Sociologist says northern newspapers should apologize for how THEY covered lynchingsHistorians in the News
tags: racism, lynching
... In a landmark move, The Montgomery Advertiser recently apologizedfor its role in justifying and promoting lynching. But many Northern papers were just as complicit.
Consider these headlines about Southern lynchings from The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, respectively: “Negro Brute Lynched: Attempted Assault on Young Daughter of a Farmer,” “Criminal Calendar: Two Murderous and Thieving Negroes Lynched by a Kentucky Mob.”
In 1893 The Saint Paul Daily Globe ran the headline “Deserved It All: A Brutal Negro Lynched by Indignant Farmers.” From The Brooklyn Daily World in 1891: “This Brute Lynched. Tennessee Negro Pays the Penalty for a Fiendish Crime.”
The New York Times ran the headline “A Brutal Negro Lynched” 11 times from 1880 to 1891.
Sometimes Northern papers were simply parroting their white Southern sources, but the papers were no better when reporting on lynchings in their home states. In 1889, for example, The Michigan Herald ran the headline:
The Michigan Herald also printed a note supposedly written by the white woman who accused the lynched man of assault: “Never did soldiers die on any battle field for a more holy and righteous cause than did these brave boys for the purity of their homes, for mothers, daughters, and sisters.”
My research, and that of many others, shows that Northern newspapers slowly and unevenly became more critical of lynching starting around the 1890s when activists like Ida B. Wells made American lynching an embarrassment in the eyes of the “civilized world” (Britain and Europe generally). ...
comments powered by Disqus
- Trump administration says joint UNC, Duke Middle East Studies program portrays Islam too positively
- What White Kids Learn About Race in School
- Frederick Douglass photos smashed stereotypes. Could Elizabeth Warren selfies do the same?
- Chronicling New York’s Muslim History
- New Documents Illuminate The University of Texas’s Secret Strategy to Keep Out Black Students
- Women Scientists Were Written Out of History. It’s Margaret Rossiter’s Lifelong Mission to Fix That
- Allen C. Guelzo Reviews Sidney Blumenthal's Latest Installment of His Biography of Lincoln
- What Reconstruction-Era Laws Can Teach Our Democracy: The NY Times Reviews Eric Foner's Latest Book
- Should historians read their own book?
- Cokie Roberts, Pioneering Journalist Who Helped Shape NPR, Dies At 75