Lynching in Maryland

Between 1920 and 1938, the NAACP flew a flag outside its headquarters on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

“Between 1920 and 1938, the NAACP flew a flag outside its headquarters on Fifth Avenue in New York City. 

“What do we know about these racist attacks and how should we confront this horrific history today?” was the question introducing the Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU 88.5. Titled “Lynching in Maryland: Confronting a Legacy of Local Violence,” the program asking this question was introduced with “Many people associate the Deep South with lynchings. But at least 40 happened in Maryland.”

This caller answered that initial question in this manner:

“White people tend to know little about the history of lynchings – the postcards depicting lynchings that were freely sent through the mail, the picnic-style settings in which some lynchings took place with a gathering of townspeople including children, and how the ruse of protecting white women covered up other reasons for lynchings, such as greed. We need to make the effort to learn, to teach, to join with Will Schwarz and Nicholas Creary’s (Maryland Lynching Memorial Project) initiative, and to utilize the offer of the Equal Justice Initiative to give us the duplicate columns for the lynchings which occurred in our counties (duplicate columns from EJI’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama).

Research-based fiction is another way to learn and to teach; Well Considered (2010) by Richard Morris is based on a lynching in Prince George’s County, MD, and Sycamore Row (2013) by John Grisham tells the same land-grab story but in Mississippi and from a different point of view. Morris’s research uncovered more Maryland lynchings than are identified by the Equal Justice Initiative, but EJI had stricter criteria for what qualified.”

EJI’s criteria included “African Americans killed by two or more Caucasian Americans between 1877 and 1950 and individuals whose murders could be documented with two or more primary sources.”




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