Confederate monuments and the history of lynching in the American South: An empirical examination

Sophie Trawalter, Michele Claibourn and Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi

The present work interrogates the history of Confederate memorializations by examining the relationship between these memorializations and lynching, an explicitly racist act of violence. We obtained and merged data on Confederate memorializations at the county level and lynching victims, also at the county level. We find that the number of lynching victims in a county is a positive and significant predictor of the number of Confederate memorializations in that county, even after controlling for relevant covariates. This finding provides concrete, quantitative, and historically and geographically situated evidence consistent with the position that Confederate memorializations reflect a racist history, one marred by intentions to terrorize and intimidate Black Americans in response to Black progress.

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