New Study Finds Link Between Lynchings And Confederate Monuments
Researchers have discovered a ‘quantifiable connection’ between Confederate monuments and the prevalence of lynching.
The study, conducted by a team at the University of Virginia, aimed to explore whether there was evidence to support claims that Confederate monuments were symbols of hate, by comparing the number of lynchings that have taken place in a given area with the prevalence of Confederate monuments in that same area.
According to a press release, after merging data on lynchings recorded in the United States between 1832 and 1950 with data on the establishment of Confederate monuments, the study found that lynchings were a ‘significant predictor’ of the number of monuments in an area.
‘We do not make any causal claims in the paper. We can’t pinpoint exactly the cause and effect,’ said UVA social psychology professor Sophie Trawalter. ‘But the association is clearly there. At a minimum, the data suggests that localities with attitudes and intentions that led to lynchings also had attitudes and intentions associated with the construction of Confederate memorials.’
The team’s findings expand on a previous study exploring the links between Confederate monuments and racism that found nearly half of the monument dedication speeches they studied contained explicitly racist language, including phrases praising a ‘love of race’ and promoting ‘your own race and blood’.
According to Trawalter, this information when viewed together provides a ‘powerful’ argument for a correlation between Confederate monuments and racist attitudes, suggesting ‘these monuments were reactions to Black progress and were intended to intimidate Black communities’.
In recent years, several cities and states across the US have removed Confederate monuments due to their association with racism and slavery. Opponents have defended the monuments by claiming they are symbols of ‘southern heritage’.
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CreditsFrank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy