The report, Reconstruction in America, documents more than 2,000 black victims of racial terror lynchings killed between the end of the civil war in 1865 and the collapse of federal efforts to protect the lives and voting rights of black Americans in 1876.
In that brief 12-year period, known as Reconstruction, a reign of terror was unleashed by Confederate veterans and former slave owners in a brazen effort to keep black people enslaved in all but name.
The report is a prequel to EJI’s groundbreaking 2015 research that identified and recorded more than 4,400 black victims of racial terror lynchings from the post-Reconstruction period, 1877 to 1950.
The new report allows that grim tally to be further expanded with the addition of the 2,000 documented victims from the Reconstruction era itself – bringing the total number of documented cases of black people who were supposedly free yet were lynched in the most sadistic fashion to a staggering 6,500 men, women and children.
Bryan Stevenson, EJI’s executive director, told the Guardian that the new report highlights the capitulation and complicity of American institutions – from local sheriffs right up to the US supreme court in Washington – in the face of white supremacist violence.