The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Lynchings Replaced by Capital Punishment

Feb 16, 2015

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) recently released a report, “Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror,” which documents lynchings in twelve Southern states during the period between Reconstruction and World War II. The report shows lynchings were part of a system of racial terror designed to subjugate blacks.

The report also points out that the lynchings have been replaced with capital punishment: “By 1915, court-ordered executions outpaced lynchings in the former slave states for the first time. Two-thirds of those executed in the 1930s were black, and the trend continued.”

“As African Americans fell to just 22 percent of the South’s population between 1910 and 1950, they constituted 75 percent of those executed in the South during that period.”

“Race remains a significant factor in capital sentencing. African Americans make up less than 13 percent of the nation’s population, but nearly 42 percent of those currently on death row in America are black, and 34 percent of those executed since 1976 have been black.”

“More than eight in ten American lynchings between 1889 and 1918 occurred in the South, and more than eight in ten of the nearly 1400 legal executions carried out in this country since 1976 have been in the South.”

Lynching today is carried out under the guise of legality of capital punishment.