Lynching and Economic Outcomes

Adrian Haws, Cornell University
Ryan Gabriel, Brigham Young University
Amy K. Bailey, University of Illinois at Chicago
Joseph P. Price, Brigham Young University

Previous research has laid bare a multitude of social consequences stemming from the lynching of Black people in the Jim Crow South. There is, however, much we do not know about how racial terror lynching is associated with a fundamental feature of social life: migration. We investigate this connection, for the first time, by using individual-level data from the U.S. Census from 1880 to 1930 that is longitudinally linked through the Census Tree Project. With these data, we investigate whether county concentrations of lynching are related with the county out-migration of Black people. We also assess whether individual, household, and contextual characteristics are related to the migration of Black people out of counties with varying concentrations of lynching. In addition to our study of out-migration, we analyze how local levels of lynching are related to the regions and distances that migrants travel. Our study has implications for the role of racial violence in shaping U.S. population distributions while also contributing to contemporary debates on reparations.

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 Presented in Session 24. New Perspectives on Mob Violence in the South