Mission: To create a digital experience for a wide audience that sparks an honest conversation about America's long history of racial injustice and initiates a process of truth and reconciliation.
Background: In 2017, the Equal Justice Initiative, with support from Google, launched Lynching in America, a site that explores the history and legacy of racial terror in the United States, with a focus on the period from the Civil War to World War II, during which more than four thousand African Americans were lynched. Based on the EJI report Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, the interactive site tells the story of racial terror in America and explores how the legacy of that terror continues to shape the nation. To that end, the site identifies lynchings (defined by the NAACP as a killing by a mob of no fewer than three people) as violent and public acts of torture that traumatized black people around the country and were largely tolerated by state and federal officials — terrorism, in other words. Although the report and site are promoted by EJI as featuring the most comprehensive research on lynching to date, the organization notes that many racial terror lynchings and other incidents went unreported and their victims remain unknown.
Outstanding Web Features: The site features audio of stories told by the descendants of lynching victims that convey the long-lasting impact of those acts on their families and communities. Visitors to the site also can watch Uprooted, a short documentary that follows members of the Miles family as they travel to Louisiana to learn more about their great-grandfather, Thomas Miles, a black business owner who was lynched in Shreveport in 1912 for allegedly passing a note to a white woman; and explore an interactive map that details the locations and impact of lynchings across the South and elsewhere. Many historians, for example, believe that the sheer number of lynchings in the postbellum era — and the widespread fear they (and other acts of racial violence) created — helped fuel the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to the North and Midwest in the first half of the 20th century. Last but not least, the site invites visitors to learn more about EJI's efforts to end racial injustice and makes the original Lynching in America report available as a free download.