Lynching Visual Analysis

Published: 2021-07-29 06:40:07
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Category: Culture, Gender, Clothing

Type of paper: Essay

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In the photo “Lynching 1930” there is a crowd of people gathered around a tree, two African-American men are hanging from that tree, they are both dead. Lynching of African-Americans began to spread after the American Civil War and it was most popular in the South. Lynching African-Americans was used as a punishment usually carried out by a mob of white people to intimidate African-Americans, “black” people suffered from violence of white people for many years they had no freedom and no citizen rights; they were considered as slaves.
Between 1860 and 1890 almost 5,000 African-Americans were lynched in front of large crowds of white people. When I first saw the photo, I focused on the two men hanging from a tree, the reason I first saw this is because they are both in the middle of the picture and everything else in the picture is directing towards these men. The other people in the picture are smiling and they all look happy and relaxed at the sight of two dead men. I was shocked when I saw the photo, what happened to these men including many others like them is unfair, cruel and immoral.
The photo shocked me and I also felt disgusted by the cruelty and cold-heartedness of people looking at corpses while looking like they are about to have a celebration. In the crowd the people who are standing nearest to the photographer are all looking at the camera, one man is pointing at the corpses with a proud look on his face as if he just accomplished doing something important. Near this man, there is a young couple holding hands both smiling as if it were the happiest moment of their lives. Two other men seem careless at the horrible sight and are smoking cigars.

People of all ages are gathered around the big tree, there is even a little girl who looks like she is 10 years old who is smiling. I feel horrified looking at all these smiling faces that have all seen the same thing and are joyful about it; murder. No one in the picture looks sad or disgusted after seeing two men who have just been murdered, it is worrying to see how proud and happy people are to be taken in a picture in front of dead people. Not one person in the photo looks shocked, not the men, not the women and not even the little girl. There are people of all different ages in the photo, but the all have he same reaction to racism. Men are wearing suits or dress shirts with ties, some of them are wearing hats while the women are all wearing dresses and have short hair. People in the crowd look like they are mixed between the middle class and rich people, the person who stands out the most in the photo is a man who looks like he is in his 50’s, he is wearing a white dress shirt and dark trousers, he has a thin mustache on his upper lip and he is pointing at the man hanging on the right side of the tree with a look of accomplishment on his face.
An old woman is standing beside him, she seems distracted by someone else and her eyes are looking in the direction of a young man who is at the right side of the photo only half his face is showing in the picture, the other half is cut out. I think this photograph was taken on a summer night because people are wearing light clothes. Women are wearing dresses with prints on them and most men are only wearing shirts without jackets.
The dark sky is visible behind the tree; there are also two streetlights that appear in the picture behind the dead men. Focusing on the two dead men, they both look poor because their clothes are ripped and do not look as expensive as the clothes of the people in the crowd. The man on the left has his head looking down; he is wearing an unbuttoned shirt and trousers. I can see stains on his shirt and trousers, they looks like blood. I think the man was tortured in before being hung to the tree.
The man on the right has his head tilted to the side he is wearing a shirt but instead of trousers there is a piece of cloth wrapped around his waist, the hemline is uneven and he is barefoot. He also has bloodstains on his clothes. I think this photograph is one of the most famous ones because it isn’t only a picture of the dead men but you can also see the crowd’s reactions to this scene. You can see how intolerant people were and not accepting people for their skin color.
I think that people’s view and feelings from this photo has changed over the years, in the 1930 this photo would be pleasant for white people to look at and it would evoke a feeling of happiness and pride when seeing the huge crowd gathered around the tree but nowadays this photo would shock anyone even white people. People’s acceptance of different races and skin colors has evolved during the years, if this happened today it would not be acceptable like it would have been at the time the photo was taken. I am glad I do not have to see this sight nowadays because I think it is unfair to judge a person by their looks, skin color or race.

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