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Southern Women in the Anti-Lynching Campaign

Document 7

Lewis T. Nordyke, writing in 1939, provided an overview of the accomplishments of the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching:

      Mob violence, masquerading as the champion of southern womanhood, is petering out below the Mason and Dixon line. And the weaker sex is largely responsible. Nine years ago a small group of thinking women who had long realized that there was more blood-thirst than knight-errantry in howling mobs, organized the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching. Today, backed by women's social, civic and religious groups that have more than two million members in the southern states, the women are massed in one of the most effective social programs ever attempted in the United States and certainly one of the most vital and constructive movements in the South -- that of preventing white men from lynching Negroes for any cause whatsoever. . . .

      Statistics tell part of the dramatic story of the patient anti-lynching campaign. In the eight years previous to the founding of the women's association, there were 211 lynchings in the nation. In 1930, the year the association was founded, there were twenty-one lynchings in the South. Records of the Tuskegee Institute show that in the first eight years the women were organized there were 105 lynchings, only half as many as in the previous eight years. . . .

      Moreover, the records show that in forty instances sheriffs and police officers, many of them committed in writing to the women's program, prevented lynchings in 1938.

-- Excerpt from Lewis T. Nordyke, "Ladies and Lynchings,"
Survey Graphic, 28 (November 1939)

14. What statistics offered by Nordyke support his statement that the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention
of Lynching had created a very successful social program?

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15. Why were white women able to successfully organize against lynching while black women alone could not?

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To Document 8

 

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