Why North Carolina didn’t have more lynchings

“Lynchings were far more likely to occur in some regions of the South than others, and those patterns call into question easy assumptions about the forces behind lynching…. Although North Carolina witnessed the greatest amount of racial conflict in the political realm of any Southern state, including the brutal white supremacy campaign and Wilmington riot of 1898, the heavily black part of the state registered a remarkably low rate of lynching…..

“[Regions that did have high rates of lynching] shared a particular demography. [They] had an extremely low rural population density [and] in the last two decades of the 19th century they experienced tremendous rates of black population increase.”

— From “The Promise of the New South: Life After Reconstruction” by Edward L. Ayers (2007)

Some readers may struggle with the distinction between lynchings and the bloody coup d’etat in Wilmington.

One thought on “Why North Carolina didn’t have more lynchings”

  1. Most research into lynchings in North Carolina has woefully underestimated the number of such events in this state, typically ranging from 30 to 90 since the Civil War. Over the last 14 years I have documented 158 lynchings in the state during that period, and have a list of 80+ ‘possibles’ that are still being investigated. I don’t really consider that a ‘remarkably low rate of lynching’. North Carolinian scholars have been patting themselves on the back about this for many years, and need to stop doing so.

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