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The Killing Fields of the Deep South: The Market for Cotton and the Lynching of Blacks, 1882-1930

E. M. Beck and Stewart E. Tolnay
American Sociological Review
Vol. 55, No. 4 (Aug., 1990), pp. 526-539
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095805
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Killing Fields of the Deep South: The Market for Cotton and the Lynching of Blacks, 1882-1930
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Abstract

We reconsider the relationship between economic conditions and the lynching of blacks in the Deep South from 1882 to 1930 using time series analysis. Net of other factors, lynchings were more frequent in years when the "constant dollar" price of cotton was declining and inflationary pressure was increasing. Relative size of the black population was also positively related to lynching. We conclude that mob violence against southern blacks responded to economic conditions affecting the financial fortunes of southern whites--especially marginal white farmers. These effects were significantly more important in the decades before 1900, possibly because of the declining importance of agriculture, the "Jim Crow" disenfranchisement of blacks, and the increasing out-migration of blacks and whites from the Deep South.

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