It is easy to shrink from our countryas brutal history of lynching. Lynching is called the last great skeleton in our nationas closet: It terrorized all of black America, claimed thousands upon thousands of victims in the decades between the 1880s and the Second World War, and leaves invisible but deep scars to this day. The cost of pushing lynching into the shadows, howeveramisremembering it as isolated acts perpetrated by bigots on societyas fringesais insupportably high: Until we understand how pervasive and socially accepted the practice wasaand, more important, why this was soait will haunt all efforts at racial reconciliation. aI could not suppress the thought, a James Baldwin once recalled of seeing the red clay hills of Georgia on his first trip to the South, athat this earth had acquired its color from the blood that had dripped down from these trees.a Throughout America, not just in the South, blacks accused of a crimeaor merely of violating social or racial customsawere hunted by mobs, abducted from jails, and given summary ajusticea in blatant defiance of all guarantees of due process under law. Men and women were shot, hanged, tortured, and burned, often in sadistic, picnic-like aspectacle lynchingsa involving thousands of witnesses. aAt the hands of persons unknowna was the official verdict rendered on most of these atrocities. The celebrated historian Philip Dray shines a clear, bright light on this dark historyaits causes, perpetrators, apologists, and victims. He also tells the story of the men and women who led the long and difficult fight to expose and eradicate lynching, including Ida B. Wells, James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, and W.E.B. Du Bois. If lynching is emblematic of what is worst about America, their fight may stand for what is best: the love of justice and fairness and the conviction that one individualas sense of right can suffice to defy the gravest of wrongs. This landmark book follows the trajectory of both forces over American historyaand makes the history of lynching belong to us all. From the Hardcover edition.This landmark book follows the trajectory of both forces over American historyaand makes the history of lynching belong to us all. From the Hardcover edition.
|Title||:||At the Hands of Persons Unknown|
|Publisher||:||Modern Library - 2007-12-18|