Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Rollover text informationAmerican Experience Logo
The Murder of Emmett Till
The Film and More
Special Features
Online Forum
Do You Remember?
Teens and Segregation
In Till's Shadow
Till's Legacy
Sex and Race
Killers' Confession

People and Events
Teacher's Guide

spacer above content
Sex and Race

Did lynching replace slavery as a means for whites to control blacks?

John David Smith:
Lynching existed along the frontier in all societies and whites employed the device to control "outsiders" throughout the course of southern history. After emancipation, however, lynching and other forms of racial violence provided whites the means to control, to regulate, and to keep African Americans in check. With the legal bonds of slavery removed, whites found in racial violence both a practical means to control blacks but also the means of keeping blacks fearful and perpetually marginalized in southern society. The threat of white violence, in addition to economic and social controls, maintained the controls of slavery in the post-emancipation age.

previous | back to questions | next

Site Navigation

Special Features: Online Forum | Do You Remember? | Teens and Segregation
In Till's Shadow | Till's Legacy | Sex and Race | Killers' Confession

The Murder of Emmett Till Home | The Film & More | Special Features
Timeline | People and Events | Teacher's Guide