The purpose of this unit is, within the context of an honors U.S. History II or Civics class, to have students confront the uncomfortable history of lynching in America. Students generally understand that lynching existed, that the majority of cases involved African American victims, and that it may have had to do with the KKK and scaring African Americans from voting. Students will, through research, debate, and presentations, go deeper, to explore the deep cultural divide between southern whites and blacks, the often sexual nature of the accusations against the victims, the extent of acceptance of the act by townspeople and onlookers. Most of all, students will analyze the near hidden central truth: The history of lynching in the South and the West shows that without due process, justice is fleeting and weak. It is a truth that transcends race.
(Developed for U. S. History II and Civics, grade 11; recommended for U. S. History II and Civics, grade 11)