This haunting film looks back at the history of lynchings and massacres endured by Black people in the U.S.

Illustrated short from the Equal Justice Initiative revisits terror over hundreds of years

Published On
Jun 22, 2020

Editor's Pick

A new film for the Equal Justice Initiative reflects on the massacres Black people have faced since the Reconstruction era following the Civil War.

Hauntingly beautiful illustrations guide viewers through history, showing how President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1862 did nothing to stop the hate and brutality Black Americans have had to face and continue to face.

The film promotes EJI’s new report, Reconstruction in America, which examines the 12 years following the Civil War and documents 2,000 more lynchings of Black people in America than were previously recorded. The report says that the new numbers bring the count to 6,500 lynchings, with thousands more that may never be known.

“It was during Reconstruction that a century-long era of racial hierarchy, lynching, white supremacy and bigotry was established, an era from which the nation has yet to recover,” reads the film’s narrator, Tera DuVernay, deputy director of museum and memorial operations for the Equal Justice Initiative.

DuVernay’s sister–Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay ("Selma,""13th," “When They See Us,” “Wrinkle in Time”)–shared the video in a tweet to her 2.5 million followers.The six-minute film is directed by freelance filmmaker Jim Batt and musician and filmmaker Kim Boekbinder and produced by New York City-based production company Sharp as Knives. Illustrations come from award-winning artist and author Molly Crabapple, who has worked on a number of projects about racial equality.

“We believe our nation has failed to acknowledge our history of racial terror and that we must commit to a new era of truth telling followed by meaningful efforts to repair and remedy the continuing legacy of racial injustice,” DuVernay states towards the end of the film.


Jun 22, 2020
Client :
Equal Justice Initiative

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