The Making of a Lynching Culture
Violence and Vigilantism in Central Texas, 1836-1916
Awards and Recognition:
Winner of the Richard L. Wentworth Prize in American History, 2005.
How a culture of violence legitimized lynching among ordinary people
On May 15, 1916, a crowd of fifteen thousand witnessed the lynching of an eighteen-year-old black farm worker named Jesse Washington. Most central Texans of the time failed to call for the punishment of the mob’s leaders. In The Making of a Lynching Culture, now in paperback, William D. Carrigan seeks to explain not how a fiendish mob could lynch one man but how a culture of violence that nourished this practice could form and endure for so long among ordinary people.
Beginning with the 1836 independence of Texas, The Making of a Lynching Culture reexamines traditional explanations of lynching, including the role of the frontier, economic tensions, and political conflicts. Using a voluminous body of court records, newspaper accounts, oral histories, and other sources, Carrigan shows how notions of justice and historical memory were shaped to glorify violence and foster a culture that legitimized lynching.
“The Making of a Lynching Culture ranks among the best local studies of lynching and will be of great interest to students of Texas history and the history of violence in the United States.”--Journal of American History
"Writing in a crisp, clear style and demonstrating an impressive mastery of a wide range of primary and secondary sources, Carrigan raises several important questions about the evolution of the lynching culture in the South. . . . The quality of the research makes this study a detailed and judicious work that opens new paths for further work and enhances our global comprehension of this tragic phenomenon."--Journal of Social History
"This is a carefully researched, well-written, and insightful study. Carrigan's masterful treatment of violence, race, and memory warrants a wide readership. . . . Carrigan is to be complimented for shedding new light on the darker side of Texas and American History."--Western Historical Quarterly
To order online:
To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)
The Struggle to Free a Slave on the Eve of the Civil War
American Mob Violence Outside the South
Edited by Michael J. Pfeifer
Gender and Slavery in Antebellum Georgia
Daina Ramey Berry
Illness in the Antebellum South
Marli F. Weiner
Religion and the Populist Revolution
The Civil War Intrigues of Charles A. Dunham
Benjamin P. Thomas
Unmarried Women in the Urban South, 1800-1865
Christine Jacobson Carter
Richard Whiteley and the Politics of Reconstruction
William Warren Rogers Jr.
A Tale of Murder, Lynching, and Reckoning in the New South
Claude A. Clegg III