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Journal Article

Citation

Beck EM, Tolnay SE. Social Currents 2019; 6(4): 319-342.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2019, Southern Sociological Society, Publisher SAGE Publishing)

DOI

10.1177/2329496519835390

PMID

unavailable

Abstract

Prior research has revealed a great deal about the frequency of southern lynchings and how and why they varied in intensity across space and over time. In this study, we consider two characteristics of lynching incidents about which there has been much speculation, but little actual evidence: (1) whether the victim was tortured before death and (2) whether the victim's corpse was desecrated. We use data on 3,767 completed lynchings in 11 southern states between 1877 and 1950 to describe the frequency with which antemortem torture and postmortem desecration occurred and to determine what factors were most important in shaping the likelihood of both. We conclude that 7.7 percent of victims were physically tortured prior to death and that 8.2 percent had their bodies desecrated. Both torture and desecration were more likely to occur after 1910 and when lynchings were carried out by larger mobs. Victims accused of gender-related crimes were more likely than others to be tortured or desecrated.


Language: en

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