In the late 19th century, lynchings were the only latest form of racial terrorism against black Americans after white plantation owners had used various forms of violence against the enslaved.
According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), tension had begun brewing throughout the late 19th century in the U.S., and this was mostly felt in the south, where people blamed their financial woes on the newly freed slaves that lived among them.
Whites resorted to lynching as a form of retaliation towards the freed blacks. What mostly triggered these lynchings were claims of petty crime, rape, or any alleged sexual contact between black men and white women. Whites started lynching because they felt it was crucial to protect white women.
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From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States. Of these people that were lynched, 3,446 were black. The blacks lynched accounted for 72.7% of the people lynched, according to the NAACP, which was quick to add that not all of the lynchings were ever recorded.
Out of the 4,743 people lynched only 1,297 white people were lynched, that is, 27.3%. These whites were lynched for domestic crimes, helping the black or being against lynching.
“A typical lynching would involve criminal accusations, often dubious, against a black American, an arrest, and the assembly of a “lynch mob” intent on subverting the normal constitutional judicial process,” a report by The Guardian said.
It added that victims were seized and tortured, with many being hung from a tree and set on fire. Some were dismembered and their pieces of flesh and bone were taken by mob members as souvenirs.
Below are the top 5 American states that had the highest lynchings from 1882-1968: