This Year Was The First Year Without A Single Lynching

picture of a noose hanging from a wooden beam
Zain Murdock
December 23, 2021

December 30, 1952 was a huge day in the United States of America. It wasn’t the day an astronaut landed on the moon, or the invention of transatlantic telephones. 

It marked, for the first time in 70 years, a whole year passing without a recorded lynching taking place. A cause to celebrate, right?

The Tuskegee Institute, along with the Chicago Tribune and NAACP, started tracking lynchings in 1882. Since then, there were 4,726 recorded lynchings in the U.S. – and over 70% were Black. 

But this special year of 1952 came with a warning.

Just because the kidnapping and brutal hanging of Black people by large mobs declined, didn’t mean other methods of violence did. In fact, Tuskegee’s president  F. D. Patterson cited “a resurgence of the mob spirit as expressed in beatings, floggings, incendiarism, bombing, and the like.”

Patterson also noted that law enforcement hadn’t stopped lynchings. And that makes sense – as was the case back then, modern day lynchings like those of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd are often carried out by police officers themselves.

From dwindling lynching numbers in the 20th century to copaganda statistics in the 21st, it’s easy to gain false hope in the systems that were created to destroy us. But we have the power to decide what we want to believe about how much progress we've really made.

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: