Tuscaloosa County Memorial

Source Type: Visual Culture
Publisher: Mark Hilton
Date of publication: 1/19/2020 0:00

Thousands of African Americans were victims of lynching and racial violence in the United
States between the Civil War and World War II. The lynching of African Americans during this
era was a form of racial terrorism used to intimidate black people and enforce racial
hierarchy and segregation. Lynching was most prevalent in the South. After the Civil War,
violent resistance to equal rights for African Americans and an ideology of white supremacy
led to fatal violence against black women, men, and children accused of violating social
customs, engaging in interracial relationships, or crimes. Community leaders who spoke
against this racial terror were themselves often targeted by violent mobs. Lynching became
the most public and notorious form of racial terror and subordination directed at black people
and was frequently tolerated or even supported by law enforcement and elected officials.
Though terror lynching generally took place in communities with functioning criminal justice
systems, lynching victims were denied due process, often based on mere accusations, and
pulled from jails or delivered to mobs by law officers legally required to protect them.
Millions of African Americans fled the South to escape the climate of terror and trauma
created by these acts of violence. Of the more than 350 documented racial terror lynchings
that took place in Alabama between 1877 and 1950, eight took place in Tuscaloosa County.