Host Jonathan Judaken talks with author and professor Amy Wood about her book, Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940. In her book, "Wood examines how lynching, as a spectacle, borrowed much from the practice of public executions that still occurred in the early 1900s. Lynching was also shaped by the traditions of evangelical Christianity.
"Public executions, evangelical Christianity, and lynching expressed similar concerns about crime, sin, and race in increasingly urbanized environments. Moreover, the practice of lynching incorporated elements of Protestant ritual—confession and testimonials—to find divine justification for their violence and religious affirmation of their racist views," as reviewed by Lynn Neal in The Journal of Southern Religion.
Wood discusses her book, the use of photography and media in the spectacle of lynching, religious justification for the practice, and the importance of honoring the legacies of anti-lynching Civil Rights Era leaders like Medgar Evers and Ida B. Wells. Wood and Dr. Judaken delve into the rationalization and sensationalism of public lynching, and how the anti-lynching advocates fought to end the evil practice.
Further, they discuss the possibility of honoring and commemorating anti-lynching pioneers like Ida B. Wells, who herself was chased from Memphis by terrorist threats, with something like a public monument or statue to be a focal point through which people can reach-back to and reconcile with the past.