google’s site on lynching is good, can they also help with facial recognition of these criminals?

June 15, 2017

Expanding their philanthropic efforts to document and honor the racial violence committed against black Americans by white people during the Reconstruction Era and Jim Crow, the Equal Justice Initiative has made years of research on the subject accessible to the world via an interactive map that chronicles the lives and stories behind each lynching. An extension of a project that, in 2015, was partially funded by Google.org’s $1M to the Equal Justice Initiative’s breathtaking museum and memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, the map works in tandem with the memorial, open sometime next year.
Over five years, the EJI conducted in-depth, groundbreaking research that documented America’s gruesome history of lynchings. An under-acknowledged part of US history, the study was meant to break the silence lynching-induced trauma created by exposing the painful, despicable truth. Their findings are now accessible to the public via an interactive map that visualizes the 4,300 lives lost between 1877 and 1950.

This staggering research the EJI’s commitment to educating people all over the world about the racial horror black American’s have experienced post-slavery is beyond commendable. But the lingering question is, who will be held accountable for these unjust acts of violence? What kind of justice can be had for, not only those who did the lynchings but the hundreds of thousands of whites who gleefully witnessed them? As wild as that might sound, it’s not unprecedented. Most notably, former Auschwitz Nazi officer Oskar Groening was in his 90s when he was sentenced to 4 years in prison for his crimes against humanity in 2015. Would be nice if whites who participated in this cruelty were held accountable for that.

By Erin White*, AFROPUNK contributor

Photo: Lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, 1930

*Erin White is an Atlanta-based writer and AFROPUNK’s editorial and social media assistant. You can follow her on Tumblr or friend her on Facebook. Have a pitch or an inquiry? Shoot her an email at erin@afropunk.com.