CRRJ Director on reckoning with ‘Lynch Law’ and rape charges

Professor Margaret Burnham, CRRJ Director and co-founder of the Burnham-Nobles Digital Archive, has penned an article  urging attorneys and courts in the U.S. and Southern states to revisit decades-old rape accusations, many of which led to lynchings of Black boys and men.

The article was published in Zocalo Public Square, an Arizona State University affiliated project, on October 25, 2023. In it, Burnham writes:

The U.S. courts might start admitting their own complicity in rushing Black men to their deaths.

“Localities might consider how prosecutors’ offices, like that of Albemarle County, can review historical cases to determine how many were rushed to judgment to avert mob violence, or otherwise shortchanged the process that was the defendant’s due.

They might also examine the actions of police, who often railroaded accused men by threatening to turn them over to the mob if they did not ‘confess.'”

Burnham’s piece is part of the Mellon-supported editorial and events series How Should Societies Remember Their Sins? from Zocalo Public Square.

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