Visualizing Lynchings in the U.S. South, 1877-1950

Using comprehensive lynching data from the Beck-Tolnay Inventory,  I analyzed Southern episodes of lynching from 1877-1950 using Tableau software.

In the storyboard, you can play around with a few important variables (state, race, sex) to see differences in where lynchings took place, and the demographics of the victims. With the maps, you can identify the number of lynchings in an area down to the county level.

If clicking on the map below doesn’t take you to the story, just click here.


Southern Lynchings in the United States: 1877-1950

An Open Letter to the University of Mississippi Community

I’m very proud to be a part of the University of Mississippi’s Critical Race Studies Group. Below is the link to our open letter to the University concerning Confederate iconography on our campus. Please share widely!

An Open Letter to the University of Mississippi Community On Wednesday, September 30th, 2015, student leaders from the University of Mississippi’s College Democrats and the UM Chapter of the NAACP called, separately, for the disavowal of Confederate iconography across our campus, including, but not limited to, the Mississippi state flag. Evoking the University of Mississippi’s own declaration that the flag and what it represents no longer aligns with our community’s core values, these student leaders showed the courage and conviction required to make this campus safe and inclusive for all students, faculty, and staff.

Since September 30th, many other student organizations have also publicly condemned the display of the Mississippi state flag and other Confederate iconography on campus, including: the Black Student Union, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the University of Mississippi Pride Network, the University of Mississippi Black Law Students Association, and the International Student Organization. The Critical Race Studies Group, an interdisciplinary body of faculty and staff committed to racial justice and equity, is proud to declare our public support for these and any other student organizations for whom these symbols represent a threat, whether overt or subtle. We are here for you, and we want to work with you.

The near-daily presence of Confederate flags on cars and pick-up trucks parked on campus property, the continued display of Confederate merchandise in faculty and staff offices, the proud display of large Confederate flags in the historic Grove at every home football weekend, the continued playing of “Dixie” by the University band at home sporting events, and the referencing of our University as ‘Ole Miss’ (a term used by slaves to refer to white slaveholding women) over the University of Mississippi (the name of the institution) is not aligned with our institution’s stated commitment to inclusivity. Furthermore, these symbols serve as concrete barriers in our quest to truly transcend our institution’s legacy of racism.

As our state’s flagship public institution of higher education, the University of Mississippi has a unique responsibility to lead proactively on all matters of racial justice. As a leading institution of higher education committed to intellectual debate and discussion, we call on our University administration to show the same courage and conviction as these brave students.

In addition to an immediate disavowal of all Confederate iconography, we ask that our University leadership follow through on the recommendations provided by two outside consultants last year, and the ‘action plan’ from former Chancellor Dan Jones. Taken together, the Critical Race Studies Group asks the University to:

• Discontinue displaying the current state flag on campus.
• Give faculty, staff and students the option to use instead of
• Take an active and public role in supporting the efforts of Mississippi legislators, including House Speaker Phillip Gunn, U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, and U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, who are demanding the removal of the battle flag emblem from the state flag.
• Reinterpret and modify our physical landscape to accurately reflect our institution’s historic involvement with slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and the University’s challenges and achievements in the post-Civil Rights era.
• Make a tangible investment on the part of University leadership into ongoing research by faculty on matters related to race and racism.
• Catalogue and promote all past and present race- and racism-related research conducted at the University
• Condemn publicly and officially the use of all Confederate symbols on university property, including their display in faculty and staff offices, in the Grove, and on vehicles parked on campus property
• Organize a public forum to allow for a debate on the merits of these symbols on our own campus. Such a conversation should be the hallmark of a leading liberal arts institution.

By confronting openly the presence of emblems of the Confederacy and white supremacy on our campus, we would be acting in concert with other leading public institutions such as Clemson University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Texas at Austin. The above changes, when combined, help tangibly demonstrate an ongoing, public recommitment to end the legacy of white supremacy on our campus.

After the Civil War, prominent Mississippi segregationists such as L.C.Q. Lamar and James K. Vardaman, both of whom have campus buildings named in their honor, continued to reinforce white supremacy. A critical rethinking of who and what we want to represent may help the campus community address how our racist past continues to affect campus life today. We recognize that these small changes alone will not disestablish the legacy of white supremacy on our campus. However, they are necessary first steps in moving towards a more inclusive, respectful, and enriching university community.


The Critical Race Studies Group
University of Mississippi

The Critical Race Studies Group is an interdisciplinary group of scholars and staff dedicated to the identifying and dismantling of racial and other inequalities at the University of Mississippi and elsewhere. For more information, see

Posted by University of Mississippi Critical Race Studies Group on Thursday, October 15, 2015