During America's long and dark history with lynching, newspapers across the country have proved to be a powerful medium shaping public understanding. Through local headlines, articles, advertisements, and opinion pieces, newspapers can be seen acting as both a catalyst for public killings and a platform for advocating for reform.
This project aims to shed light on the gruesome culture of lynching. It also seeks to find nuance in its history and legacy. How did Americans explain the public killing of well over 4,500 neighbors? Who were the victims and who were the killers? With the support of the Library of Congress and the Chronicling America historic newspaper database, we can begin to know those stories.
The robust Chronicling America API is paired with landmark lynching data from Tuskegee University as well as case files from the open source collaborative Project HAL, which seeks to document individual lynching histories. Taken together, they offer tools to chart a new path into the subject of media and race in American history.