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American Lynching

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After observing the varying reactions to the 1998 death of James Byrd Jr. in Texas, called a lynching by some, denied by others, Ashraf Rushdy determined that to comprehend this event he needed to understand the long history of lynching in the United States. In this meticulously researched and accessibly written interpretive history, Rushdy shows how lynching in America has endured, evolved, and changed in meaning over the course of three centuries, from its origins in early Virginia to the present day.

Rushdy argues that we can understand what lynching means in American history by examining its evolution—that is, by seeing how the practice changes in both form and meaning over the course of three centuries, by analyzing the rationales its advocates have made in its defense, and, finally, by explicating its origins. The best way of understanding what lynching has meant in different times, and for different populations, during the course of American history is by seeing both the continuities in the practice over time and the specific features in different forms of lynching in different eras. 

240 pages, Hardcover

First published October 30, 2012

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About the author

Ashraf H.A. Rushdy

9 books3 followers
Ashraf H.A. Rushdy is a Professor of African American Studies and English at Wesleyan University.

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Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
Profile Image for Clare.
47 reviews4 followers
December 19, 2014
Gives an accommodating but also specific redefinition of what a lynching is. The author gives a different framework for what lynching is and how it came about. The usual way people have thought of lynching is a specific act but looking at it from a historical standpoint gives it a continuity to transcends the traditional narrow definition. Rushdy also uses the history of African Americans as the foundational basis towards understanding what and how lynching came about and how it has changed over time giving clues to how it is still alive today.
Profile Image for Ryan Kline.
37 reviews1 follower
February 25, 2021
Amazing depiction of the transitional violence between Reconstruction and the era of lynching! Will definitely use in my research!
564 reviews3 followers
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June 5, 2022
Georgetown Peabody Library 305.8 RUSHDY
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