The United States has a brutal history of domestic violence. It is an ugly episode in our national history that has long been neglected. Of the several varieties of American violence, one type stands out as one of the most inhuman chapters in the history of the world—the violence committed against Negro citizens in America by white people. This unit of post Reconstruction Afro-American history will examine anti-Black violence from the 1880s to the 1950s. The phenomenon of lynching and the major race riots of this period, called the American Dark Ages by historian Rayford W. Logan, will be covered.
Immediately following the end of Reconstruction, the Federal Government of the United States restored white supremacist control to the South and adopted a “laissez-faire” policy in regard to the Negro. The Negro was betrayed by his country. This policy resulted in Negro disfranchisement, social, educational and employment discrimination, and peonage. Deprived of their civil and human rights, Blacks were reduced to a status of quasislavery or “second-class” citizenship. A tense atmosphere of racial hatred, ignorance and fear bred lawless mass violence, murder and lynching.
This unit is divided into three sections: 1) lynchings, 2) the most significant race riots between 1898 and 1943 and 3) the Black response to these acts of violence.