Story at a glance

  • Researchers with the University of Virginia published a new study on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • The study found a correlation between the location of Confederate monuments and the number of lynchings the area had.
  • The findings indicated that a high number of lynchings acted as a “significant predictor” of a high number of Confederate memorials in the area.

A new study found a correlation between the location of Confederate monuments and the number of lynchings the area had. 

According to the University of Virginia study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, counties in once-Confederate states with numerous Confederate monuments and memorials were also discovered to have had more lynchings. The study didn’t include data on Confederate monuments and lynchings in states that weren’t once part of the Confederacy.

Researchers analyzed and then cross-referenced county data surrounding lynchings that occurred between 1832 and 1950 with county data on Confederate monuments in the area. The findings indicated that, even when accounting for variables in population and demographics, a high number of lynchings acted as a “significant predictor” of a high number of Confederate memorials in the area.


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This finding provides concrete, quantitative, and historically and geographically situated evidence consistent with the position that Confederate memorializations reflect a racist history,” the study states, “one marred by intentions to terrorize and intimidate Black Americans in response to Black progress.”

A number of Confederate monuments have faced increased criticism and calls for removal in recent years, with increased vigor following the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., which led to a car attack that injured 35 people and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

In September 2021, a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was removed in Richmond, Va.


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Published on Oct 14, 2021