A New Commission Confronts the Nation’s Painful History of Lynching

Stephen G. Hall SAVE THIS

NAACP Legal Defense Fund Director Ryan Haygood (L) and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund President Sherrilyn Ifill (R ) speak to reporters in Washington, June 25, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst 

The nation’s history of lynching, extrajudicial murders of African Americans from 1865 up to 1960 and beyond, mark a dark chapter in American history. From 1882–1968, an estimated 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States. However, there is no proof that every lynching that occurred was recorded. Much like slavery, which has been viewed as the nation’s “original sin,” lynching is viewed as another dark stain on the nation’s tortured racial past.

Determined to confront the past on its own terms, the state of Maryland has recently constructed a lynching commission. The Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission is the nation’s first state-level commission to investigate lynchings. The commission was established by a bill that passed both…

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