Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Lynching Map

(click to enlarge)
This map, compiled using data gathered by the Tuskegee Institute, represents the geographic distribution of lynchings during some of the years when the crime was most widespread in the United States. Tuskegee began keeping lynching records under the direction of Booker T. Washington, who was the institute's founding leader. In 1959, Tuskegee defined its parameters for pronouncing a murder a “lynching”: “There must be legal evidence that a person was killed. That person must have met death illegally. A group of three or more persons must have participated in the killing. The group must have acted under the pretext of service to justice, race or tradition.” In 1900-1931, Georgia led the lynching tally, with Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas rounding out the top seven worst offenders.

Although I'm feeling a bit better about Tennessee since they revoked James Yeager's carry permit, I hold onto my natural prejudice against some of the other Southern havens of enlightenment.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.


  1. I guess Mikeb is saying that rope kills people.

    orlin sellers

  2. You do realize that it's 2013, not 1931, right? But yes, Mikeb, you are prejudiced.

  3. I believe it is worth noting that most of those states were run by democrats, most of the lynching was done by democrats, against blacks and pro civil rights republicans, and that gun control, originally based in racism, born of democrats is still pushed mostly by democrats. MikeZ

    1. I doubt very much that's true, Mike.

    2. Which part of that do you doubt Mikeb? It's all the truth. The Democrats had a stranglehold on the South from the end of Reconstruction on until LBJ and Tricky Dick, two of the most vile toads to ever hold the presidency, led to a redrawing of party lines that left racists redistributed through both parties.

      The permitting system for carrying handguns was originally a way to allow "the right" white people to carry while preventing blacks and immigrants from doing so. This was the Jim Crow equivalent of the old laws that forbade selling or giving arms to slaves.

      When Republicans joined in on the gun control from the 60's on, it was often because they and the Democrats were both scared of the black people with guns--e.g. Reagan signing the Mulford Act in California.

      In more recent years, as racism has continued to decline from the levels of the bad old days, and as it and those who hold to it have been further marginalized, racial motives have become less influential in the gun control debate, but there has still been a racial bias in the effect of the laws and in their application by law enforcement.

    3. I never could swallow that gun control started as racism argument mainly because it has about as much to do with 21st century gun politics as the 2A does. Same with what Mike Z. said.

    4. You're the one who put up a map of lynchings that's about eighty years old and then made disparaging remarks about the present-day South. If it's fair to bring up one kind of old racism, it's fair to discuss other forms.

    5. Mike,

      The motives for gun control today are different for most people, but that doesn't change the fact that the early laws on the books and the early decisions that your side often cites (e.g. Cruikshank) often came to be because of people with motives quite different from your own.

      As for relevance, I would just say that we should reexamine every precedent that was part of the Jim Crow structure of the times before building on it. E.g. Reexamine Cruikshank to see if its reasoning is sound, or if it is just a product of the court maintaining the racist status quo.

      Also, if you are questioning my analysis of the passage of some of these laws, look for the video from Melissa Harris Perry's show today on MSNBC. I caught 25 minutes of it while getting ready for church, and they were talking about Mulford's passage--they had more detail than I knew when I wrote the above post.

    6. I'm not questioning your analysis. I'm just saying, so what? That has nothing to do with today's debate any more than the early positions of the NRA do.

    7. As Greg said, you're the one who brought history and historic prejudices into the debate with the lynching map and your statement about being prejudiced against all southerners due to this stain on our history.

      If this stain has relevance to how you treat or view us, in spite of our individual difference from our predecessors, then we have the right to point out the stains on your camp.

    8. Fair enough, and please reread my previous comment.

    9. Then why did you bring it up?