Using the killing in Brunswick, Georgia, of Ahmaud Arbery as a starting point, Jennifer Rae Taylor and Kayla Vinson explore the history of lynching in America. An excerpt:
Like many lynching victims of generations past, Arbery was a black man targeted by white men who, though not police, felt empowered to wield weapons, demand answers and then kill him when he did not submit.
“[The South’s] police system,” scholar W.E.B. Du Bois wrote in 1903, “was arranged to deal with Blacks alone, and tacitly assumed that every white man was ipso facto a member of that police.”
Even after death, Arbery was denied the status of victim, and his killers were shielded from being treated as suspects. As during the lynching era, the mere claim that the dead black man deserved what he got was enough to satisfy the authorities and absolve the undisputed killers. In hundreds of the lynchings EJI (the Equal Justice Institute–ed.) has documented, the victims’ names are not known because newspaper reports did not bother to investigate even that deeply.
I commend the full article to your attention.