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LynchedThe Victims of Southern Mob Violence$
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Amy Kate Bailey and Stewart E. Tolnay

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781469620879

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469620879.001.0001

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Vulnerability in Economic, Political, and Religious Context

Vulnerability in Economic, Political, and Religious Context

(p.149) Chapter Six Vulnerability in Economic, Political, and Religious Context

Amy Kate Bailey

Stewart E. Tolnay

University of North Carolina Press

Chapters 4 and 5 demonstrated that individual-level characteristics linked to social marginality or higher-status differentially affected black and mixed-race men's vulnerability to mob violence based on the local context. This chapter attempts to integrate these two sets of findings by examining whether the influence of individual-level factors on the exposure of black men to victimization was itself shaped by the nature of the local context of danger, as measured by economic, political, and religious variables. The results from Chapters 4 and 5 suggest that individuals who were more normative within their local communities enjoyed some degree of protection—perhaps a level of anonymity granted by being unremarkable. The converse of this, of course, is that being unusual could seal a man with the mark of vulnerability that increased his likelihood of being targeted. This chapter shows that these processes operated in a more or less similar manner throughout the South, in communities dominated by King Cotton and heavily integrated into global markets by virtue of this fact, as well as in those communities composed mainly of yeoman farmers who produced primarily for their own consumption. Despite overwhelming evidence that unusual levels of social status or marginality made some men targets and provided others with relative immunity, there is no evidence that these factors were linked to the local institutional structures most imbued with power—the economic foundations, the political arena, and the religious alignments.

Keywords:   southern lynching, mob violence, lynch victims, black men, racial violence, mix-race men, social status, social marginality

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