Project HALHistorical American Lynching 

Data Collection Project

Please send submissions and inquiries to both contact addresses below.

Elizabeth Hines, Ph.D.


Geography & Geology


Wilmington, NC  28403

Eliza Steelwater, Ph.D.

Independent Scholar

Bloomington, IN

Links to incoming information about lynchings:

The Hangman's Knot:  Lynching, Legal Execution and America's Struggle with the Death Penalty, Eliza Steelwater

Orange County, NC lynching of Cyrus Guy in 1869, Steve Rankin

Bayesian Analysis of HAL Data, Peter Larson



The project is very broadly focused and is intended to continue indefinitely.   The goal is to accumulate a database of lynchings that took place at any date within the present borders of the United States.  We hope to make the lynching database analogous to the comprehensive list of legal executions compiled by M. Watt Espy of the Capital Punishment Research Project, Headland, Alabama.  We will collect information for individual lynching incidents on an ongoing basis.  

Data are  available for download in an Excel/Win zipped format (Download HAL data). 

 The SOURCE column identifies the contributor.  For example, a "1" identifies the original data set, 2 a later contributor, et cetera.  All "1s" are verified.  Researchers interested in lynchings with source numbers above 1, should consult the primary data or newspaper archives for the event or events or the submission contributor.

The original data came from the NAACP Lynching Records at Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama.  Stewart Tolnay and E.M. Beck examined these records for name and event duplications and other errors with funding from a National Science Foundation Grant and made their findings available to Project HAL in 1998.

Our personal interest in the project is to develop further data for our own research into historical lynching, legal execution, and the relationship between them.  We also feel the study of lynching generally would be enriched by wide access to comparative historical data.

Please cite Project HAL when using these data.  Thank you.

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"Lynching" historically includes not only Southern lynching but frontier lynching and vigilantism nationwide and many labor-related incidents.  Persons of any race or ethnicity and either gender may have been either perpetrators or victims of lynching.

We follow an NAACP definition for including an incident in the inventory of lynchings:

1) There must be evidence that someone was killed;

2) The killing must have occurred illegally;

3) Three or more persons must have taken part in the killing; and

4) The killers must have claimed to be serving justice or tradition.


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Project HAL's Goals

The Project's stated purpose is to collect and disseminate data on American lynchings  from verified sources to enhance the Tuskegee/Tolnay and Beck Southern lynching data base.  Over time we will expand the file to include lynchings that occurred in any American region from the American Colonial era to the modern period. 

These data are available for research purposes.

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We solicit text copies and citations from period newspapers, county histories, academic theses, published works, and any other credible nonfiction source in order to develop a list of individual incidents of lynching.  We would like to include as many as possible of the following specifics listed in this box for each lynching incident. 

We welcome paper copies, e-mailed information, and electronically submitted information via the form located in the Automated Lynching Data Submission Form, found below.

 1) name of victim(s)

 2) age of victim(s)

 3) gender of victim(s)

 4) race/ethnicity/nationality of victim(s)

 5) occupation/social status of victim(s)

 6) place of residence, if any, of victim(s):  well known local; new in town; not a local resident; other place of residence if known; transient; homeless

 7) county and state where incident took place;  town or other locality if known

 8) when incident took place:  date (m/ d/ y); time of day (hour/ a.m.- p.m.)

 9) duration of incident (minutes, hours, days)

10) alleged offense for which the victim was lynched

11) means by which death was inflicted

12) other acts of punishment, torture and/or mutilation, if any

13) character of the mob:  size; gender ratio; ages; race/ ethnicity/ nationality: occupation(s)/social status; place of residence (local/other); apparent or known leader(s)

14) any participants in the lynching who are known: name, age, gender, race/ ethnicity/nationality, occupation/ social status, place of residence; role in the lynching

15) narrative account of the lynching.

16) information source (required)

17) Submitter's name, e-mail, address and affiliation

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Go to Automated Lynching Data Submission Form

Citations, queries, and other correspondence can be sent to the e-mail or postal addresses listed above.   

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Automated Lynching Data Submission Form 


  • Submit Information on any lynching below.

  • Please fill in the data boxes as completely as possible.  

  • Please note that we can only use data for which at least one source is given, such as a dated newspaper article or county history.

  • When you have finished, simply press the "Submit" button to send to Project HAL.

  • Sorry, but we cannot accept anonymous submissions. 



  I.  Victim Characteristics:

 1) Name of victim(s)

  2) Age(s) of victim(s) 

  3) Gender of victim(s) 

  4) Race/ethnicity/nationality of victim(s)

  5) Occupation/social status of victim(s)

  6) Place of residence, if any, of victim(s):  well known local; new in town; not a local resident; other place of residence if known; transient; homeless: 



II. Incident Characteristics:


  7) State where incident took place; 


  8) County where incident took place


  9) Other locality, if known

 10) Year of  incident  

 11) Month of incident

 12) Date of incident   

 13) Time of day (hour/ AM.- PM)

 14) Duration of incident (minutes, hours, days)

 15) Alleged offense for which the victim was lynched

 16) Means by which death was inflicted (hanging, burning, beating, shooting, other)


 17) Other acts of punishment, torture and/or mutilation


 III.  Mob Characteristics:

 18) Mob size (number, if known, or small, medium, large)  

 19) Mob gender ratio

 20) Mob ages, if known, or approximations

 21) Mob race/ethnicity nationality

 22) Mob occupation(s)/social status

 23) Mob's place of residence (local/other)

 24) Mob's apparent or known leader(s)

 25) Known lynching participants (name, age, gender, race/ ethnicity/nationality, occupation/ social status, place 

 of residence; role in the lynching) 



 26) Narrative account of the lynching 



 27) Lynching information source (newspapers, published and non-published accounts) (required)



 IV.  Contributors Information:

 28) Submitter's name (required)

 29) Submitter's e-mail (required)

 30) Submitter's address (required


 31) Submitter's professional affiliation


Thank you for your contribution to and interest in Project HAL.

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