Freer on the inside: Prison Breaks Perpetrated by Lynch Mobs in the American South, 1882-1929

Alberto Corral, University of Illinois Chicago
Admad Bell, University of Illinois Chicago

Historically, lynch mobs in the American South were composed of an arrangement of different actors and groups in cooperation with each other. These groups often included militias, law enforcement, and posses called on by municipal governments to aid in searching for suspects accused of violent crimes. While many victims of lynch mobs in the American South would never be granted a fair trial, some would be initially jailed, only to then be broken back out by those seeking extrajudicial punishment. In this paper, we will examine the circumstances and patterns in which prison breakouts perpetrated by lynch mobs occurred. Through analysis of lynch mob characteristics, cooperation and/or complacency of law enforcement, and outcomes, we will discern broader patterns from these cases across 10 states.

No extended abstract or paper available

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