This Google Map Shows the History of Lynchings in the U.S.
An interactive demonstrates how history for Black Americans unfolded in the South.
Google released an interactive map on Tuesday that allows internet users to investigate the history of racially motivated lynchings in America. In a collaboration with the Equal Justice Initiative, Google.org — the philanthropic arm of Google’s parent company, Alphabet — demonstrates the extent to which violence against African-Americans shaped the history and makeup of the United States.
“Racial disparities continue to burden people of color; the criminal justice system is infected with racial bias,” said Justin Steele, principal of Google.org, in a statement. “… a presumption of dangerousness and guilt has led to mass incarceration, excessive punishment, and police violence against young people of color.”
The site compiles a trove of data from the last two centuries to highlight the way in which lynching was used by white supremacist powers after the Civil War to continue to stifle black civil rights and keep white parties in place as a dominant socioeconomic and political power. EJI notes that between 1877 and 1950, more than 4,000 black individuals were lynched across 20 states.
“In order to heal the deep wounds of our present, we must face the truth of our past,” the site reads. “These lynchings were public acts of racial terrorism, intended to instill fear in black communities … The effects of racial terror lynchings are still felt today.”
The first map breaks down the stats of lynchings across each of the 20 southern and midwestern states historically associated with discrimination against blacks. Users can see precisely how many lynchings were reported in which districts across the South. Other links on the map lead to short narrations and texts that describe in much greater detail specific lynchings.
The second map depicts the Great Migration, in which more than six million black individuals fled the South to escape the violence. The compilation demonstrates the swelling impact this had on black populations in urban environments in the Northeast, California, and Midwest.
The map is one of six different sections EJI created as part of its effort to illustrate lynching in America. In addition, Google.org announced it planned to donate $1 million to EJI, which will be put towards the From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration Museum and the upcoming Memorial to Peace and Justice in Alabama.
See the full map here.