10 American States With the Most Lynchings of Black People From 1882-1968


terrorism against the Black community


While Kentucky doesn’t have quite as many lynchings on record as other states in the South, it does have some of the most gruesome and heinous accounts of lynchings that took place during this time. Reports indicate that 205 people were lynched in the state during this time frame and 142 of them were Black. They all met with unbelievably inhumane deaths. A glimpse of just how much terrorism Blacks faced in Kentucky can be found in the March 25, 1871 letter sent to the U.S. Congress asking for protection from the Ku Klux Klan for the newly-freed African Americans in Kentucky. In the book Racial violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940 Dr. George C. Wright says “the letter was from Colored citizens of Frankfort & vicinity, signed by Henry Marrs, a teacher; Henry Lynn, a livery stable keeper; N. N. Trumbo, a grocer; Samuel Damsey; B. Smith, a blacksmith; and B. T. Crampton, a barber.” The document contained a list of 116 incidents of beatings, shootings, hangings, tarring and feathering, and other violence that had taken place around the state.



South Carolina

With 160 lynchings throughout the state, South Carolina had the 10th highest number of lynchings during this time. Only four of the victims were white, according to the Tuskegee Institute’s data. Most of the victims were innocent Black men like Anthony Crawford, who was brutally murdered for getting in a verbal altercation with a white man. Crawford’s death serves as a reminder that Black people did not have to be accused of rape or murder to become the targets of white mobs. Crawford simply got into a verbal disagreement over the price of cottonseed. When he attempted to leave the store, one of the employees hit him over the head with an ax handle, according to Elizabeth Rauh Bethel’s Promiseland, A Century of Life in a Negro Community, which was published by the University of South Carolina. An officer arrested Crawford to protect him from the white mob he suspected was already gathering. Soon after he was released, however, Crawford was hunted down by the white mob and brutally attacked. He was taken into police custody again but this time authorities couldn’t protect him. The mob stormed the jail and abducted Crawford, Bethel writes. He was eventually discovered hanging from a tree and was described in the press as being “shot to pieces.”

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