This study examines the 13 lynchings that occurred in the southern state of Florida during the decade of the 1930s. It provides a lively and detailed narrative account of each lynching and concludes that there is no one single theory or explanation of these extralegal executions. The author does, however, reveal several patterns common to these separate acts of vigilantism. For example, most Florida lynchings were not rural, small-town ceremonial hangings of black males accused of sexual offenses. Rather, the majority of lynch victims were forcibly seized from police and shot by small bands of carefully organized vigilantes rather than frenzied mobs. Moreover, one third of these lynchings occurred in urban areas. The study finishes with a brief overview of the three Florida lynchings of the 1940s and the sudden end of this southern lynch law in modern America.
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December 14, 2005
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