The ACLU of Kentucky invites and encourages you to view our Capitol Tunnel exhibit March 11-15. The panels displayed throughout the tunnel bear the names of Kentucky’s (known) victims of lynching. Members of the ACLU of Kentucky Board of Directors and staff visited the National Memorial for Peace and Justice when it opened last spring and wanted to lift up this important history here in Kentucky.
Between the end of the Civil War and the end of WWII, thousands of African Americans were lynched in the United States in violent, public acts of torture that traumatized Black communities. Racial terror lynching was used not only to maintain White supremacy and dominance but also to instill fear in the entire African American community through brutal violence that was often unpredictable and arbitrary.
This era of racial terrorism impacted race relations in the United States broadly, and Kentucky specifically, shaping the geographic, social, and economic conditions of African Americans in ways that are still evident today. The Equal Justice Initiative has documented 169 African American victims of racial terror lynching killed in Kentucky. We recognize that although this list is not inclusive of every victim of racial terror lynching, understanding this era of racial terror is critical if we are to confront the challenges that we currently face from mass incarceration, excessive punishment, unjustiﬁed police violence, and the presumption of guilt and dangerousness that burdens too many people of color.
For more information on racial terror lynchings, visit https://lynchinginamerica.eji.org/report/