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A Gathering of Old Men Historical Context

This Study Guide consists of approximately 138 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Gathering of Old Men.
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Historical Context

Lynching in the South

The long list of injustices suffered by the old blacks in the novel, including the threat and the reality of lynching, is rooted in the real experience of black people in the South. According to Stew-art E. Tolnay and E. M. Beck, in A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930, there were 2,805 documented lynchings between 1882 and 1930 in ten southern states. Approximately 90 percent of the victims were African Americans. This means that on average, one black person was lynched by a white mob every single week from between 1882 until 1930, although in reality the lynchings reached a peak in the 1890s and declined afterwards. Victims were often tortured and mutilated before their deaths, and parts of their bodies were sold as souvenirs.

The four states with the worst records were Mississippi (463 lynchings, 1882-1930), Georgia (423), Louisiana (283) and Alabama (262). In Louisiana six lynchings occurred in...

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This section contains 730 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our A Gathering of Old Men Study Guide
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A Gathering of Old Men from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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