HISTORY, HORROR, HEALING


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History, Horror, Healing
Faculty deliberations on lynching photography examine racial and historical understanding

The images bring up such visceral feelings . . . , we're not really having the right kinds of conversations in this shared moment of seeing those pictures.
Natasha Barnes, Assistant Professor of English

Among other things, these pictures ask how this torture could be committed by people who in other aspects of their lives were reasonable, law-abiding citizens.
Mark Bauerlein, Professor of English

Lynching in America
Selected Resources

The need for this grisly photographic display may be disputed for catering to voyeuristic appetites and for perpetuating images of black victimization. This is not an easy history to assimilate. It is a necessarily painful and ugly story, as it includes some of the bleakest examples of violence and dehumanization in the history of humankind. The intention is not to depict blacks only as victims or whites only as victimizers, but the extent and quality of the violence unleashed on black men and women in the name of enforcing black deference and subordination cannot be avoided or minimized. Obviously, it is easier to choose the path of collective amnesia, to erase such memories, to sanitize our past. It is far easier to view what is depicted on these pages as so depraved and barbaric as to be beyond the realm of reason. That enables us to dismiss what we see as an aberration, as the work of crazed fiends and psychopaths. But such a dismissal would rest on dubious and dangerous assumptions.

--Leon F. Litwack, Morrison Professor of American History,
University of California, from his essay "Hellhounds," in Without Sanctuary