May 2000

The lynching of Lige Daniels. August 3, 1920, Center, Texas.
(postcard, front and back)

"Without Sanctuary" is probably the most horrific photo exhibition that one is likely to ever see. Showing the lynching of African-Americans, these photographs are a jarring reminder of the savagery that has infected this nation. As educational imagery that graphically delineates racism these photographs are more than pertinent if almost impossible to view.

Adding to the sickness depicted are the stories: some newspaper photographers were said to have speeded up lynchings in order to make their deadline, and then went door to door the following day to sell the images as postcards and make some extra money.

A must see, and for those who don't make it to the exhibition there is a companion volume.

We should be ashamed.

The exhibition is at the New-York Historical Society, Central Park West and 77th Street, until August 13, 2000.

The book Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America is by James Allen (ed.), Hilton Als, Congressman John Lewis and Leon F. Litwack, and is published by Twin Palm Publishers (Santa Fe NM, 2000).