Lynching is the act of killing someone for an alleged offence without a legal trial. Although its most notorious manifestations in the US were by whites on blacks, it was never exclusively so. The worst mass lynching was of 11 Italian immigrants in New Orleans (1891); in the West and Southwest, Chinese and Mexicans were often victims. However, after the Civil War, the South became the epicentre of lynching, growing out of violent economic and political repression, plus the enforcement of ‘Jim Crow’ segregation laws. The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People was founded in 1909 in response to an act of lynching. The original Ku Klux Klan was suppressed in the 1870s; in its second incarnation it was sectarian as much as racist, with a Protestant following peaking in the millions. It promoted an anti-Catholic and Jewish agenda and called for the ‘purification’ of America, with its largest membership in Indiana.
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