A Red Record

Revealing lynchings in North Carolina


The Red Record documents lynchings in North Carolina (and ultimately, beyond) using DH Press.

Started in February of 2015, The Red Record aims to

  • pinpoint, using latitude-longitude pairs, the locations of lynchings in North Carolina.
  • provide access to relevant manuscript material, particularly digital newspaper articles.
  • remember the targets of lynching as whole persons with families, jobs, and identities beyond that of victims
  • offer users both broad and specific information about lynching in North Carolina for research, teaching, and other uses.
  • contribute to an important conversation about race, violence, and power in the United States.

White North Carolinians did not make their state a leader in lynchings, much to the relief of the state’s governors. But North Carolinians still lynched nearly 150 people between the Civil War and the Kennedy presidency.

This project seeks to address the irony that despite the fact that members of lynch mobs documented their activities deliberately and prolifically, the physical spaces by and large remain unmarked. This project will visualize lynchings in new ways, to the extent possible privileging images of modern sites of historic lynchings over the mob-produced images of damaged black bodies that were intended to terrorize the wider black community.

Current and future iterations of the project will seek to integrate lynching and death penalty data; address press coverage; and include attempted lynchings, not just those that resulted in a death.

The title, The Red Record, is drawn from Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s work by the same name.


Elijah Gaddis and Seth Kotch direct this project. Student historians include Jennifer Davidowitz, Sarah Dwyer, Dallas Ellis, Jared Feeny, Ava Gruchacz, Robert Haisfield, Jennifer Hausler, Harry Heyworth, Kara Kochek, Daniel Lee, Landon Mays, George Pancio, Ellis Pearson, Sara Pyo, Austin Seamster, Holden Shearin, Courtland Stout, Nik Stylianou, Zachary Sukkasem, Alondra Vargas, Patrick Vickers, Lauren Wagaman, Marianna Baggett, Gabrielle Brown, Anna Conway, Connor Davies, Dylan Farrow, Katelin Franklin, Patrick Hargrove, Georgina Ho, Courtenay James, Joel Janssen, Michael Johnston, Sami Kerker, Christina Kochanski, Anna L’hommedieu, Taylor McCarn, Shuler Mehaffey, David Mossman, Kirsten Paulus, Marshall Ranson, John Ronan, Maher Shukr, Anji Sivakumar, Ward Snyder, Alex Taub, Kate Terentieva, Emily West, Basil Williams, Hannah Williams, Maggie Bauer, Laura Blinson, Flare Brown, Elissa Dawson, Ian Dewars, Hattie Ferguson, Lauren Fitzgibbons, Myranda Harris, Chrisana Hughes, Iqra Javed, Eimi Ledford, Molly McConnell, Black Morgan, Rob Murphy, Namiko Nagata, Jack Palagruto, Jackson Parrish, Corbin Phifer, Nick Polino, Hudson Spangler, Jason Strowbridge, Maddy Sweitzer-Lamme, Morgan Vickers, and Joanna Williams.


  1. This is very interesting and horrifying. Perhaps companion maps of police shootings and judicial executions will follow. Come on, geographers and sociologists.

    Keep up the great and useful work.

  2. There is a lynching in the 1930’s, I think, that is referenced in the book, Zeb’s Black Baby, about the history of Vance County, NC that is not on this map.

  3. As an unofficial town historian for Dobson, the Surry County seat, I keep reference information about the Tom Allison lynching. I would be happy to donate scans of local press coverage of the lynching. It appears that almost everyone involved in the lynching was white – except the major witnesses, who were black. Allison was taken out of the Surry County jail and hauled through the town’s African American section to what became known at the “Allison Tree.”

    • Is that store called the “Allison Tree” because of that event?
      I’ve read two different newspaper articles about that lynching, but unfortunately they are very short and not much detail is found about it at all. I’m curious to know more about the history around these places.

    • Mr. Badgett, I am very interested in obtaining additional information about the Thomas Allison lynching, as he was my Great Uncle. From my Grandfathers’s memoirs:

      “…Thomas Hampton Allison, was lynched by the friends of a man he had shot and killed in a fit of anger. This brought such shame and degradation upon the family that the incident was thereafter kept a dark and closely guarded secret. I never heard the matter discussed by anyone and learned of it long after Mother and Dad were both gone, through a cousin who claimed to have heard of it in some mysterious way.”

  4. Here is a blog post I did on Henry Swaim, who was lynched in Forsyth County in 1884…the only known lynching in county history…


  5. I knew there were alot more than just 150 in the state. These people made lynching a hobbie. They posed in pictures with lifeless bodies. This was fun to them. I’m pretty sure that there are alot more undocumented lynchings in NC. Caswell county has its own chapter of the kkk, so might wanna start with checking the history there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


© 2017 A Red Record

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑