Six recorded racial terror lynchings took place in Davidson County between 1877 and 1950.
This is our history.
We are collecting those stories here to begin a discussion about these events and the broader legacy of racial terror in Nashville. These six murders are only a handful of those that took place during this period - including a reported total of 234 in Tennessee and over 4,000 in the country as a whole.
You can learn more this history and its national legacy at the Equal Justice Initiative’s website, Lynching in America.
Tennessee in 1924 was Governed by Democrat Austin Peay and, while mob violence had greatly decreased since 1892, racism, notions of racial purity and Jim Crow laws ruled the land. In the period spanning 1913-1938, 84% of executions using the electric chair were of black men, beginning a tradition of state sanctioned violence against communities of color.
Henry and Ephraim Grizzard
The climate of race relations in post-reconstruction era Davidson County, Tennessee was one of extreme economic power imbalance with overtones of cultural backlash from political gains of Blacks following reconstruction. Racial pogroms occurred in in Humphreys, Morgan and Polk Counties between 1885 and 1894 and Polk County, banished black residence altogether by threat of violence in 1894.