By Aramide Timudu
Between 1877 and 1950, over 4,000 African-Americas were lynched in the United States. In 1912, Thomas Miles Sr., a Black business owner, as lynched in Shreveport, La. for allegedly passing a note to a White woman. His story is one of many that have inflicted pain and terror on Black communities throughout the United States.
Now, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), with the help of Google, is bringing these stories to life. Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror is an online interactive project (lynchinginamerica.eji.org) that sheds light on this horrific chapter of our history, making the information accessible to anyone wishing to seek it out. Those who visit the website will discover the results of years of EJI research and data regarding the victims and also hear from their descendants. Through six audio stories and a short documentary, Uprooted, visitors will learn how these murders have affected the families and the Black community for generations. As the site states, lynchings were “public acts of racial terrorism, intended to instill fear in entire black communities.” More often than not, they also went unchecked by local governments.
Said EJI Executive Director Bryan Stevenson, “I don’t think we can create a generation of people in this country who are truly free, who are unburdened by this legacy and this history of racial terror until we do the hard work of truth-telling.”
The interactive site is just one project from EJI. In 2018, the organization is scheduled open a memorial for the victims of lynching at the From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration Museum in Montgomery, Ala.