Title

Southern Journalists and Lynching: The Statesboro Case Study

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1-2005

Publication Title

Journalism and Communication Monographs

DOI

10.1177/152263790500700201

ISSN

2161-4342

Abstract

Historians who have studied the rampant lynching era in the Southern United States that spanned the years between the 1880s and the 1930s have speculated that newspapers actually encouraged the atrocities. This study examines the coverage of one of the more infamous lynchings of this era to determine if such conjecture holds up under closer scrutiny. In 1904, a white mob burned two black men at the stake in Statesboro, Georgia, for allegedly murdering a white family. While some of the previous assessments of journalistic activity are confirmed, this examination reveals that the relationship between journalists and those who participated in lynchings was more complex than previously depicted. It appears there was an active debate taking place among Georgia editors and readers concerning not only the efficacy of lynchings, but also the role newspapers were playing in the deadly activity.

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