Methodology


We collected the data in the Archive over the course of 15 years, and yet it is not complete. Our collection contributes to a rapidly proliferating field of research projects and databases seeking to analyze and redress the history of racial violence in the United States. Our data set includes much of the violent killings that took place during the period and in the region of the study, and it expands significantly on previous collections, but because federal records were, for reasons we elaborate herein, often not available, and state records non-existent, we can only speculate as to the true scope of the violence. As more fully described in the “sources” section below, we have collected government documents created and/or maintained by the Department of Justice, the FBI, the War Department, the federal courts, state vital records departments, state police agencies, state and local prosecutors and courts, and coroners. We have also collected the records of national and local civil rights advocacy organizations and family history, including photographs and oral history. Our research is ongoing. In the future we will expand the material for the states currently represented in the Archive and add new states.