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Lynching was an action used to terrorize the black community for generations, with the first known public display of this injustice taking place in Madison, Miss. in 1835.

Investigative journalist like Ida B. Wells stood on the front lines, documenting and reporting the continued use of lynchings in society. Wells’ objective was to counter the belief that lynching was a valid means of justice. Eventually, the NAACP made it a part of its mission to see to it that lynching was put to an end. In 2018, after more than two hundred failed attempts, the United States Congress finally passed a bill making the act of lynching a hate crime.

In this episode of Black History In Two Minutes or So hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. — with additional commentary from Farah Griffin of Columbia University and Bryan Stevenson, the Executive Director of Equal Justice Initiative — we take a deeper look at the long journey of a violent and public spectacle that was used to taunt and terrorize black communities for centuries.

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