Virginia was one of the first states to be readmitted to the Union after the Civil War, perhaps because its post-war constitution promised equal treatment under the law to former slaves. Meanwhile, the number of lynchings tripled betweed 1890 and 1905 as violent vigilantes took the law into their own hands. Historians Claudine Ferrel of Mary Washington College and Sam Pincus of Piedmont Virginia Community College, author of The Virginia Supreme Courts, Blacks, and the Law 1870-1902, offer a frank look at our troubled past.

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