The Victims of Southern Mob Violence

By Amy Kate Bailey, Stewart E. Tolnay

296 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 25 drawings, 3 halftones, 18 tables, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2087-9
    Published: June 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2088-6
    Published: May 2015
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4738-6
    Published: May 2015

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Awards & distinctions

2015 IPUMS (Integrated Public Use Microdata Series) Research Award, Minnesota Population Center

On July 9, 1883, twenty men stormed the jail in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana, kidnapped Henderson Lee, a black man charged with larceny, and hanged him. Events like this occurred thousands of times across the American South in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, yet we know scarcely more about any of these other victims than we do about Henderson Lee. Drawing on new sources to provide the most comprehensive portrait of the men and women lynched in the American South, Amy Bailey and Stewart Tolnay's revealing profiles and careful analysis begin to restore the identities of--and lend dignity to--hundreds of lynching victims about whom we have known little more than their names and alleged offenses.

Comparing victims' characteristics to those of African American men who were not lynched, Bailey and Tolnay identify the factors that made them more vulnerable to being targeted by mobs, including how old they were; what work they did; their marital status, place of birth, and literacy; and whether they lived in the margins of their communities or possessed higher social status. Assessing these factors in the context of current scholarship on mob violence and reports on the little-studied women and white men who were murdered in similar circumstances, this monumental work brings unprecedented clarity to our understanding of lynching and its victims.

About the Authors

Amy Bailey is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
For more information about Amy Kate Bailey, visit the Author Page.

Stewart Tolnay is S. Frank Miyamoto Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington.
For more information about Stewart E. Tolnay, visit the Author Page.


β€œ[The] book that many lynching scholars have been waiting for.”--Journal of American History

β€œThe single most important piece of scholarship yet produced on the victims of lynching.”--Journal of Southern History

β€œAn indispensable resource for a wide range of scholars, not only those studying racial and ethnic violence but those studying other hate crimes as well.”--American Historical Review

β€œA landmark contribution to the literature about lynching. . . . All future scholars in the field will be indebted to [this] work.”--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

β€œA phenomenal study in many ways--deeply researched and convincingly argued. . . . Scholars of lynching will be indebted to their work for years to come.”--American Journal of Sociology

β€œNot only does [Lynched] rescue hundreds of lynching victims from anonymity, it also models a way forward for further study of the phenomenon.”--Arkansas Historical Quarterly