Friday, January 26, 2018

'Lynching in America': An Excellent, and Horrifying, Educational Resource

Posted By on Fri, Jan 26, 2018 at 4:18 PM

For K-12 and college-level teachers who want to educate themselves and their students on the subject of lynching, which, it hardly needs saying, is one of the most vile and horrifying parts of this country's post-Civil War history, the site Lynching in America, created by the Equal Justice Initiative, is as thorough a portrayal as you are likely to find. It includes a lengthy report on the history of lynching, as well as audio stories, a video exploring one family's experiences, interactive maps, even lesson plans for teaching about the topic.

I learned about the site from an NAACP magazine I receive along with my membership, which I began soon after Trump was elected.

Non-educators who want to know more about the topic will find the material valuable as well. However, I have to admit, I've only scanned the site. I find it too unsettling to see pictures or even read detailed descriptions of this horrific part of our history. I don't think teachers below the high school level would use the entire site with students, though it would certainly give the teachers the background to discuss lynching with younger children if they felt it was appropriate. I also imagine teachers using this material would warn students about the nature of the contents and give them alternative ways to fulfill class assignments.

Here's how the "About" page describes the site and its purpose.
The Equal Justice Initiative believes we need to change the narrative about race in America in order to advance our collective goal of equal justice for all. As part of this work, we extensively researched the period between the Civil War and World War II, when over 4,000 African Americans were lynched in this country. We published our findings in the report Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, the most comprehensive work done on lynching to date. Many racial terror lynchings, however, went unreported and their victims remain unknown.
The entire report is included on the site.

Much of the funding for the organization and this project came from Google, which has contributed $2.5 million to EJI.

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