Encompass Destroying Blackness One Body At A Time: Examining The Mediated Representations Of Lynchings Past And Present DESTROYING BLACKNESS ONE BODY AT A TIME: EXAMINING THE MEDIATED REPRESENTATIONS OF LYNCHINGS PAST AND PRESENT

Bethany Nelson, Bethany Nelson, Sam Savoy, Dan Willoughby, Trish Nelson, Joshua Hughes
2015 unpublished
for their unwavering support. iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my professor, Dr. Kishonna Gray, for her guidance and ability to continually challenge me. Without her constant faith and support this project would not have been possible. I would also like to thank other committee members, Dr. Tyler Wall and Dr. Travis Linnemann, for their support and comments over the past year. I would also like to express a special thanks to my significant other, Joshua, for understanding my vision when
more » ... no-one else did and his continuing desire to see me succeed. I would like to issue a note of thanks to Tommy and Karen Hughes of Athens, Tennessee. Finally, I would like to thank my three close friends, Jessica, Mike, and Jayden, for reminding me that no matter how dark things may seem, there is always a light at the end. v Abstract This thesis explores the politics of racial violence in America. Lynchings have served as a means for controlling black communities since the end of the Civil War. For southerners, the model of the plantation economy had to be followed during industrialization in order to maintain social and economic hierarchies. This paper examines numerous aspects of lynching's and their legal justifications as foundational to modern police and vigilante killings. A critical race virtual ethnography was conducted to explore the similarities and differences between historical lynching's and the recent killings of black men in the media. I have outlined that there are many problematic similarities between historical and recent killings that highlight the racial violence that has plagued the United States. By looking specifically at two notable cases, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, a deeper insight can be gained into modern racial violence and its implications. vi