04:30 PM to 07:10 PM T
Section Information for Fall 2021
Although the Equal Justice Initiative has counted 4075 African Americans who were lynched between 1877 and 1950, inadequate documentation in an age of racial terrorism means an accurate count is lost to history. Over the past 30 years however an impressive array of lynching scholarship has developed into a burgeoning field that demonstrates the central role of violence in recasting white supremacy for a postbellum southern order that also had national implications. Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, lynching emerged as a mechanism for maintaining a virulent form of white supremacy that upheld disenfranchisement, reinforced economic and social exploitation, and compelled Black subservience. In converting Black men into “black beasts” who were especially prone to raping white women, white supremacists were able to inflame a race hatred narrative that justified the South’s approach to extralegal system of racist violence. However, the actual charges against the victims, who were afforded no right to due process, ranged from the serious to the trivial, with many being lynched not for an alleged crime but for failing to properly conform to the system of racial subordination. While many of the lynchings could be labeled as routine murders that were mostly performed privately, others were created as spectacles of entertainment involving mutilation and sexual torture, and forced confessions before death. In these cases, the mob of spectators and lynchers frequently would pose for postcard pictures and grab souvenirs in the form of body parts as well as tree bark, branches and leaves marked by blood. The course will cover four main areas of inquiry. It will explore the factors that account for the rise and fall of lynching and its spatial and temporal distribution in the South. It will examine the characteristics of the lynched as well as the lynchers, including connections with law enforcement and local judicial systems. It will cover antilynching campaigns by organizations and the resistance of Black communities. Although the course is concentrated on the lynchings of Black men in the South who formed the majority of lynch victims there, the course will also examine the circumstances that led to the lynching of Black women as well as the characteristics of lynchings in sections of the country where there were few Blacks.
WMST 600 DL1 is a distance education section. Students will be required to meet synchronously during the scheduled days/times.
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Enrollment limited to students with a class of Advanced to Candidacy, Graduate, Junior Plus, Non-Degree or Senior Plus.
Enrollment is limited to Graduate, Non-Degree or Undergraduate level students.
Students in a Non-Degree Undergraduate degree may not enroll.