Cover for TOLNAY: A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930

A Festival of Violence

An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930
Awards and Recognition:

Outstanding Book from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America

This finely detailed statistical study of lynching in ten southern states shows that economic and status concerns were at the heart of that violent practice. Stewart Tolnay and E. M. Beck empirically test competing explanations of the causes of lynching, using U.S. Census and historical voting data and a newly constructed inventory of southern lynch victims. Among their surprising findings: lynching responded to fluctuations in the price of cotton, decreasing in frequency when prices rose and increasing when they fell.

"A Festival of Violence is a first-rate piece of research and analysis on a topic of considerable historical importance. It represents a model exercise of using the historical and sociological literature to develop hypotheses and then analyzing them with social science tools to present the results in a broad historical, social scientific context. This is an important work of scholarship, of interest to historians and social scientists, as well as to those concerned with the study of African-Americans and the U.S. South."--Stanley L. Engerman, professor of economics and history, University of Rochester

Stewart E. Tolnay, a professor of sociology and director of the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis at the State University of New York at Albany, is coeditor of The Changing American Family: Sociological and Demographic Perspectives. E.M. Beck, professor and head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Georgia, is coauthor of Industrial Invasion of Nonmetropolitan America.

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