Lynching is an extra-legal trial and punishment by an informal group. It is most often used to characterise informal public executions by a mob, often by hanging, in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate a minority group. It is an extreme form of informal group social control such as charivari, skimmington, riding the rail, and tarring and feathering, but with a drift toward the public spectacle.
- It startled him even more when just after he was awarded the Galactic Institute's Prize for Extreme Cleverness he got lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable physicists who had finally realized that the one thing they really couldn't stand was a smart-ass.
- Paris ... On this side of the ocean it is difficult to understand the susceptibility of American citizens on the subject and precisely why they should so stubbornly cling to the biblical version. It is said in Genesis the first man came from mud and mud is not anything very clean. In any case if the Darwinian hypothesis should irritate any one it should only be the monkey. The monkey is an innocent animal—a vegetarian by birth. He never placed God on a cross, knows nothing of the art of war, does not practice lynch law and never dreams of assassinating his fellow beings. The day when science definitely recognizes him as the father of the human race the monkey will have no occasion to be proud of his descendants. That is why it must be concluded that the American Association which is prosecuting the teacher of evolution can be no other than the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
- My race groaned. It was our people falling. It was another lynching, yet another Black man hanging on a tree. One more woman ambushed and raped.
- Maya Angelou in: Ron Eyerman Cultural Trauma: Slavery and the Formation of African American Identity, Cambridge University Press, 13 December 2001, p. 142.
- A picture in a book,
The bland faces of men who watch
a Christ go up in flames, smiling,
as if he were a hooked
fish, a felled antelope, some
wild thing tied to boards and burned.
His charred body
gives off light--a halo
burns out of him.
His face is scorched featureless;
the hair matted to the scalp like feathers.
One man stands with his hand on his hip,
another with his arm
slung over the shoulder of a friend,
as if this moment were large enough
to hold affection.
- Toi Derricotte in: Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Jennifer Gillan Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry, Penguin, 1 November 1994, p. 176.
- For lynching was also a woman's issue: it had as much to do with ideas of gender as it had with race.
- Paula Giddings in: Stanlie Myrise James, et al., Still Brave: The Evolution of Black Women's Studies, Feminist Press, 2009 , p. 158.
- It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. quoted in: Andrew Sabl Ruling Passions: Political Offices and Democratic Ethics, Princeton University Press, 9 February 2009, p. 227.
- This new generation, for example, is not content with preachings against that vile form of collective murder —lynch law-which has broken out in our midst anew. We know that it is murder, and a deliberate and definite disobedience of the Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." We do not excuse those in high places or in low who condone lynch law.
- No reporter of my generation, whatever his genius, ever really rated spats and a walking stick until he had covered both a lynching and revolution ...
- H. L. Mencken in: A Choice of Days: Essays from Happy Days, Newspaper Days, and Heathen Days, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1980, p. 57.
- For a quarter of a century, in the Congress of the United States, we tried to get passed an anti-lynching bill. A simple law to protect the lives of black citizens below the Mason-Dixon line. This was not legislation, as our protesting brethren so often take us to task for—the legislation of brotherly love with they say is impossible. It was a law making it a federal offense to hang a human being from a tree, cover him with kerosene and cremate him. But the loudest cheerleaders of our current law and order rallies—the Eastlands and the Strom Thurmonds—were the very gentlemen who fought against that legislation until it was ultimately passed.
- Rod Serling, “Rod Serling Rips Loyalty Oaths, the Vietnam War, and Social Inequity”, “Rod Serling Memorial Foundation”, (Delivered December 3, 1968 at Moorpark College, Moorpark, California)
- Not only is democracy mystical nonsense, it is also immoral. If one man has no right to impose his wishes on another, then ten million men have no right to impose their wishes on the one, since the initiation of force is wrong (and the assent of even the most overwhelming majority can never make it morally permissible). Opinions—even majority opinions—neither create truth nor alter facts. A lynch mob is democracy in action. So much for mob rule.
- We of the South have never recognized the right of the negro to govern white men, and we never will. We have never believed him to be the equal of the white man, and we will not submit to his gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him.
- Benjamin R. Tilman in his "Congressional Speech on Segregation" quoted in: Edward Ayers et al., American Passages: A History of the United States, Volume II: Since 1865, Volume 2, Cengage Learning, 22 October 2008, p. 556.
- During the first Intifada, before the PA was established, hundreds of alleged collaborators were lynched, tortured or killed, at times with the implied support of the PLO. Street killings of alleged collaborators continue in the current Intifada ... but so far in much fewer numbers.
- Human Rights Watch in: VI. Balancing Security and Human Rights During the INTIFADA, Human Rights Watch Organization.
- Lynch law held sway in the far West until civilization spread into the Territories and the orderly processes of law took its place. The emergency no longer existing, lynching gradually disappeared from the West.
- There is nothing we can do about the lynching now, as we are out-numbered and without arms.
- Ida B. Wells quoted in: Anthony B. Pinn By These Hands: A Documentary History of African American Humanism, NYU Press, 2001, p. 62.