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On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the Twenty-First Century

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Nearly 5,000 black Americans were lynched between 1890 and 1960, and as Sherrilyn Ifill argues, the effects of this racial trauma continue to resound. While the lynchings were devastating, the little-known contemporary consequences, such as the marginalization of political and economic development for blacks, are equally pernicious. Ifill traces the lingering effects of tw ...more
Hardcover, 204 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Beacon Press (MA) (first published January 1st 2007)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
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 ·  44 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Kris Sieloff
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I ordered this book after encountering oral history transcriptions of a specific lynching that occurred in Salisbury, of Matthew Williams in 1931. The Director of the Nabb Center, Creston Long, alerted me to this book, which proved to be a thoroughly researched account of multiple lynchings on the Easter Shore; Ifill makes a strong argument regarding the dire need for reconciliation and reparations for the terror inflicted on the black population. It was at times a difficult read, but an importa ...more
Tonda Williams
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Riveting and powerful. Exceptionally written. EVERYONE interested in history should read this book. It truly opens your eyes to American History. The author is truly a phenomenal person and woman!!!
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Author's effort to bring attention to the sordid history of lynchings and ongoing quiet complicity within the local communities is timely. This is especially so given the thinly veiled welcome to ongoing discrimination and injustice being perpetrated upon people of color in the United States by the elected leadership in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, Ms.Ifill's constant and lengthy repetitions throughout the book of facts and details surrounding the lynchings quickly loses the reader's attentio ...more
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
There's a really good book in here somewhere. There's a lot of shameful history that deserves to be known (and taught), Ifill has some really good points. But the first half is confusingly written, jumping back and forth in time, and repetitious. I was quite confused in places. In many ways it reads like a doctoral dissertation. If I weren't reading this for my book club, I'd have given up on it early on.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Such a difficult read that I'm celebrating it's completion with a piece of chocolate cake. Professor Ifill "issues a clarion call for the many American communities with histories of racial violence to be proactive in facing this legacy." The reason that I applaud Ifill's work is that she actually provides concrete ideas for communities to accomplish truth-telling, reparation and racial reconciliation. Bravo!
Gwen Lester-Cunningham
Very informative and very disturbing. This book relates the horrors of lynching and the systematic compliance and total acceptance of this treacherous procedure by law enforcement officers.
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Adam by: Prof. Stevenson
A thoughtful and thoughtprovoking expose. Professor Ifill challenges readers to find ways to confront the ugly history of lynching and the lasting scars that a failure to confront has left upon society and individuals.

Focusing primarily on Maryland's Eastern Shore, On the Courthouse Lawn documents in great detail a number of 20th century lynchings, many of which happened at or around local courthouses. This is not simple a show-and-tell tale though. Professor Ifill shows in great detail the grea
Apr 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, law
A very tough subject, often gripping for its story of man's inhumanity to man. What a horrific chapter in US History. The scary part of these accounts is that they took place on the eastern Shore of Maryland in the 1930s. People who were involved or complacent witnesses were alive at the same time as I, so this can not be dismissed as the far away past. Ifill, a civil rights lawyer and law professor paints a truly heart wrenching picture of the nature of lynching in society, and how it shaped bo ...more
Thomas DeWolf
Jun 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
There is one way to understand why we are where we are today; that is to understand history. So much of history has been white-washed, sanitized, hidden from us. This powerful book shines a light on one aspect of history that is difficult to face: the legacy of lynching of African American people in the United States. Ifill makes a powerful case for communities to confront their own history of lynching and racism and for readers to examine our own lives for ways in which we continue to be uncons ...more
Ifill posted at Beacon Broadside about the strange contrast between last fall, when nooses and racial tension filled the news, and where we seem to be now: on the brink of nominating our first black presidential candidate. She's a phenomenal writer.
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
A powerful introduction to the intersecting issues of race, history, and reconciliation on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The writing is concise but effective in capturing the chilling character of the events the author describes.
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