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Cultures of ViolenceLynching and Racial Killing in South Africa and the American South$

Ivan Evans

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719079047

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719079047.001.0001

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(p.238) 9 Conclusion
Cultures of Violence

Ivan Evans

Manchester University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This concluding chapter draws out a number of implications that flow from the preceding chapters. The first section explores the differential contribution of dominant actors to racial violence, drawing attention to certain structural conditions that either promote or constrain tendencies towards unofficial racial violence. The second section underscores the importance of a transcendent ideology and argues that systemic cultures of violence invoke predispositions which make reiterated violence not only acceptable but also righteous. A final section returns to the central role that the state played in the two cultures of violence.

Keywords:   racial violence, transcendent ideology, violence culture, state role

Most of this book has been devoted to explaining the role that three major institutions – labor controls, the legal system and religion – played in the genesis of distinctive cultures of racial violence in South Africa and the New South in the era that Stanley Greenberg calls the period of “racial intensification.” Unofficial violence was clearly endemic to racial segregation in both places. Nevertheless, violence against blacks assumed quite different “styles,” captured by the distinction between “private” and “communal” violence around which this book is organized.

The racial orders were most alike in the area of private violence but differed sharply in the matter of communal violence against blacks. Many white citizens in both contexts viewed it as axiomatic that they had the “right” to brutalize individual blacks, especially when the latter fell under their immediate control. This assumption ensured that the work environment – particularly in the primary extractive industries, farming and mining – harbored the greatest danger for blacks. Here, capricious violence that ranged from humiliating beatings to the sadistic and unprovoked killing of sharecroppers in particular were commonplace.

In contrast, the racial orders diverged sharply in the area of unofficial communal violence. In South Africa, communal attacks on blacks did occur, but always in the context of exceptional and rare moments of crisis which, furthermore, were generally rooted in class and ethnic disputes amongst whites: the Anglo-Boer War, the 1914 Afrikaner Rebellion and the crippling strike of 1922. Lethal communal attacks on blacks accordingly ceased in tandem with these crises, presenting the most striking contrast with patterns in the New South. Although they accounted for only one-third of all recorded lynchings, ritual communal lynchings persisted in the New South, certainly declining in frequency with the passage of time but not in their capacity to terrorize African Americans. Notwithstanding the broad similarities that have inspired much of the comparative literature dealing with the two countries, different patterns of unofficial violence also reflected the specificities of the respective contexts in which they arose.

The explicit statist foundations of white supremacy in South Africa led to the emergence of a bureaucratic culture with ambivalent consequences on unofficial violence. On the one hand, the extensive interventions that (p.239) the centralized state undertook to manage “race relations” effectively interposed the state between blacks and whites. Because it remained concerned that black uprisings and counter-violence would imperil the evolving system of racial and industrial relations, the state actively discouraged whites from launching provocative communal attacks. Whenever it occurred, popular white violence invariably tended to fizzle out, leaving its legacy not in tortured memories of lynching but in the administrative adjustments that state mangers made to improve the racial regimentation of state and society. On the other hand, state officials and institutions – themselves organized to maintain and expand the racially repressive labor market – tolerated less disruptive private violence against blacks. Over time, an assaultive culture of racial violence took hold and complemented the structural violence that was built into the bureaucratic juggernaut. It is this tradition of low-level but ceaseless racial violence that George Fredrickson's otherwise sound characterization of racial violence in South Africa greatly underplays.

The lynch culture that emerged in the postbellum South was an organic outgrowth of the region's proclivity for interpersonal violence, and its institutionalization in the era of the New South is incomprehensible outside of the complicity of the US state. Still, the Hydra-headed structure of the federal state was not the central issue. Federal power could have been easily invoked to prevent the lynch culture from metastasizing, just as federal power was used to deal with other problems in the first half of the twentieth century. Instead, the ideology of “states rights” became a justification for national indifference and Northern disengagement from white supremacy in the South. Federal neglect enabled white Southerners to redirect the overt political terror they had used to destroy Reconstruction into a latent menace that could erupt with unnerving unpredictability against African Americans. Although communal lynching usually occurred only under certain conditions, the coalescence of these conditions could also be a volatile and unpredictable affair. Because mere allegation carried as much weight as incontrovertible evidence, whites were free to escalate any issue into an incendiary accusation that dissolved restraints against ritual killing and legitimized the savage destruction of black lives. “Festivals of violence” therefore periodically broke out across the New South.

It is not surprising that both contexts sported similar patterns of private violence. Violence is the frequent outcome whenever expropriative relationships are paired with the asymmetrical power relationships that mark all racial orders. For example, the regular physical beatings and private killing that abounded in South Africa and the New South were also prominent in most colonial situations.1 Yet, despite a shared tradition of private and furtive violence, South Africa and the New South were also somewhat different even on this score. It is significant that private violence in South Africa was more perfunctory and generally bereft of the ritual and symbolic paraphernalia, chiefly ropes and fire, which white Southerners often employed to execute African Americans even when no audience was assembled. Whites (p.240) in South Africa almost never deviated from the standard use of prosaic weapons such as guns, fists and nearby farm implements. Not only are guns more efficient, but they also maintain a cold distance between the killer and his victim, and their frequent use suggests whites’ unwillingness to either engage in or celebrate tactile forms of extra-legal killing. Accordingly, most cases of private violence in South Africa are examples of what Mary Jackman calls “instrumental violence.”2 In contrast, the more frequent use of highly symbolic instruments of death, such as the noose, even in cases of private violence in the South reveals not only a greater callousness but also the desire to transform a private killing into a brazen public statement.

However, it is the ritualized violence of communal lynching that most sharply distinguishes South Africa's bureaucratic culture of violence from the lynch culture of the American South. One way to account for this difference is to draw upon Sheila McCoy Smith's concept of “ululation,” the sequence of steps that culminated in white collective violence.3 A communal lynching was a choreographed spectacle that was staged by ordinary citizens in the transparency of civil society. It commenced with an opening incident, progressed through stages that incrementally drew in a widening circle of participants and quickly imposed a shared frame that turned an assembly of citizens into an orderly mob, ready to gleefully participate in rituals that incrementally contributed to the victim's death. When the popular will of white society clashed with conscientious officials who attempted to forestall a public lynching, it was more likely that white citizens would emerge triumphant. In such instances, the full measure of white citizens’ ability to intimidate the local state became most clear after the lynching had been carried out. Too beholden to the popular will, too fearful of white rage and as loyal as lynchers were to the “Solid South,” state officials only rarely dared to act professionally and prosecute lynchers whose identities were widely known. Public servants often played an active role in the lynching or milled about as the lynchers tortured and executed their victim. Whatever the role of public servants, communal lynchings revealed the supremacy of “popular justice” in the regulation of race regulations in the lynch culture of the New South. In South Africa, communal forms of “popular justice” wilted before the timely intervention of law enforcement authorities.

The three institutions that this book has examined may not provide an exhaustive explanation of these differences, but they do demonstrate that traditions of violence did not grow from the irrational and inscrutable impulses of “a few bad apples” in the dominant population. They show that the bureaucratic and lynch tradition reflected the systemic interweaving of dynamics in the respective racial systems in which they emerged. The rest of this chapter draws out a number of implications that flow from the preceding chapters. The first section explores the differential contribution of dominant actors to racial violence, drawing attention to certain structural conditions that either promote or constrain tendencies towards unofficial racial violence. The second section underscores the importance of a (p.241) transcendent ideology and argues that systemic cultures of violence invoke predispositions that make reiterated violence not only acceptable but also righteous. A final section returns to the central role that the state played in the two cultures of violence.

Racial violence and dominant class actors

The end of two military conflicts – the American Civil War and the Anglo-Boer War – marked the beginnings of capitalist development and, simultaneously, the transformation of blacks into a vulnerable pool of cheap labor. In each context, whites sought to incorporate familiar patterns of racial domination – racial slavery and colonial despotism – into the emerging capitalist economy. The racial violence that this process entailed and later institutionalized was therefore inseparable from the integration of racial motivations and class interests in the segregation era. Blacks contributed to this process in complex ways, either by trying to wrest political and material advantages from emerging developments or, more importantly, by attempting to stave off the new restrictions and hardships that began to encircle them. Black challenges contributed to the racial state principally by galvanizing whites to attend more closely to the way race and class intersected. At issue was not only how blacks could be simultaneously dominated as a “race” and exploited as a class. These desiderata also had intertwined implications for the class and gender divisions within the white population. As a result, the prospect of racial democracy that briefly emerged on the heels of the two military conflicts profoundly politicized the internal unity of whites. Intra-white divisions made an automatic white consensus over the “race question” impossible and meant that a solution would have to be actively forged. Near-universal racism amongst whites certainly facilitated this quest, but it was also important that not all whites shared the same capacity to influence the emerging segregationist state.

Two power asymmetries amongst whites emerge as particularly salient: the dominance of the farmers and miners in the extractive industries over industrial manufacturers and the weakness of white workers relative to all employers. These asymmetries were common to both orders, ensuring that employers, chiefly those in the extractive industries, were disproportionately responsible for shaping the traditions of racial violence in each context. Agrarian and mining dominance also structured the politics of white labor. In both racial orders, employers created sufficient incentives for already-racist white workers to resist racial cooperation with black workers, but they did so in ways that determined how poor whites would participate in unofficial racial violence.

South Africa

Scholars conventionally ground the emergence of formal segregation in South Africa in the relatively speedy desegregation of the economy into three (p.242) major sectors – mining, capitalist agriculture and manufacturing industry – and the state's subsequent interventions to mediate the conflicts over cheap black labor. The contrast with developments in the American South suggests another interpretation: these same developments also limited whites’ propensity to commit unofficial violence. By engaging itself so extensively in the emerging labor market, the South African state elaborated its own distinct interests in stability into a cornerstone on which white supremacy came to rest. Resistance and counter-violence from the black majority were not the state's overriding concern in the segregation era. Nevertheless, successive governments were vitally aware that the state was vulnerable to a concerted black challenge. Fears of this “Black Peril” therefore peaked whenever intra-white discord broke out into open violence in this period. Thus, the same interventions that whites developed to secure the racially repressive labor market may also be read another way, as limiting the ability of white citizens to imperil a state that had not yet found its feet.

Employers in the three major sectors demanded divergent forms of labor control that precluded all employers from rallying to an overtly violent regime of labor regulation. Mine owners cherished a system of circulatory migrant labor; industrialists favored a settled urban population; while the majority of farmers pinned their fortunes to a system of labor tenancy. These angular demands were incorporated into the bureaucratic culture that emerged after 1910. With the state formally in control over “race relations,” whites settled for a modus vivendi that precluded inflammatory communal violence but tolerated private violence against blacks. This arrangement reinforced the racial state as the embodiment of the “universal will” of all whites while still preserving the sense of individual mastery and personal domination that whites viewed as a racial birthright. As a result, the state retained a substantive claim on its monopoly over the means of racial violence.

Employers who linked the success of their operations to the ability of the state to exert control over race relations were hardly likely to permit white workers to imperil the country by unleashing disruptive extra-legal violence against blacks. The “racial pogrom” that white workers inflicted on innocent blacks in the 1922 strike was not only extraordinary but is also instructive: mine owners, army units, the South African Police and even white members of the gawking public rushed to protect blacks. If only as a symbolic display of its paternalist “stewardship” over blacks, Smuts’ government ensured that one of the white lynchers was sentenced to death and hanged. White workers, for their part, displayed no sustained interest in imposing communal justice on blacks and, like whites generally, limited themselves to uncoordinated individual assaults on blacks. The thrust of white proletarian politics lay resolutely elsewhere. Nurtured by a burgeoning Afrikaner nationalist movement, militant white workers struck hard bargains with employers who, in turn, solicited the support and intervention of the government to institutionalize a concordat amongst capital, white labor and the state. It is beside the point that white workers remained a junior partner (p.243) in this pact and never succeeded in obtaining all their demands, although they did receive a great deal more than their counterparts in the South.4 What mattered for this book was that the statist orientations of aggressive white unions displaced blacks from the crosshairs of their mobilization and occasional rage. The industrial conciliation apparatus that emerged in the wake of the 1922 strike and a range of other benefits simultaneously consolidated the emerging bureaucratic culture and elevated white workers above the black majority. In South Africa, proletarian militancy begat proletarian mobility, and both dissuaded the white worker from fomenting a culture of communal violence against blacks.

The South

The ascent of farmers and the end of Reconstruction in the South were rooted in racial violence. The relatively straightforward dominance of the agrarian class here thus surfaces as the most critical determinant of racial violence. Farmers’ specific preferences – to establish labor repressive policies that resembled slavery as closely as possible – were initially masked by the ferocious assault on Reconstruction. By placing its imprimatur on this attack on established government, the agrarian elite legitimized extra constitutional violence and virtually deputized ordinary white civilians, initiating a trend in which ordinary white men could murder African Americans with little fear of punishment. It is impossible to determine with any precision when the elite-driven political terror that brought down Reconstruction evolved into racial terror in the New South. By the 1880s, however, farmers who had been compelled to re-start their operations by experimenting with devices they reviled, such as improving wages and working conditions, were already positioned to concoct an amalgam of legal devices and lethal violence to subjugate emancipated African Americans. Lynching of all sorts took its place alongside convict leases, debt peonage, crop liens and measures against “vagrancy” to inaugurate a system that transformed African Americans into dependent sharecroppers. When they emerged, neither the mining nor textile industries challenged the hegemony of King Cotton. Instead, they incorporated into their operations the basic premises that governed rural labor controls. Aided by their disproportionate influence within the various states, landowners were free to project their own interests in a terrorized and vulnerable black peasantry onto all of Southern society. As all white Southerners knew, this development effectively declared open season on African Americans.

Nowhere were the violent sensibilities that agrarian hegemony fostered more apparent than in the Black Belt states. Escape from sharecropping, summary violence and crushing poverty here was almost impossible for African Americans. Although racial violence was appreciably lower in the region's mining and urban centers, African Americans could not assume that they were safe from extra-legal violence. As a rule, unofficial violence was highest wherever King Cotton ruled.

(p.244) White workers, the people Idus Newby calls “the plain folk of the South,” were not the instigators of unofficial violence in the New South. Growing evidence suggests that their active participation in the lynch culture was by no means foreordained by the combination of racism and their “fear of displacement” by more vulnerable African American workers. Instead, employers who had an interest in a weak and divided working class set the tone that made violence acceptable in the New South. This they did in two ways: they made liberal use of lethal violence to defeat all labor movements and fanned the flames of racial hatred by threatening to displace non-compliant white workers by introducing African American (and immigrant European) workers. In response, droves of poor whites and African Americans turned to inter-racial unions and threw their support behind the Populist Party, threatening the reactionary Bourbons Democrats who dominated the South after Reconstruction. Riven by its complex and unsustainable internal tensions, the Populist movement was defeated in the mid-1890s by a combination of electoral fraud and violence fomented by the Democratic Party. Poor whites henceforth dealt with African Americans as rivals and competitors in the labor market.

The crushing of the inter-racial Populist movement was therefore critical in shaping plebeian violence against African Americans. Defeated and demoralized white workers defected en masse from the South's brief experiment with radical proletarian politics. Plebeian whites therefore commenced the twentieth century as a highly vulnerable class, prone to the racial blandishments and divisive class strategies of employers. William Cash's pithy equation5 exaggerates the subsequent docility and conservatism of white labor but still captures the crippling associations that deprived the region of a militant proletarian culture:

Labor unions + Strikers = Communists + Atheism + Social equality with the Negro

Poor whites participated in racial violence to underscore their marginal but crucial advantages over African Americans. Civil society became the arena of their racial politics and unofficial violence a prized badge of their whiteness. Still, if white workers celebrated the lynch culture partly because they were indeed racist, their racism was in no small measure engineered and amplified by landowners and industrial employers, the actors who were responsible for inaugurating the Southern lynch culture.

Evidence for the claim that racial violence correlated with the relative simplicity of elite domination may be found in Southern states with diverse economies. One Southern state, the Commonwealth of Virginia, illustrates this point. Virginia's diversified economy more closely resembled South Africa than it did essentially monocrop states such as Alabama, Mississippi or Georgia. Productive activities, by themselves, did not determine lynch patterns. Nevertheless, the correlations that arose in diversified Virginia (p.245) are instructive. Lynchings were fewest and disappeared fastest in Commonwealth regions that were more industrial and economically diverse, and where the wage system was most entrenched. In contrast, lynchings were highest, most persistent and most cruel in the sharecropping regions where King Cotton prevailed. Likewise, communal lynchings were widespread in the state's monocrop areas but infrequent in the diverse and modern economic centers of the state. These patterns suggest that economic differentiation complicates the ability of elites to consolidate a single regime of violence. Employers generally acquire a distaste for disruptive forms of violence in modern, efficiency-driven operations where stable labor markets, the productivity of workers and industrial skills are critical to profitability. Certainly, Virginia gained its reputation for racial moderation largely because race relations in the Black Belt states were more violent and degrading to American Americans. Still, the less violent approach to race relations in the most modernized parts of the Old Dominion also resembled patterns of racial violence in Northern states, where lynching occurred only occasionally. This pattern mirrored trends in South Africa's diverse economy, where whites also avoided the most extreme forms of extra-legal violence.

Racial violence as symbolic power

“Dirt,” Mary Douglas argues, “is matter out of place.” In this view, objects are not inherently “dirty” but only perceived to be so because they stand outside a prevailing system of classification. Objects become “dirty” when they threaten a consensus. Much as Emile Durkheim does in The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, Douglas argues that societies develop rituals, taboos and laws to ward off and expel the threatening pollutant.6 No less than dangerous objects, people who are “out of place” are also subject to practices that are intended to strip them of their power to threaten a reigning consensus. Douglas’ conclusion that the function of ritual (rites of passage) is to renew social order by re-clarifying categories provides a useful way to contrast the symbolic thrust of religion in the bureaucratic and lynch cultures that this book has examined.

Focusing on a durable tradition of lynching and murder instead of the more cataclysmic and episodic phenomenon of race riots underscores the indispensable role that a supportive and coherent ideology plays in sustaining cultures of violence. Two issues have been germane to this study: the general role of ideology and the specific importance of symbolic and ritual violence.

Unsurprisingly, the ideologies that South African and Southern whites generated to legitimize racial domination shared numerous similarities, but, because they were rooted in different historical contexts, the racial ideologies differed even on issues that were common to both. How ideological elements of white supremacy differed and buttressed the distinct cultures (p.246) of violence may be illustrated by examining three themes that were common to the origins of segregation in South Africa and the New South: “Lost Causism”; government intervention in the economy; and paternalism. These were not the only, and perhaps not even the most important, elements of segregationist ideology, but they suffice to convey the contrasting ideological meanings that marked the bureaucratic and lynch cultures of violence.

South Africa

Continuing its colonial-era pattern of excising and subsequently neglecting Africans, the DRC remained generally indifferent to the precise way in which Afrikaner and African lives intersected in postbellum South Africa. Social Gospelism amongst “poor whites” and Afrikaner equality with English-speaking whites were the entwined themes that dominated Afrikaner theology in the first two decades after 1910. Despite the DRC's unique history of exclusionary racism, these concerns effectively dissuaded Afrikaner theologians from elaborating a theology of racial vengeance against blacks. The DRC church remained essentially indifferent to blacks and left the control of “race relations” to the state, which was then actively promoting “closer union” amongst English-speaking whites and Afrikaners. The DRC neither vilified blacks as irredeemably evil nor fingered them as the principal cause of the Afrikaner crisis; instead, it actively cooperated with the black and white Social Christians in the Benevolent Empire to establish a racial order that it could defend on Christian and moral grounds. Driven by its republican mission and a “Christian paternalist” approach to race relations, the Afrikaner version of Lost Causism exuded none of the virulent hatred that marked Southern Protestantism. By refusing to sanctify the physical violence that marked farmers’ relations with blacks in the platteland, the DRC undermined propensities which, had theologians embraced them, would have placed blacks in greater mortal danger.

Constitutional segregation bestowed immediate political equality on Afrikaners and English-speaking whites and rendered anti-reconstruction violence unnecessary. Lost Causism was instead powerfully shaped by two developments that were central to state policy after 1910. The first was the government's commitment to the principle of limited government and its consequent disinclination to subsidize the living standards of “poor whites.” The second was the paternalist principle on which the state's “Native policies” were based. Both of these ideological commitments influenced the evolution of the DRC's theology and inhibited Lost Causism from degenerating into a theology of racial violence.

In response to the laissez faire policies of the pro-imperial governments of Louis Botha and Jan Christiaan Smuts, the DRC courted “poor whites” and enthusiastically embraced Social Gospelism. Escalating social hardship and fears that Afrikaners were “degenerating into natives” in the Union's towns radicalized a generation of Afrikaner theologians and quickly alerted the DRC to the limits of pastoral charity. After the First World War, the church (p.247) championed a “strong” version of the state and embraced the political arena as an extension of its religious work on the behalf of die volk. As a result, Lost Causism in South Africa did not simmer and boil in regional isolation as it did in the South; instead, DRC theology became enmeshed with institutional politics. Lost Causism in South Africa rapidly transcended the gloom of defeat. Under the aegis of a nationalist movement and a political party that accepted it as the spiritual guide of Afrikaners, the DRC played the leading role in welding together a class alliance of Afrikaner intellectuals, farmers, workers and emerging businessmen, and helped focus the movement on achieving political power.

A broadly defined racial paternalism was the second ideological force that shaped Lost Causism in South Africa. Even as its predikante ran and occupied political office in the 1920s and 1930s, the DRC's racial solutions remained self-consciously within the broad and flexible parameters of segregationist ideology of the inter-War years. The church never embraced the assimilationist ideology of the liberal Cape. At the same time, its racial theology was virtually indistinguishable from the pro-tribalist “liberal” tradition that prevailed in the English-speaking province of Natal. Well into the 1940s, the DRC remained proud of its paternalist orientation towards Africans and incorporated this principle into theological arguments that justified racial and ethnic domination.

In the end, Afrikaner theologians repudiated extra-legal violence and embraced statism because the latter could be made to benefit even the poorest members of the white working class. D. F. Malan, a theologian who became a politician in the 1920s before becoming the first Prime Minister of the Apartheid-era NP, declared in 1943 that his party stood for “state interference and state control on a large scale.” This vision emanated as much from a theological worldview as it did from a secular approach to state build-ing.7 Imperfectly executed in practice and persistently challenged by blacks, bureaucratic authoritarianism nevertheless established a formal system of racial repression that demobilized white civil society and enabled whites to develop rituals that were only vicariously connected to the black majority. While the state ensured that blacks were not “out of place,” Afrikaner rituals concentrated on cementing an “internal” class alliance and aimed at gaining political power. The most stirring Afrikaner public rituals of the inter-War years – the Afrikaans language movement, the emotional “ossewa trek” in 1938 and the construction of the Voortrekker monument later that year – were decidedly non-violent events.8 Such rituals harkened to Biblical images of a “lost tribe” beset on all sides by danger, seductive impurity and divine tribulation. Embodied in hymns, sermons and songs, Afrikaner religious rituals imagined an arduous history of trial and privation, a period of testing by God. But these rituals also envisaged the moment when God's blessing would be made clear. The reward for submission to God's will was the discovery and preservation of “nationhood” through the power of the modern state.

(p.248) If South African whites tended to view Africans as polluting the social body, they also romanticized the reserves as an Eden that restored the health and vigor of a people who were “out of place” in the urban areas. Restoring “order” therefore had a distinct spatial connotation. It meant keeping blacks “in their place” – in the reserves. Afrikaner rituals therefore celebrated the physical extrication and administrative banishment, not the destruction, of Africans in accordance with God's will. The rites of passage that this process entailed were accordingly secular and administrative and centered unavoidably around the paraphernalia of influx control, the crucial apparatus that would regulate the transference of Africans from one state to another, from corrupted urban dwellers to wholesome tribes happily ensconced in the reserves. Afrikaner theologians believed that Apartheid was the full measure of their virtuous intentions and that the proof was in the eventual denouement: like the Afrikaners who came bearing the gift, tribal Africans would one day also exult in their own “nationhood” in their segregated “ancestral homes.” Before the realities set in after 1948, the theoreticians in the DRC's missions section viewed the transferal to Africans of the Afrikaners’ historic discovery – a God-mandated “ethnic pride” – as a first-order theological principle that confirmed the essential humanity of Africans.9

The South

Protestantism, segregation and ritual violence against African Americans were insverably connected in the Southern states. Protestantism did not invent a tradition of lawlessness that included lynching – white mobbism, violence seemingly of all kinds and the lynching of white men had also been rampant in the antebellum era. What Southern Protestantism bequeathed to the twentieth century was a moral justification for concentrating subsequent violence on African Americans. Like the revamped theology of Afrikaners after 1910, Lost Causism in the South provided the glue to hold together a demoralized white community that was divided by class, anxious about its women, and fearful of the social and political equality that would flow from the emancipation of African Americans.

In sharp contrast to the DRC, Protestant leaders disdained political power and provided theological justification for opposing government intervention in the economy, an approach they damned as “communist” and, hence, evil. Social Gospelism in the South did attempt to alleviate the poverty of poor whites, but only rarely challenged the hegemony of employers who were firmly wedded to the low-wage system in the South. This meant three specific things: Southern Protestantism reinforced the dominance of employers, justified the subordination of poor whites and transformed the defense of racial segregation into a popular religious crusade. Lost Causism in the one-party South was therefore profoundly conservative, lacking entirely the confidence that Afrikaners developed to challenge and transform the imperial state after 1910. Because it portrayed established authority as legitimate, Southern Protestantism uncritically embraced the region's social hierarchy. (p.249) Women were subordinate to men; men were honor-bound to defend their women and children; the rich were rich because God blessed them; and blacks, who were both inferior and evil, deserved both the “social death” of segregation and the measures that preserved it. White Southerners grasped or intuited the inescapable conclusion: race trumped God. More accurately, they understood that serving God meant expelling evil. And because the “black-beast rapist” was evil incarnate in the white imaginary, white Southern Protestants embraced all forms of violence when they sacrificed black lives on the alter of “sex, sin and segregation”.

Purification, and not the “punishment of specific offenders,” was the primary goal of religiously sanctioned racial murder. The frequent presence of pastors at lynchings sanctified the shaming, mutilation and execution of black victims and blessed the white consensus that the “proper place” of blacks was outside the community of virtuous humanity. Emile Durkheim famously argued that “religious feeling is the individual's awareness of the group.” He may just as well have written that “Southern lynching is the individual's awareness of the group.”10

The symbolic functions of lynching in the New South afford a dramatic contrast to the non-violent rituals of state formation in South Africa. Mary Douglas’ observation that “Holiness means keeping distinct the categories of creation” certainly resonates in the enforced ethnicity policies of Apartheid.11 Applied to the South, however, the claim almost automatically invokes the specter of retributive violence whenever blacks stepped “out of place.” Because an offense against the holy segregationist order was tantamount to, or could easily be portrayed as, an offense against God, blacks who stepped “out of place” triggered a systemic violence that whites readily recast as Bible-derived themes of “punishment” and “atonement.” In the Protestantism of the South, sin demands, “someone has to pay.” Hymns and sermons in camp meetings and churches circled endlessly around this theme and unfailingly adduced the ultimate proof – the sacrificial death of Christ – that violence is a cleansing agent: “Christ, the Lamb of God, was slain/He tasted death for me.”12 Communal lynching certainly reinforced the economic exploitation of African Americans, but even this cardinal fact was subordinate to the role that lynching played in welding together the white folk of the South and the men whom the “black-beast rapist” transformed into guardians of white women's “honor.” One reason why white men in South Africa did not fuse together white femininity and religion quite as zealously as their Southern counterparts did may have to do with the dispersal of more than half of the black majority in recondite reserves, the spuriously “authentic” home of “tribal people.” White Southerners, in contrast, lived in unavoidable proximity, even intimacy with African Americans. Here, “the essence of segregation was not geographical or even spatial but was rather an effort to maintain hierarchical social distance between racial groups that were too much involved with each other to be separated by sharply drawn territorial, cultural, or economic boundaries.”13 To (p.250) forestall or to eliminate the consequences of “pollution,” whites placed a greater premium on the regulation of contact, particularly sexual contact with white women. The indissoluble connections that white Southerners established amongst “sin, sex, and segregation” therefore greatly exceeded similar connections within Afrikaner theological discourse, providing an always-present pretext to disgorge into the open all the tension and discord that undermined the image of the “Solid South.”

The symbolic content of lynch rituals in the South revealed the cul de sac in which segregation found itself in the twentieth century. Neatly embodied in George Wallace's 1968 electoral battle cry – “segregation today … segregation tomorrow … segregation forever” – Southern segregation was utterly devoid of any promissory rationales.14 Unable to “legitimate the illegitimate,” as whites in South Africa did, Southern Protestantism sanctified the only means by which whites could keep blacks “in their place.” While private lynchings were easily dismissed at the pulpit as the work of “ignorant poor whites of the lower type,” the aura of “holiness” in communal lynchings erased such blemishes on the honor of the New South and underscored the fundamental division that kept all whites and all blacks “in their place”: one white and virtuous, the other black and irredeemably tainted with evil. A communal lynching was a liturgy that froze time by preserving the present, a check on the forces that were chipping away at white supremacy. The rites of passage that human sacrifice entailed suppressed the inequalities that divided whites and guided the frenzied but strangely worshipful mob through a choreography that culminated in the supreme suspension of time, the ritual death of a sacrificial and vulnerable victim. A communal lynching, in short, was akin to the crucifixion of Christ on Golgotha. The implications of this symmetry were so awesome, Donald Mathews writes, that, like most scholars of lynching, the hushed lynch mobs of the South did not recognize “in the ritual of lynching a communal transference to the subject of violence all of the violence implicit in community itself; or, if it [saw] the transference, [did] not understand its religious ambience.”15

Racial violence and healing: The role of the state

Institutional violence was a common feature of both racial orders in the period of racial intensification and accounts for many of the similarities in the comparative literature. Nevertheless, institutional violence was a component of the overall culture and so also reflected the different thrusts of state formation in the two societies. The ascent and the decline of unofficial violence in the twentieth century are only explicable in light of these broader patterns. However remorseless they seemed at the time, patterns of racial violence were in fact unstable, subject to complex challenge from below, from above, and from changes in the international environment.16 Similar themes between the two racial orders certainly persist into the (p.251) present, providing fertile ground for comparativists to examine important developments in areas such as residential segregation, the desegregation of education, affirmative action policies, the changing relationship between race and class, and the changing meaning of “whiteness.” Future comparative work on these and other themes will almost certainly hinge around the critical difference that the state played in the decades following the Second World War.

In South Africa, the NP government reorganized the state into an authoritarian behemoth that preserved white prosperity and unapologetically escalated the repression of the black majority. This development represented a massive increase in the tradition of bureaucratic violence established in the segregation era. The government's refusal to accommodate black opposition polarized the relationship between the racial state and black civil society and severely limited its ability to capitalize on the class distinctions that gradually began to emerge within the African population. Instead, bureaucratic violence associated with labor controls, the differentia specifica of racial domination and capitalist development in South Africa, evolved into the garden-variety terror of juntas and police states. Unable to use the courts to dismantle Apartheid, blacks forged a revolutionary climate that finally cracked the disorganized Apartheid state. Although the legacies of racial domination continue to persist in contemporary South Africa, the “miracle” of 1994 successfully terminated the horrors that the TRC so painfully exposed.

In the South, a combative civil rights movement provoked a national crisis that forced a showdown between the federal government and defiant Southern states in the 1950s and 1960s. The result was a constitutional crisis which, had it arisen at any point in the preceding half century, might have been sufficient to dismantle segregation. Perhaps remarkably, the Southern lynch culture was not the primary target of legislative and political reform in the “Second Reconstruction” of the South. A federal anti-lynching bill, the goal that had led to the formation of the NAACP, would never see the light of day in the US, depriving African Americans of even a symbolic act of national contrition.17 Segregation would instead unravel on the legal rock of desegregating schools. Tragedy and farce again reappeared, just as they had when the violence of Reconstruction mutated into the lynch culture of segregation. In reaction to federal intervention into “state affairs” in the South, Southern whites again discovered in the legal framework of the federal system the means to repel the specter of racial integration.

South Africa

The bureaucratic culture in South Africa was to reach its terrifying zenith after the 1950s, when the NP had all but abandoned the optimistic paternalism of the DRC missiologists who had developed the Apartheid theology of the late 1920s and 1930s. The NP ruled with an iron fist by making full use of a Westminster-style parliament that placed all power in the hands of (p.252) the party in power and a constitution that provided little effective power of judicial review. Government policies placed Afrikaner interests at the top of the agenda. Farmers, Afrikaner businessmen and white unskilled workers became the primary beneficiaries of Apartheid policies even as the NP attempted to meet the conflicting demands of established manufacturers and mine owners, the redoubts of the English-speaking white world.18 The Apartheid project rested on an unparalleled degree of state involvement in the reproduction, distribution and employment of black workers in a massive attempt to “rationally” allocate labor at the cheapest rates possible. The NP hoped that Apartheid policies would end the chaos of the 1940s. Its growing intervention in society, however, produced the opposite effect. The 1950s were a tumultuous decade, roiled by ceaseless protests, strikes, anti-pass campaigns, and rent and consumer boycotts, as well as demonstrations organized by women in the urban and rural areas. Peasant opposition in the reserves illustrated how Africans’ consciousness and organizations spanned the very divide between the rural and urban areas that Apartheid policies sought to deepen. The ANC also shed its conservative politics in the course of the Second World War and went on to wage an “armed struggle” against an unyielding Apartheid regime. Militant black nationalism and grassroots challenges never came close to destabilizing the state. Nevertheless, mass resistance was sufficiently threatening to discourage the NP government from imposing the full range of Apartheid policies.19

A commitment to white prosperity on such a scale inevitably fomented a permissive culture of violence in which the distinctions between official repression and private violence blurred, generally with the blessings of the state. With the government pouring resources into expanding and coordinating a series of state-building activities such as the “development” of the reserves into “Bantustans,” the construction of a labor control apparatus to manage the expanded pass system, and the expansion and integration of the police and army, white citizens grew emboldened and became more brazen in their assaults on blacks. A comparison of archival files devoted to “Native assaults” before and after the 1940s suggests that random killings, unprovoked murders and lethal forms of labor control in the farming areas all escalated, matching a surge in complaints about lethal police violence against Africans.20 Officials in the Native Affairs bureaucracies and the Department of Justice had frequently intervened on the behalf of farm workers in the 1920s and 1930s, reflecting three entwined phenomena in the inter-War years: the lingering paternalist sensibilities of public officials; white farmers’ vulnerabilities to the vagaries of the era's “free market”; and the willingness of blacks to make use of the courts. All three diminished sharply after 1948. South Africa's expanding civil service became rapidly “Afrikanerized” in the 1950s, a policy that served as the foundation of the proletarian perks that led to the rapid reduction of white poverty after the Second World War. Personnel who dealt directly with Africans – particularly those in the “Bantu Affairs” bureaucracies that controlled matters such as (p.253) African education, the labor bureau system and the administration of the “Bantu Courts” system – soon acquired a fearsome reputation for crude racism and uncritical support for Apartheid policies. Coupling the modernization of agriculture to the Afrikanerization of an authoritarian state apparatus effectively trapped blacks and severely restricted their ability to seek relief in the courts. However, one source observes, the gradual displacement of labor tenancy by impersonal capitalist relations in the rural areas weakened whites’ ability to manipulate and control black workers and “opened the way for reactive violence.”21 The days of “reactive violence,” however, were a long way off – until the 1970s, black workers in the mines and rural areas remained vulnerable to capricious and occasionally deadly violence.

Nevertheless, unofficial violence in the post-Second World War era adhered to the foundational pattern examined in this book. Institutional violence and private violence escalated, yet communal and spectacle violence did not emerge. Given the racist religious socialization that saturated Afrikaner community, it is conceivable that the use of private violence to exert control and assert a violent white masculinity over Africans could have become de rigueur in the most reactionary platteland regions. An American cleric who visited South Africa in 2005 recounted a conversation with a contrite Afrikaner theologian: “When I visited apartheid South Africa sixteen years ago, an Afrikaner Christian told me he remembered sermons from his childhood in which the Zulus were compared with Amalekites, with the same implied divine mandate of extermination.”22 To South Africa's good fortune, such theological views about racial violence did not seize the popular imagination. Afrikaners were socialized to submit to the authority of the Apartheid state. Lacking either a sacred or a profane “mandate of extermination,” the Apartheid bureaucracy labored to “rationally” displace millions of Africans from inside “white South Africa” to “Bantustans” where all the elements of “structural violence” – poverty, landlessness, unemployment, mal-nourishment and easily preventable disease – exacted an immense toll on the rural population.

It was only after the Sharpeville massacre in March 1960 that the bureaucratic culture of violence reached its full dimensions. By this time, the National Party government had broadened its appeal within the white population and, having purged liberal ideology and Afrikaner nay-sayers from the civil service, unleashed the full repressive potential of the state it controlled. Its former obsession with perfecting the machinery of labor control broadened and merged with “internal security,” the rallying cry that so transformed the regime in the 1960s and 1970s that many scholars have described Apartheid in this period as a “police” or “totalitarian” state.23 In response to the popular black insurrection after June 1976, the security apparatus definitively eclipsed the labor control specialists within the state. In the 1980s, the ascent of “securocrats” spawned a complex bureaucratic apparatus, effectively a shadow government, that sought with increasing desperation and confusion to counterbalance “repression” with political (p.254) and administrative “reforms” that were designed to simultaneously preserve white supremacy and fracture mass opposition to Apartheid. New phenomena underscored the extensive transformation of the bureaucratic state: death squads, political assassinations and sinister “third forces” furtively emerged to sow death and confound the regime's opponents. These agents of death enjoyed the support of the state until the historic elections that finally terminated Apartheid in 1994. The bulk of the TRC's work would be devoted to exposing and documenting how violent civil servants had killed, maimed and tortured in the name of Apartheid.

The South

Dramatic events in the 1950s and 1960s would confirm that the NAACP's “legalist” strategy had found a vital chink in the segregation fortress. Yet, in the course of breaking the Solid South in the nation's courts, the NAACP also inadvertently handed white Southerners a strategy for defending the resilient remains of white supremacy. Die-hard segregationists borrowed the NAACP's legal strategy but turned it on its head: because the NAACP's strategy hinged around judicial activism and social engineering, white Southerners set out to hobble the state. This strategy would become known as “starving the beast” during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.24 White Southerners incubated this strategy in the course of the ten years it took for conflict over the desegregation of schools to subside. This development underscored the contrast between the resolutely statist orientations that defined racial domination in South Africa and the ambiguous relationship of state and civil society in the United States. In South Africa, the state intensified the oppression of blacks after the Second World War but, from 1994 onward, would become the central player in redressing the legacies of Apartheid. In the United States, an activist court in the late 1950s and 1960s tilted the scales in favor of African Americans before a conservative reaction set in. Beginning with the election of Ronald Reagan in the presidential election of 1980, government policies gradually acceded to Southern pressure by steadily returning racial matters to the realm of “local government” and civil society. Buried within the victory of the civil rights movement, therefore, were the seeds of a conservative revolt that would obscure the systemic structure of racial domination and transform it into a matter of individual “discrimination” and “prejudice.”

That revolt began with Brown v Board of Education. By ordering racial desegregation in public schools, Brown v Board of Education made the re-socialization of white children the centerpiece of the attack on segregation, striking a vital nerve amongst virtually all Southern whites. By the mid-1950s, however, the manufacturers and commercial businessmen who now dominated the Southern economy feared the economic and political consequences of the region's lynch culture. Lynching had virtually ceased by this time. Gone were the festive ceremonies and gruesome rituals of human sacrifice. As in South Africa, it was now difficult to distinguish between private (p.255) lynching and common murder, and even these now aroused strong public criticism in the press. Employers hastened to condemn them because leaders in the civil rights and labor movements latched on to every suspicious death “at the hands of persons unknown” as fodder for their increasingly united cause. The federal government, too, was increasingly willing to investigate the murder of African Americans, sending a chill down killers who feared the costs and adverse publicity of a federal trial. Meanwhile, as lynching disappeared, capital punishment began to increase. Whether or not capital punishment served as a “substitute” for racial lynching, the development clearly transferred the killing of African Americans from civil society to the state.25 The bacchanalian rituals of lynching were displaced by the clinical procedures used to administer death within the confines of the state prison – historically the preferred means for exacting racial vengeance against blacks in South Africa. At the same time, suspicious murders and the mass lynching in 1946 of four African Americans near Monroe, Georgia, revealed that at least some whites were still prepared to lynch African Americans.26

Court-ordered desegregation exposed the fissures that marked the South after the Second World War.27 On the one hand, the new hegemonic elites feared that “violence was bad for business” and unveiled non-violent movements to challenge or delay desegregation for as long as possible. Prominent members of white society – local plantation owners, bankers, doctors, lawyers, legislators, preachers, teachers and merchants – responded to desegregation by establishing reactionary “White Citizens Councils” (WCC) across the South in 1954. Two years later, US Senator Harry F. Byrd sparked the “massive resistance” campaign against the desegregation of Virginia's schools. In Mississippi, Governor J.P. Coleman established the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission to ferret out and publicize information, including innuendo and outright falsehoods, about “race agitators” and “subversives.” These responses to the Brown ruling were self-consciously middle-class and non-violent. For example, one WCC leader advised whites to “keep and pitch our battle on a high plane … keep our ranks free from the demagogue, the renegade, the lawless and the violent …”28 In practice, however, these representatives of the white middle class either participated in or turned a blind eye to an explosion of Klan violence. In just the five years after Brown v Board of Education, no fewer than 530 suspected cases of Klan violence against African Americans in eleven Southern states were recorded, including twenty-seven bombings in 1959 alone.29 In effect, a symbiosis emerged amongst a slew of institutions and movements, blurring the differences between the “manicured Kluxism” of the WCCs and the crudity of terrorist violence.30

The South, it seemed, had reverted to the violence of the Reconstruction era when leading citizens had taken charge of popular violence. This was only partly the case, however. The terrorist violence of the 1950s and 1960s bore none of the public brazenness of the earlier period when, for example, Ben “Pitchfork” Tillman, governor of South Carolina (1890–94) and later (p.256) US Senator (1895–1918), could publically admit, “We have done our level best [to prevent blacks from voting] … we have scratched our heads to find out how we could eliminate the last one of them. We stuffed ballot boxes. We shot them. We are not ashamed of it.”31 The Brown decision triggered a paroxysm of terror from the symbiotic union of white citizens and state officials, but not again would extra-legal violence exude such bravado.

To African Americans, Brown indisputably confirmed that the “Second Reconstruction” which the insouciant mood of the 1940s had sparked was underway. However, in deference to popular white opinion in the South, the Supreme Court had carefully stipulated that desegregation should be undertaken “with all deliberate speed” instead of “forthwith,” as Thurmond Marshall, the NAACP attorney, had unsuccessfully sought to insert in the Court's decision. White Southerners understood the legal implications of the difference and exploited every opportunity to retard the desegregation of schools. Reed Sarratt writes in The Ordeal of Desegregation that Southern states adopted almost 500 measures to get around Brown.32 Desegregation slowed down to a crawl in most Southern school districts, denying the Brown ruling a clear and resounding encore. Something more tangible and immediate than Brown was needed to harness the energy and optimism that the ruling had stoked.33

Perhaps appropriately, the spark came with a particularly poignant lynching. On 27 August 1955, one year after the Brown ruling, Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old boy from Chicago on vacation in Money, Mississippi, was mutilated and shot to death by two white men, J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant, who then threw his corpse into a river. Emmett Till was murdered for “talking sassy” to, and perhaps whistling at, a white woman named Carolyn Bryant, the wife of Roy Bryant. The lynching, the dignified rage of Mamie Till Bradley, Emmett's mother – who insisted on an open-casket funeral so that the world could witness her son's grotesque disfigurement – and the subsequent acquittal of Milam and Bryant provoked a sense of national mourning that placed Southern white apologists on the defensive. As Clenora Hudson-Weems has convincingly argued, more than any other single event, the lynching of Emmett Till “was the real catalytic event” that unleashed the modern civil rights movement.34

By insisting on displaying to the public her son's pulverized face, which she insisted the mortician should leave untouched, Mamie Till Bradley overturned the historic meaning that leapt from photographs of lynch victims – “niggers should stay in their place.” One of Emmett Till's killers used exactly that phrase in a confessional interview he sold to a newspaper for $4,000 once the all-white jury had safely acquitted him. Roy Bryant said, “I’m no bully; I never hurt a nigger in my life. I like niggers in their place. I know how to work ’em. But I just decided it was time to put a few people on notice. As long as I live and can do anything about it, niggers are going to stay in their place.”35 In the end, Emmett Till would not stay in his place in the muddy waters of the Tallahatchie River. Photographs of his face (p.257) were published widely in the African American press until it became the single most riveting image and a searing emblem of what black Southerners continued to endure in the 1950s. Mamie Till Bradley, a headline in an African American newspaper summarized, “had opened a casket and opened our eyes.”36

Southern resistance to desegregation provoked a dramatic constitutional crisis with long-lasting consequences. In 1957, the recalcitrant governor of Arkansas opposed school desegregation by mobilizing the state's National Guard. In response, President Eisenhower dispatched units of the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, federalized the Arkansas National Guard and ordered its troops to their barracks. Rather than comply with federal authority, Southern states established “segregation academies” (private schools for whites only) and starved public schools of funds. The logic behind this early response to Brown was prophetic and presaged the fate of contemporary race relations in the United States. Southern whites contended that because Brown v Board of Education applied only to state schools, whites were free to pursue their racist goals in private institutions they established in civil society. Perhaps remarkably, but in light of similar developments in the first half of the century, not surprisingly, working-class white families willingly agreed to impose a voluntary tax on themselves to avoid racial integration.37

Long opposed to “government meddling” in their “private affairs,” white Southerners in the era of the Cold War had found another Cause. Religious arguments had once sustained the lynching of the “black-beast rapist.” They now came to focus on “big government,” a new menace that only a return to “local rule” and “states rights” could combat. The new discourse broadened the conservative attack on Brown to include a comprehensive assault on the very principle of judicial activism and interventionist government on the grounds that these, too, were “part of a Soviet-sponsored plan to foment social, economic and political upheaval in the region.”38 What began as a movement against the narrow issue of desegregation expanded into a broad assault on seemingly unrelated issues: bans on school prayer, affirmative action, land-use policies, property rights, reproductive rights, environmental policies, and so on. Wherever the hand of the federal government was, conservative opposition was sure to follow, forcing the issue out of federal control and placing it in the hands of local government officials. By the 1980s, race – the issue that had generated “massive resistance” in the 1950s – was lost in the sweep of issues that conservatives targeted.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan rode to victory in the presidential election and won the support of white Southerners largely on the promise that he would “starve the beast” of big government. For many white Southerners who had been reared in households haunted by the bogeyman of the “black-beast rapist,” the racial subtext was clear: in practice, “starve the beast” was another way to prolong whiteness.

(p.258) The legacies of South Africa's bureaucratic culture of violence and the Southern lynch culture therefore seem paradoxical. South Africa's bureaucratic tradition inflated a state that a mass movement would eventually “capture,” hold accountable for the violent past and use to broaden democracy. In the United States, a federal state that had tolerated a lynch tradition would resist such “capture” by the African American minority. By transforming a fundamental fault line in American society into just another “interest group” issue, white Southerners denied the nation as a whole the opportunity to reconcile with the violent past.


(1) Fred Cooper, “Race, ideology and the perils of comparative history,” The American Historical Review, 101/4 (October 1996), 11–20.

(2) Mary Jackman, “License to kill: Violence and legitimacy in expropriative intergroup relationships,” in John T. Jost (ed.), The Psychology of Legitimacy: Emerging Perspectives on Ideology, Justice and Intergroup Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2001).

(3) Smith, When Whites Riot, 7.

(4) Yudelman, The Emergence of Modern South Africa, 227; Debora Posel, “Whiteness and power in the South African civil service: Paradoxes of the Apartheid state,” Journal of Southern African Studies, 25/1 (March 1999).

(5) Cash, The Mind of the South, 362.

(6) Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (Routledge and Keegan Paul, 1978); Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (Free Press, 1965).

(7) Cited in Greenberg, Race and State in Capitalist Development, 385.

(8) For a discussion of these events, see Moodie, The Rise of Afrikanerdom, passim.

(9) For a discussion of the clash between Apartheid “idealists” and “pragmatists” in the 1950s, see Posel, The Making of Apartheid, passim.

(10) Bertram Wyatt-Brown, “The Making of a Lynch Culture: Violence and Vigi-lantism in Central Texas, 1836–1916” [Review essay], H-Law (March 2005).

(11) Douglas, Purity and Danger, 54.

(12) Cited in Mathews, “The Southern rite of human sacrifice.”

(13) Fredrickson, White Supremacy, 254.

(14) Dan T. Carter, George Wallace, Richard Nixon, and the Transformation of American Politics (Markham Press Fund, 1992), 78.

(15) Mathews, “The Southern rite of human sacrifice.”

(16) Greenberg, Race and State in Capitalist Development; Robert Price, The Apartheid State in Crisis: Political Transformation in South Africa, 1975–1990 (Oxford University Press, 1991); Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Poor Peoples Movements (Vintage Books, 1979); John Skrentny, The Ironies of Affirmative Action: Politics, Culture, and Justice in America (University of Chicago Press, 1996).

(17) Zagrando, The NAACP Crusade Against Lynching, 145.

(18) Posel, The Making of Apartheid, 202.

(19) Evans, Bureaucracy and Race, 301.

(20) For example see the newspaper reports of increasing white-on-black murders in The Argus: “‘Murder’ for the following periods: 1936–48, 1959–60 and 1962–63,” in the National Library of South Africa. Also see the newspaper clippings in JPL A1913, Box 350 and JPL AD1912, Box 1962.

(21) William Beinart, “Political and collective violence in South African historiography,” Journal of Southern African Studies, 18/3 (September 1992), 463.

(p.297) (22) Rosemary R. Ruether, “Nations built by ethnic cleansing: The US and Israel,” Catholic New Times (30 January 2005), 12.

(23) Bernard Magubane, The Political Economy of Race and Class in South Africa (Monthly Review Press, 1979), 167. For a critique of this view, see Herbert Adam, “South Africa's search for legitimacy,” Telos, 59 (1984).

(24) Blueprint Magazine (30 June, 2003). www.ppionline.org/ndol/print.cfm?contentid=251788.

(25) Cooper and Terrill, The American South, 671–673; Brundage, Lynching in the New South, 251.

(26) The episode is analysed in Laura Wexler, Fire in the Canebreak: The Last Mass Lynching in America (Scribner, 2003). Also see Brundage, Lynching in the New South, 252–257.

(27) Greenberg, Race and State in Capitalist Development, 404.

(28) Cited in Wade, The Fiery Cross, 299.

(29) Wade, The Fiery Cross, 300.

(30) In Mississippi, for example, evidence would later confirm that the symbiosis incorporated the state legislature, the state executive, the WCCs, the Ku Klux Klan, and the State Sovereignty Commission. Neil McMillan, The Citizens’ Council: Organized Resistance to the Second Reconstruction 1954–1964 (University of Illinois Press, 1971).

(31) Rayford Logan, The Betrayal of the Negro from Rutherford B. Hayes to Woodrow Wilson (Da Capo Press, 1997), 91.

(32) Reed Sarratt, The Ordeal of Desegregation: The First Decade (New York, 1966), 357–58; Also cited in Webb, “A continuity of conservatism: The limitations of Brown v Board of Education,” Journal of Southern History 70/2 (May 2004), 330.

(33) Clenora Hudson-Weems, “Resurrecting Emmett Till: The catalyst of the modern Civil Rights Movement,” Journal of Black Studies, 29/2 (November 1990), 175; Michael J. Klarman, Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (Oxford University Press, 2004), 235; and Webb, “A continuity of conservatism,” 331.

(34) Hudson-Weems, “Resurrecting Emmett Till,” 179. Also see her book, Emmett Till: The Sacrificial lamb of the Civil Rights Movement (Bedford, 1994). “If the men who killed Emmett Till had known his body would free a people,” Jesse Jackson Jr. observed, “they would have let him live.” Cited in Christine Harold and Kevin Michael De Luca, “Behold the Corpse: Violent Images and the Case of Emmett Till,” Rhetoric and Public Affairs, 8/2 (2005), 279.

(35) Quoted in Harold and De Luca, “Behold the Corpse,” 280.

(36) Quoted in Harold and De Luca, “Behold the Corpse,” 280.

(67) Baines, “The Port Elizabeth disturbances,” 163.

(68) Ashforth, The Politics of Official Discourse, 17.