1890 and 1960. Over forty years later, Sherrilyn Ifill's On the Courthouse Lawn examines the numerous ways that this racial trauma still resounds across the United States. While the lynchings and their immediate aftermath were devastating, the little-known contemporary consequences, such as the marginalization of political and economic development for black Americans, are equally pernicious. On the Courthouse Lawn investigates how the lynchings implicated average white citizens, some of whom actively participated in the violence, while many others witnessed the lynchings but did nothing to stop them. Ifill observes that this history of complicity has become embedded in the social and cultural fabric of local communities, who either supported, condoned, or ignored the violence. She traces the lingering effects of two lynchings in Maryland to illustrate how ubiquitous this history is and issues a clarion call for American communities with histories of racial violence to be proactive in facing this legacy today. Inspired by South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as by techniques of restorative justice, Ifill provides concrete ideas to help communities heal, including placing gravestones on the unmarked burial sites of lynching victims, issuing public apologies, establishing mandatory school programs on the local history of lynching, financially compensating those whose family homes or businesses were destroyed in the aftermath of lynching, and creating commemorative public spaces. Because the contemporary effects of racial violence are experienced most intensely in local communities, Ifill argues that reconciliation and reparation efforts must also be locally based in order to bring both black and white Americans together in an efficacious dialogue. A landmark book, On the Courthouse Lawn is a much-needed and urgent road map for communities finally confronting lynching's long shadow by embracing pragmatic reconciliation and reparation efforts. "Professor Ifill has written a sobering and eye-opening book on one of America's darkest secrets. On the Courthouse Lawn offers a compelling examination of lynchings and describes the failure of people and institutions to adequately address one of America's tragedies. Racial amnesia would suggest we forget this history. Professor Ifill assures us that we cannot-and should not-forget it. This is a must read for anyone willing to examine our history carefully and learn from it." -Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice "On the Courthouse Lawn is an elegantly written and persuasively argued case for local communities to confront their history of lynching and racial violence as a means of healing race relations. Explaining how Truth and Reconciliation worked in South Africa, Ifill explores the possibilities and offers concrete advice on how it could be widely employed in the United States. It is certainly worth trying." -Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and professor of History, University of Pennsylvania "In calm, objective but no less moving detail, Sherrilyn Ifill's book provides the stories that illuminate the photographs and postcards of lynchings, the punishment meted out to some 5,000 black people deemed guilty without trial for matters large and small during the first half of the twentieth century. Too late for justice for the victims of lynch law, Professor Ifill urges that an American version of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission could bring long-denied acknowledgment to whites and a measure of consolation to blacks." -Derrick Bell, author of Faces at the Bo
Call Number: HV6457 .I45 2007
Lynching in America by
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.
Call Number: HV6457 .L95 2006
On the Shelf at CCBC Libraries
Ida: a Sword among Lions by
Pulitzer Prize Board citation to Ida B. Wells, as an early pioneer of investigative journalism and civil rights icon From a thinker who Maya Angelou has praised for shining "a brilliant light on the lives of women left in the shadow of history," comes the definitive biography of Ida B. Wells--crusading journalist and pioneer in the fight for women's suffrage and against segregation and lynchings Ida B. Wells was born into slavery and raised in the Victorian age yet emerged--through her fierce political battles and progressive thinking--as the first "modern" black women in the nation's history. Wells began her activist career when she tried to segregate a first-class railway car in Memphis. After being thrown bodily off the car, she wrote about the incident for black Baptist newspapers, thus beginning her career as a journalist. But her most abiding fight would be the one against lynching, a crime in which she saw all the themes she held most dear coalesce: sexuality, race, and the law.
Call Number: E185.97.W55 G53 2009
Remembering Emmett Till
In this virtual reality documentary, we explore how the Mississippi towns where Emmett Till’s murder took place more than six decades ago are trying to memorialize him.
Oxford African American Studies Center This link opens in a new window
Articles and scholarly essays, historical newspaper articles, primary sources, and timelines you can use for African American topics.
ProQuest Central This link opens in a new window
Articles on any subject. This is a good place to start.
Online From CCBC Libraries
Lynching Beyond Dixie by
In recent decades, scholars have explored much of the history of mob violence in the American South, especially in the years after Reconstruction. However, the lynching violence that occurred in American regions outside the South, where hundreds of persons, including Hispanics, whites, African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans died at the hands of lynch mobs, has received less attention. This collection of essays by prominent and rising scholars fills this gap by illuminating the factors that distinguished lynching in the West, the Midwest, and the Mid-Atlantic. The volume adds to a more comprehensive history of American lynching and will be of interest to all readers interested in the history of violence across the varied regions of the United States. Contributors are Jack S. Blocker Jr., Brent M. S. Campney, William D. Carrigan, Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua, Dennis B. Downey, Larry R. Gerlach, Kimberley Mangun, Helen McLure, Michael J. Pfeifer, Christopher Waldrep, Clive Webb, and Dena Lynn Winslow.
Publication Date: 2013
They Left Great Marks on Me by
Shares wrenching accounts of the everyday violence experienced by emancipated African Americans Well after slavery was abolished, its legacy of violence left deep wounds on African Americans' bodies, minds, and lives. For many victims and witnesses of the assaults, rapes, murders, nightrides, lynchings, and other bloody acts that followed, the suffering this violence engendered was at once too painful to put into words yet too horrible to suppress. In this evocative and deeply moving history Kidada Williams examines African Americans' testimonies about racial violence. By using both oral and print culture to testify about violence, victims and witnesses hoped they would be able to graphically disseminate enough knowledge about its occurrence and inspire Americans to take action to end it. In the process of testifying, these people created a vernacular history of the violence they endured and witnessed, as well as the identities that grew from the experience of violence. This history fostered an oppositional consciousness to racial violence that inspired African Americans to form and support campaigns to end violence. The resulting crusades against racial violence became one of the political training grounds for the civil rights movement.
Publication Date: 2012
Blood at the Root by
Examines the relationship of lynching to black and white citizenship in the 19th and 20th century U.S. through a focus on historical, visual, cultural, and literary texts.In Blood at the Root, winner of the SUNY Press 2009 Dissertation/First Book Prize in African American Studies, Jennie Lightweis-Goff examines the centrality of lynching to American culture, focusing particularly on the ways in which literature, popular culture, and art have constructed the illusion of secrecy and obsolescence to conceal the memory of violence. Including critical study of writers and artists like Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Richard Wright, William Faulkner, George Schuyler, and Kara Walker, Lightweis-Goff also incorporates her personal experience in the form of a year-long travelogue of visits to lynching sites. Her research and travel move outside the American South and rural locales to demonstrate the fiction of confining racism to certain areas of the country and the denial of collective responsibility for racial violence. Lightweis-Goff seeks to implicate societal attitude in the actions of the few and to reveal the legacy of violence that has been obscured by more valiant memories in the public sphere. In exploring the ways that spatial and literary texts replace lynching with proclamations of innocence and regret, Lightweis-Goff argues that racial violence is an incompletely erupted trauma of American life whose very hiddenness links the past to still-present practices of segregation and exclusion.Jennie Lightweis-Goff is a Visiting Instructor of English at the University of South Florida. She received a PhD in English and Graduate Certificates in Gender and Africana Studies from the University of Rochester.
Publication Date: 2011
Popular Justice by
Lynching has often been called "America's national crime" that has defined the tradition of extralegal violence in America. Having claimed many thousand victims, "Judge Lynch" holds a firm place in the dark recesses of our national memory.In Popular Justice, Manfred Berg explores the history of lynching from the colonial era to the present. American lynch law, he argues, has rested on three pillars: the frontier experience, racism, and the anti-authoritarian spirit of grassroots democracy. Berg looks beyond the familiar story of mob violence against African American victims, who comprised the majority of lynch targets, to include violence targeting other victim groups, such as Mexicans and the Chinese, as well as many of those cases in which race did not play a role. As he nears the modern era, he focuses on the societal changes that ended lynching as a public spectacle.Berg's narrative concludes with an examination of lynching's legacy in American culture. From the colonial era and the American Revolution up to the twenty-first century, lynching has been a part of our nation's history. Manfred Berg provides us with the first comprehensive overview of "popular justice."
Publication Date: 2011
The Roots of Rough Justice by
In this deeply researched prequel to his 2006 study Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society, 1874-1947, Michael J. Pfeifer analyzes the foundations of lynching in American social history. Scrutinizing the vigilante movements and lynching violence that occurred in the middle decades of the nineteenth century on the Southern, Midwestern, and far Western frontiers, The Roots of Rough Justice: Origins of American Lynching offers new insights into collective violence in the pre-Civil War era. Pfeifer examines the antecedents of American lynching in an early modern Anglo-European folk and legal heritage. He addresses the transformation of ideas and practices of social ordering, law, and collective violence in the American colonies, the early American Republic, and especially the decades before and immediately after the American Civil War. His trenchant and concise analysis anchors the first book to consider the crucial emergence of the practice of lynching of slaves in antebellum America. Pfeifer also leads the way in analyzing the history of American lynching in a global context, from the early modern British Atlantic to the legal status of collective violence in contemporary Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa. Seamlessly melding source material with apt historical examples, The Roots of Rough Justice tackles the emergence of not only the rhetoric surrounding lynching, but its practice and ideology. Arguing that the origins of lynching cannot be restricted to any particular region, Pfeifer shows how the national and transatlantic context is essential for understanding how whites used mob violence to enforce the racial and class hierarchies across the United States.
Publication Date: 2011
Langston Hughes and American Lynching Culture by
"Provides the sort of historically and culturally informed critical discussion and close readings which African American literature still sorely needs."--A. Yemisi Jimoh, University of Massachusetts, Amherst "A comprehensive study of the centrality of lynching to Hughes's artistic development, aesthetics, and activism. Scholars and general readers alike will find it a fascinating and indispensable addition to their understanding of the work of this brilliant poet."--Anne Rice, CUNY-Lehman College Langston Hughes never knew of an America where lynching was absent from the cultural landscape. Jason Miller investigates the nearly three dozen poems written by Hughes on the subject of lynching to explore its varying effects on survivors, victims, and accomplices as they resisted, accepted, and executed this brutal form of sadistic torture. Starting from Hughes's life as a teenager during the Red Summer of 1919 and moving through the civil rights movement that took place toward the end of Hughes's life, Miller initiates an important dialogue between America's neglected history of lynching and some of the world's most significant poems. This extended study of the centrality of these heinous acts to Hughes's artistic development, aesthetics, and activism represents a significant and long-overdue contribution to our understanding of the art and politics of Langston Hughes.
Publication Date: 2011
Lynching and Spectacle by
Lynch mobs in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America exacted horrifying public torture and mutilation on their victims. In Lynching and Spectacle, Amy Wood explains what it meant for white Americans to perform and witness these sadistic spectacles and how lynching played a role in establishing and affirming white supremacy. Lynching, Wood argues, overlapped with a variety of cultural practices and performances, both traditional and modern, including public executions, religious rituals, photography, and cinema, all which encouraged the horrific violence and gave it social acceptability. However, she also shows how the national dissemination of lynching images ultimately fueled the momentum of the antilynching movement and the decline of the practice. Using a wide range of sources, including photos, newspaper reports, pro- and antilynching pamphlets, early films, and local city and church records, Wood reconfigures our understanding of lynching's relationship to modern life. Wood expounds on the critical role lynching spectacles played in establishing and affirming white supremacy at the turn of the century, particularly in towns and cities experiencing great social instability and change. She also shows how the national dissemination of lynching images fueled the momentum of the antilynching movement and ultimately led to the decline of lynching. By examining lynching spectacles alongside both traditional and modern practices and within both local and national contexts, Wood reconfigures our understanding of lynching's relationship to modern life.
Publication Date: 2009