The practice of lynching is a crime where one or more persons is killed by a group of people, usually defined as 3 or more, often by means of hanging but not strictly limited to this method. The crime is outside, or extra-legal, of the legal system and the perpetrators try to justify their actions as being "just" or the righteous punishment of those who are killed.
Lynching in the United States mostly occurred in the southern states, though it happened throughout most of the nation during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The upper south states are antebellum slave states that either did not pass an ordinance of secession during the Civil War, or seceded after the firing on Fort Sumter. These states also had legalized school segregation at the time of the Supreme Court decision Brown v Board of Education in 1954 which negated the "separate but equal" justification for segregation.
These states also had in place a number of laws deemed "Jim Crow" which restricted the rights of African-Americans as full citizens.
The upper southern states generally had numerically lower lynching incidents than the "deep south", but the motivations and backgrounds are similar. Having a much lower African-American population also meant that lynching rates were often as great as the deep south states or even greater, as in the case of Arkansas or Kentucky. The people usually targeted were African-Americans, though victims were sometimes of other races and nationalities.
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