A Law of Unintended Consequences: United States Postal Censorship of Lynching Photographs

  title={A Law of Unintended Consequences: United States Postal Censorship of Lynching Photographs},
  author={Linda J. Kim},
  journal={Visual Resources},
  pages={171 - 193}
This paper addresses an oft-cited but unexamined footnote in the history of lynching photographs. In the midst of the federal government's recalcitrance to pass legislation against lynching practices, an obscure amendment to the Comstock Act was passed in 1908 prohibiting the sending of photographic postcards of lynchings through the United States mail. The law censoring these postcards, however, did no such thing. Using the examples of a few isolated cases in which lynching postcards were… Expand
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At the Hands of Persons Unknown
The victim of lynchings] could not have been guilty of any terrible crime. They were simply lynched by parties of men who had it in their power to kill them
  • Lynchings were not about what black victims did or did not do, so much as what whites could do, and with impunity
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Bar Lynching Postcards. Texas Inspectors Close Mails to Representations of White Domination
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