University of Alabama History Class Documents Lynchings That Occurred Near Campus

Students in a history class at the University of Alabama have conducted extensive research on lynchings that occurred in and around Tuscaloosa between 1884 and 1950. Their research found eight lynchings occurred in Tuscaloosa County and two other Black men from Tuscaloosa were lynched in nearby counties.

The class “Southern Memory: Lynchings in the South,” examined the history and legal environment that led to more than 4,000 lynchings of African Americans in the post-Reconstruction period through the civil rights era. After gaining a general background on the subject of lynching, students were assigned research to document the story of an individual lynching victim.

The research will eventually be posted online on a digital humanities website. On Monday March 6, a historical plaque bearing the names of the lynching victims was unveiled in front of the old Tuscaloosa Jail, where some of the victims were housed before they were taken from the facility and lynched.

A new class that will examine lynchings in Alabama’s Bibb or Jefferson County will be held during the Fall 2017 semester.

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  1. Thank you for teaching accountability. This is what a University should do. I love the name of the class: “Southern Memory: Lynchings in the South”. Some Southerners have selective memory. When I think of the Monuments bill which is considered in the Alabama legislature which is designed to preserve confederate statues and edifices because it is Southern heritage it is important to remember the victims of that time and its ideology. Growing up my mother told me of three of her relatives in Pickens County who were lynched, castrated and had logs rolled over them. Each died. She said it took the gentleman who was castrated three days to die. I used to resent those stories because they were so sad. Now I am so grateful she shared that brutal history, Thank you for keeping it real.

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