Google maps out America’s dark history of lynching
Google.org — the company’s philanthropic branch — is continuing its efforts in racial justice activism by creating a website about the history of lynchings in the United States in partnership with the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative.
It features audio accounts of lynching victims’ ancestors and a map showing the 20 states where the most lynchings occurred between 1877 and 1950. “Uprooted,” a film about the relatives of a black man lynched in Louisiana for allegedly passing a white woman a note, can also be watched on the site.
The map represents more than 4,000 lynchings that occurred between the late 19th and early 20th century, but five white dots highlight specific lynchings. When clicked on, users are taken to a page featuring audio, photos and text that highlight the victims’ stories.
A full report including in-depth research about racial prejudice during this time period is also on the site, alongside a high school lesson plan for teachers to use in class.
Google.org has donated $17 million (more than £13,000,000) to racial justice activism-focused organisations since November 2015, including a $1 million grant (more than £780,000) for EJI in 2016.
“More recently, incidences of racial violence have again dominated our headlines,” Google.org’s principal Justin Steele wrote in a statement at the time of the grant’s announcement.“The data is troubling: African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites. An estimated 40% of all students expelled from U.S. schools are black, and 30% are Latino. Of course, Google and our own industry need to do more to promote equality and opportunities for all.”
The recent grant will go towards two of EJI’s latest projects: a memorial honouring lynching victims and a museum concerning black Americans’ oppression by slavery, segregation and modern issues like mass incarceration and police brutality. Both will open in 2018 in Alabama — the state with the fifth-highest number of lynchings on the site’s interactive map.
The memorial would also be first in the U.S. to honor lynching victims, a topic touched on in a podcast from the Guardian about a Georgia town that hosts an annual live re-enactment of two black men and their wives’ deaths.