Racial Terror: Lynching in Virginia, 1877-1927 is an ongoing research project examining one of the darkest, yet almost forgotten, pages of American history: the lynching of thousands of people between the end of Reconstruction and the 1930s in the US South. In particular, this website focuses on telling the stories of all the 104 known lynching victims who were killed in Virginia between 1877 and 1927, most of them African American men. Even though a small number of the victims of mob violence were white, lynching was essentially a form of state-sanctioned terrorism against African Americans – almost none of the lynchers ever faced trial, and even fewer were indicted for their crimes. Lynching was indeed a key institution in the preservation of white supremacy in the Jim Crow South.
In addition to telling the stories of lynching that so often have been erased from local histories and collective memories, this website also stores more than 500 historical newspaper articles describing those barbaric acts of ‘popular justice’. These articles are available for anyone to read and use for their own research. A map of Virginia is also provided to display where each lynching occurred.
As this project is a work in progress, the website will be periodically updated with information about events, sources, tools to explore the database, as well as in-depth investigations of single lynchings and analysis of geographical, temporal and sociological patterns of racial violence in Virginia.