Lynching and Leisure: Race and the Transformation of Mob Violence in Texas (Paperback)
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Winner, 2022 Ottis Lock Endowment “Best Book” Award from the East Texas Historical Association
In Lynching and Leisure, Terry Anne Scott examines how white Texans transformed lynching from a largely clandestine strategy of extralegal punishment into a form of racialized recreation in which crowd involvement was integral to the mode and methods of the violence. Scott powerfully documents how lynchings came to function not only as tools for debasing the status of Black people but also as highly anticipated occasions for entertainment, making memories with friends and neighbors, and reifying whiteness. In focusing on the sense of pleasure and normality that prevailed among the white spectatorship, this comprehensive study of Texas lynchings sheds new light on the practice understood as one of the chief strategies of racial domination in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century South.
About the Author
Terry Anne Scott is Director of the Institute for Common Power. She is a former associate professor of American history and Chair of the History Department at Hood College. Dr. Scott is the editor of Seattle Sports: Play, Identity, and Pursuit in the Emerald City.
“This original and revealing examination of the puzzling practices and discourses that framed lynching as a leisure activity reveals a fundamental shift in the character of racial violence in the early twentieth century. A must-read for understanding how ordinary people could perpetrate the most barbaric racial atrocities.”
—Thomas C. Holt, author of The Movement: The African American Struggle for Civil Rights
“Terry Anne Scott speaks directly to our current moment by insisting that white supremacy infects every aspect of American life. Through painstaking archival data and vivid, gruesome storytelling, Scott explodes misconceptions about recreation and pleasure in modern times. Lynching and Leisure is a spectacular revelation, showing how violence, justice, technology, fun, and profit bleed together to serve those in power. In the tradition of Ida B. Wells and legions of Black journalists, Scott documents these atrocities with courage and candor.”
—Ellen D. Wu, author of The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority
“Lynching and Leisure is a deeply researched and superbly crafted study of the extralegal, and illegal, execution of African Americans—an American mortal sin. This book is a must-read for anyone immersed in the evolving historical literature concerning race relations in America.”
—Kenneth M. Hamilton, author of Booker T. Washington in American Memory