Lynching in North Carolina

A History, 1865–1941


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About the Book

From the end of the Civil War through 1941, a total of 168 North Carolinians lost their lives to lynching. This form of mob violence was often justified as a means of controlling the black population, “protecting” white wives and daughters, and defending family “honor.” Legal attempts to deter lynching—including an 1893 law that classified it as a felony and sought to hold a county liable for damages—generally failed because of a lack of local support and ineffectual enforcement by state officials. After 1922, however, in a phenomenon unique to North Carolina, incidents of lynching inexplicably and rapidly declined, prompting the state to head a national movement to end it. This history includes appendices providing an account of all 168 known lynching occurrences.

About the Author(s)

Vann R. Newkirk is an associate vice president for Academic Affairs and associate professor of history at Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia. He has extensively researched the development of the NAACP in North Carolina and has served as an educational consultant for colleges across the South.

Bibliographic Details

Vann R. Newkirk

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 212
Bibliographic Info: 32 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014 [2009]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9558-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1
Introduction: A Place in Lynching Lore      3

1. Lynching the Carolina Way      7
2. Norlina      34
3. The Lynching of Plummer Bullock      44
4. A Well-Deserved Punishment      53
5. Canada, O Canada      56
6. The Old North State      64
7. One Million Klansmen      75
8. Law and Order Must Prevail: North Carolina Efforts to Punish Lynch Mob Members 1919–1923      79
9. The Needleman Case      84
10. “You Don’t Know What the Law Will Do to You?” A Move Toward Legal Lynching      95
11. Lynching in North Carolina 1930–1935      110
12. A Matter for the Judiciary      123
13. Summary      137

Appendix I. Other Notable Lynchings      141
Appendix II. North Carolina Lynchings, 1865–1941      167
Notes      171
Bibliography      191
Index      201

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “expand[s] our understanding of the evolution of lynching and will serve well for classroom use”—The Journal of Southern History
  • “well written…well researched, heavily documented”—News-Record. com, Greensboro, N.C