New Report Documents Nearly 4,000 Lynchings in the South, 102 in North Carolina

CHARLOTTE -- A new study released Tuesday found nearly 4,000 African-Americans were lynched in the South from 1877 to 1950, which is hundreds more than previously reported.

The report from the Equal Justice Iniative shows that 102 of those lynchings happened in North Carolina.

The Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte tells the story of this area.

"We've gone from slavery to segregation to civil rights," said Dr. Tom Hanchett, the museum's staff historian. "We've gone from fields to factory to finances to whatever we're doing next."

As uncomfortable as it is to deal with, lynching is a part of that story, too.

"The high point for lynching in the United States was right around 1900, and the Charlotte area had its share of lynchings," Hanchett said. "There were lynchings in Poplar Tent, in Charlotte itself, in Concord, in Salisbury."

According to the Equal Justice Initiative's new report, Rowan County was the most active lynching county in North Carolina, with seven reported incidents.

"It's painful," said Jeffrey Leak, a professor at UNC Charlotte and the director of the school's Center for the Study of the New South. "It hurts. It's a reminder of a very dark time in our country's history."

The study, a result of five years of research, found 3,959 incidents on lynching in 12 southern states from 1877 to 1950, which is at least 700 more than previously reported.

"Even with the numbers, as shocking as they are, there is still a great deal that we don't know," said Leak. "There are many stories that we will probably never have, in terms of documentation, but this is a good attempt to provide data for these silences that we've had historically."

And Leak says the report is a way to understand and to deal with the impact of those lynchings on our community today.

"To act as if the historical tension between blacks and whites... to deny those tensions is to let them fester even more," said Leak. "And it would be more productive for us as a society to address those kinds of things."

The Equal Justice Initiative plans to release a more detailed report in the coming weeks with the name of the victims of lynching.

The group's ultimate goal is to put up markers and memorials on selected sites where lynchings occurred.

To view the full report, visit: http://www.eji.org/files/EJI%20Lynching%20in%20America%20SUMMARY.pdf

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