At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America

Front Cover
Modern Library, 2003 - History - 528 pages
2 Reviews
Winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction

This extraordinary account of lynching in America, by acclaimed civil rights historian Philip Dray, shines a clear, bright light on American history’s darkest stain—illuminating its causes, perpetrators, apologists, and victims. Philip Dray also tells the story of the men and women who led the long and difficult fight to expose and eradicate lynching, including Ida B. Wells, James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, and W.E.B. Du Bois. If lynching is emblematic of what is worst about America, their fight may stand for what is best: the commitment to justice and fairness and the conviction that one individual’s sense of right can suffice to defy the gravest of wrongs. This landmark book follows the trajectory of both forces over American history—and makes lynching’s legacy belong to us all.

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User Review  - mrlzbth - LibraryThing

Amazing book about appalling history...As a history buff who has also read a lot about the death penalty in the United States, I was surprised by how many of the stories and names in this book were ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bravenewcatcher - LibraryThing

An absolute must read! While I had to sort of force myself to read it at times, since the material was just so depressing and relentless, it was ultimately uplifting and inspiring. It should be required reading for students! Read full review

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About the author (2003)

Philip Dray is the co-author of We Are Not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi, which was a New York Times Notable Book for 1988. Born in Chicago and raised in Minnesota, Dray now lives in New York City. He has been a contributor to many publications, including Mother Jones, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.


From the Hardcover edition.

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