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The Anti-Lynching Movement

Lynching was a form of repression that consisted in killing people by extrajudicial mob action that lasted from the late 18th century to the 1960s. Many of the people killed were African Americans who lived in the south of the US who were fighting for their right to vote and for equality rights. White supremacists suppressed them to stop their support towards the Populist Party in order for whites to keep political control. Violence continued against black activists who had to endure house bombings and other forms of hate crimes against them. As a result, the anti-lynching movement was born.

The anti-lynching movement peaked from 1890 to 1930 and was made up mainly by African Americans that worked to convince politicians to prevent lynching, but lacking results, an anti-lynching law was pushed. It was made up mainly of female African Americans and women’s organizations. The movement started after lynching incidents that were followed up by black group meetings that gained nationwide support in the 1980s. The Afro-American League and the National Equal Rights Council leaded the movement during this time. A notable activist in this movement was Ida Wells. She condemned the lynching of three of her friends in her Free Speech and Headlight newspapers. Due to her anti-lynching activism she was victim of death threats and racist rioters. Noralee Frankel claims that the anti-lynching campaign not only had its birth as a result of the reforms during the Progressive Era but also due to the freedom campaigns at the finish of the American Civil War.

All in all, the anti-lynching movement was born thanks to the contributions of many African American activists. Legislation now protects all people from lynching. We still have to work hard to teach each other we all have equal rights. Grassroots movements are the best way starting with our schools, neighborhoods, sports clubs, libraries and fairs. The movement lives on today as we still have a long way to go to ensure the wellbeing of all our brothers and sisters, regardless of their nationality or ethnic origin. Even though the constitution grants African Americans equal rights, there are still many African Americans dying in hate related crimes like the recent Ferguson shooting were a police officer shot an African American teenager for stealing a box of cigarettes. Is the life of a black teenager worth some cigarettes? I don’t think so.


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