Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Amos J. Beyan.


Unlike the majority of scholarship on the anti-lynching movement, this study focuses on the contribution and interaction of trans-Atlantic participants in the nineteenth century phase of the movement. According to current historiography, the origin of the anti-lynching movement is generally associated with the protest journalism of Ida B. Wells and her exile from the American South in 1892. This study however, redefines that date of origin as well as the period of time in which Americans and persons in the United Kingdom began working together to expose the crime of lynching beyond American shores. In this perspective, the activities of Ida B. Wells represent a catalytic force, which significantly impacted a nascent anti-lynching movement that had begun several years before she became involved.;The examination of correspondence, journals and periodicals, newspaper articles, diaries, membership data, and autobiographies, has shown that specific Americans were speaking out and organizing in protest of lynchings a decade prior to the traditionally designated time period, and that a trans-Atlantic connection was made with reform minded individuals in the United Kingdom at an earlier date than is usually stated. This discourse provides a clearly defined picture of the nineteenth century anti-lynching movement from its genesis in the early 1880s to 1900.;As the Reconstruction period evolved, whites who were threatened by upward mobility in the African American community, began to use lynchings as a means of stifling their political, economic, and social advancement. In spite of the risk of speaking out against this aggression, several Americans, specifically journalists, ministers, and humanitarians asserted their influence and protested the crime. They were joined in their efforts by persons in the United Kingdom, primarily England and Scotland, who together increased the global awareness of a heinous crime and laid the foundation for future initiatives to abolish lynchings in American society.