Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, historical institutions (state archives, historical societies, museums, etc.) neglected to keep accurate records of racially motivated killings. Instead, civil rights organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and anti-lynching activists, like Ida B. Wells, worked to document the lynchings of black Americans. In the early 20th century, residents also protested anti-Mexican violence at the hands of the state police, local law enforcement, US soldiers, and vigilantes. Journalists, like Jovita Idár, civilians like Frank Pierce, and elected officials like José Tomas Canales, made efforts to shift cultures of violence. Mapping Violence builds on these pioneering efforts to create a record of racial violence in Texas.
Each case of racial violence is significant for shaping our understanding of the past. A team at Brown University is researching cases in the archive and finding new cases every day. Team members are using a range of sources including oral histories, court cases, photographs, letters of correspondence, police reports, newspaper articles, state senate investigation records, federal investigations, consulate records, NAACP archives, and records preserved by other civil rights pioneers.
Mapping Violence is a multi-year effort. The team will add our findings, educational resources, and curated content over the course of the next weeks, months, and years.