Philip Dray's "... The Lynching of Black America" Book Review by writingsensation

Philip Dray's "... The Lynching of Black America"
This paper discusses Philip Dray book "At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America", which exposes the killing by hanging of Black Americans for committing no other crime than being black.
# 75766 | 1,330 words | 1 source | MLA | 2005 | US

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This paper explains that the story told by Dray shows how lynching developed, what it was supposed to mean to those carrying it out and what it meant to those targeted including the whole black community, what it meant to reformers and what it continues to mean today as a symbol and terrible mark on American history. The author points out that lynchers are among those who try to force a focus on African-Americans as victims, with the act of lynching itself a deliberate victimization. The paper states that Dray's book, which is informative and frightening at the same time, tells much about the practice, the people involve and the symbolic meaning this era still has for many in America.

From the Paper:

"The title of Dray's book evokes a police report or legal statement by a coroner, as if the crime of lynching were being investigated and the perpetrators slyly exonerated by being listed as "persons unknown," as if unknown when in fact they are known. That has indeed been the pattern for most of these crimes, with the white power structure in the South in particular closing ranks to protect those who lynched blacks because they did not see this as a crime. Dray gives a good account of the history of the era and of the nature of the problem of lynching at different times in American history, beginning with the extralegal actions of Charles Lynch in the late eighteenth century, from whom the name was derived."

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

Philip Dray's "... The Lynching of Black America" (2006, December 20) Retrieved April 19, 2024, from

MLA Format

"Philip Dray's "... The Lynching of Black America"" 20 December 2006. Web. 19 April. 2024. <>