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Historian to Lecture on Legacy of Lynching in America

(Posted January 24, 2006)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- A nationally known expert on the history of lynching, William Carrigan, will lecture at Juniata College on "Why Ordinary People Lynched" at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 6 in Alumni Hall in Brumbaugh Academic Center on the Juniata campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

The lecture will focus on the lynching of an 18-year-old farm worker in Waco, Texas in 1916. He will talk specifically about how the region's culture of violence and history of vigilante justice can be used to understand violence and racial division in today's modern society.

Carrigan, associate professor of history at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., is the author of "The Making of a Lynching Culture: Violence and Vigilantism in Central Texas 1836-1916." The history examines how a culture of violence could be perpetuated over a long period of time, Carrigan also analyzed lynching incidents against Native Americans and vigilante executions of Anglo-Americans. His book and research have been the focus of media stories in the New York Times and several other national news organizations.

Carrigan specializes in the history of 19th and early 20th century U.S. history. His expertise focuses on race, ethnicity and mob violence in the southwestern United States. He is currently working on two other book projects. He is editing "Lynching Reconsidered: New Directions in the Study of Mob Violence" and working as co-author for a book called "The Lynching of Mexicans in the United States, 1848-1928."

Carrigan has been professor of American history at Rowan since 1999, where he teaches a variety of U.S. history courses, including the history of the American West and the Civil War and Reconstruction. Previously, he worked as a lecturer at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga. in the 1998-1999 academic year and as a teaching fellow at Emory University in Atlanta.

He earned a bachelor's degree in history in 1993 from the University of Texas at Austin. He went on to earn a master's degree in 1996 and a doctoral degree in 1999, both in history from Emory University.

He was an adviser for the feature-length documentary "American Lynching: Strange and Bitter Fruit," and served as a consultant for the book "Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America." He is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Historical Association, the organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, the western Historical Association and Phi Alpha Theta.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.