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Southern Women in the Anti-Lynching Campaign

Document 5

The following pamphlet explained the origins of lynching:

SUGGESTED POINTS IN PRESENTING PURPOSE OF A.S.W.P.L.
  1. Homogeneity of South--

    1. Religiously--predominantly Protestant
    2. Racially--predominantly of Anglo-Saxon in origin
    3. Industrially--predominantly agrarian and rural
    4. Politically--Democratic and
    5. Historically and traditionally results in the understanding of and acceptance of similar
    6. Institutions and government
    7. Customs and traditions.

  2. The South is looked upon as a unit historically, traditionally, and politically. Whatever happens in the South, anywhere, is the act of all the SOUTH, and is so classed.

  3. A fairly uniform public opinion, grown up out of this common heritage.

  4. Certain actions growing out of this heritage have become accepted as a code of conduct generally upheld and sanctioned or condoned by public opinion.
    1. Lynching of human beings--and the
    2. Acceptance of this crime as necessary for the protection of white women.
    3. Only one-sixth of all lynchings in forty years have been committed for alleged crimes involving the safety of white women.

    1. Emerging from political and industrial upheaval in society was in chaos which the law, with possibly a precedent in the Vigilantes committee of the early pioneer days which were necessary to supress enemies of society, the South had recourse to illegal methods to restore law and order.
    2. These methods so used were not abandoned by the succeeding generations after the re-establishment of stable government.
    3. Continued by certain classes apparently insecure in their own status.
    4. Lynching as a means of personal revenge or to punish certain groups of American citizens for
    5. Offenses against codes of conduct established by this unstable and insecure class in Southern life.

 -- Jessie Daniel Ames, "Suggested Points in Presenting Purposes of A.S.W.P.L.,"
[1931], Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching Papers

10. Explain what Ames meant when she wrote that the "Homogeneity of the South" led to lynching.

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11. According to Ames, how did societal upheaval lead to lynching?

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