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Overview

Every civil rights and labor organization in America in the 20th century has fought against generations of ingrained prejudice, and the bloodiest battles in the struggle for civil liberties have generally been fought in the South.

And while various civil rights organizations such as the Commission on Interracial Cooperation (CIC) had effected many changes by the late 1920s and were gaining support and momentum in their work, much remained to be done. The Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching (ASWPL) took on the specific problem of hangings and provided inspiration to other organizations through its zealous efforts.

This unique microfilm collection documents the work of the ASWPL as it set about putting a stop to an alarming increase in the number of African-Americans being lynched in the rural South. Founded by Jessie Daniel Ames as a spin-off program of the CIC, this small group achieved much in its 12 years of existence.

The papers of the ASWPL include correspondence, reports, pamphlets, legislative materials, and meeting minutes that trace their determined fight to end the heinous and arbitrary hangings of African-Americans.

The public outcry caused by the ASWPL raised the consciousness of people in the South and in other areas of the country, and as a result the number of lynchings decreased markedly. In 1942 the ASWPL ended its separate activities and merged back into the CIC.

Researchers in the areas of women's studies, African-American studies, political science, and American history will find that this collection fills a unique niche in civil rights research literature providing an interesting case study on one aspect of racial tension.

(See Also: Commission on Interracial Cooperation and Southern Regional Council Papers.)

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