Searching through America’s past for the last 45 years, collector James Allen uncovered an extraordinary visual legacy: lynching photographs and postcards taken as souvenirs at lynchings throughout America. With essays by Hilton Als, Leon Litwack, Congressman John Lewis, and James Allen, these photographs have been published as a book “Without Sanctuary” by Twin Palms Publishers. Features will be added to this site over time and it will evolve into an educational tool. Please be aware before entering the gallery that much of the material is very disturbing.
Experience the images as a movie with narrative comments by James Allen, or as a gallery of photos which will grow to over 100 photos in coming weeks. Participate in a forum about the images, and contact us if you know of other similar postcards and photographs.
Lynching Photographs Book:
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Author(s): Publisher: Twin Palms Publishers
The Tuskegee Institute records the lynching of 3,436 blacks between 1882 and 1950. This is probably a small percentage of these murders, which were seldom reported, and led to the creation of the NAACP in 1909, an organization dedicated to passing federal anti-lynching laws. Through all this terror and carnage someone -- many times a professional photographer -- carried a camera and took pictures of the events. These lynching photographs were often made into postcards and sold as souvenirs to the crowds in attendance. These images are some of photography's most brutal, surviving to this day so that we may now look back on the terrorism unleashed on America's African-American community and perhaps know our history and ourselves better. The almost one hundred images reproduced here are a testament to the camera's ability to make us remember what we often choose to forget.