Anti-lynching movement

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The anti-lynching movement was a civil rights movement in the United States that aimed to eradicate the practice of lynching. Lynching was used as a tool to repress African Americans.[1] The anti-lynching movement reached its height between the 1890s and 1930s. The movement was composed mainly of African Americans who tried to persuade politicians to put an end to the practice, but after the failure of this strategy, they pushed for anti-lynching legislation. African American women helped in the formation of the movement[2] and a large part of the movement was composed of women's organizations.[3]

The first anti-lynching movement was characterized by black convention meets, which were organized in the immediate aftermath of individual incidents. The movement gained wider national support in the 1890s. During this period, two organizations spearheaded the movement - the Afro-American League (AAL) and the National Equal Rights Council (NERC).[3]

Ida B. Wells was a significant figure in the anti-lynching movement. After the lynchings of her three friends, she condemned the lynchings in the newspapers Free Speech and Headlight, both owned by her. Because of her anti-lynching campaigning she received death threats from racist rioters.[3]

In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was established. The formation of this organization was a significant event in the history of the anti-lynching movement. The NAACP formed a special committee in 1916 in order to push for anti-lynching legislation and to enlighten the public about lynching.[3]

According to Noralee Frankel, the anti-lynching movement had its origin in the freedom movements after the end of the American Civil War, and that it cannot be described only as a result of the reforms during the Progressive Era.[4]


  1. ^ Cedric J. Robinson (20 February 1997). Black Movements in America. Psychology Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-415-91222-8. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Lynne E. Ford (2008). Encyclopedia of Women and American Politics. Infobase Publishing. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-4381-1032-5. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Paul Finkelman (November 2007). Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-First Century. Oxford University Press. pp. 78–82. ISBN 978-0-19-516779-5. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Noralee Frankel (22 December 1994). Gender, Class, Race, and Reform in the Progressive Era. University Press of Kentucky. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-8131-0841-4. Retrieved 12 April 2012.