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Lethal StateA History of the Death Penalty in North Carolina$
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Seth Kotch

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469649870

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469649870.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

The General Sense of Justice

The General Sense of Justice

Lynching and the Death Penalty, 1880–1950

(p.23) 1 The General Sense of Justice
Lethal State

Seth Kotch

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores the enduring relationship between lynching and capital punishment in North Carolina in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Lynching was an essential way North Carolinians communicated their racial animus to official state actors, who responded with legal lynchings—the unfair trials of African American defendants before all-white juries. The threat of lynching hung over many death penalty trials. The starkly racist application of the death penalty pleased lynch mobs because of its hostility to Black people, and pleased state officials because of its apparent orderliness.

Keywords:   lynching, death penalty, legal lynching, lynch mobs, racial bias

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