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[Detail] Preface from Punchinello 1, no.1 (1870).

Historical Issues-Analysis and Decision-Making: The Problem of Lynching

When federal regulation of Southern states ended and federal troops were withdrawn at the end of Reconstruction, the situation for African Americans in the South deteriorated. Jim Crow laws were passed requiring segregation in transportation and other public facilities, laws were passed that effectively disenfranchised African Americans, and black people were terrorized through various forms of violence, including lynching. Read Frederick Douglass's article, "Lynch Law in the South," in The North American Review, July 1892. (To learn more about the scope of the lynching problem, you may want to consult the Timeline of African American History that accompanies the African American Perspectives collection in American Memory.)

  • What explanation did Douglass give for the increase in lynching?
  • Whom did Douglass hold responsible for lynching?
  • What remedies did Douglass recommend?
  • What course of action would you have recommended to combat lynching in the late 1800s?
  • Conduct research to find out what actions were taken to deal with the problem of lynching. When and how was the problem of lynching solved?