In this Book

Vigilantes and Lynch Mobs
summary

Looking at the narrative accounts of mob violence produced by vigilantes and  their advocates as “official” histories, Lisa Arellano shows how these nonfiction narratives conformed to a common formula whose purpose was to legitimate frontier justice and lynching.

In Vigilantes and Lynch Mobs, Arellano closely examines such narratives as well as the work of Western historian and archivist Hubert Howe Bancroft, who was sympathetic to them, and that of Ida B. Wells, who wrote in fierce opposition to lynching.  Tracing the creation, maintenance, and circulation of dominant, alternative, and oppositional vigilante stories from the nineteenth-century frontier through the Jim Crow South, she casts new light on the role of narrative in creating a knowable past.

Demonstrating how these histories ennobled the actions of mobs and rendered their leaders and members as heroes, Arellano presents a persuasive account of lynching’s power to create the conditions favorable to its own existence.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. iii-iv
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  1. Contents
  2. p. vii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-xi
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  1. Introduction: History, Memory, and Narrative
  2. pp. 1-18
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  1. 1. From Street Brawls to Heroism: The Official Vigilante Histories
  2. pp. 19-50
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  1. 2. Heroic Stories: Vigilante Ideals and Lynching Truths
  2. pp. 51-78
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  1. 3. John/the Victim/the Heathen: Hubert Howe Bancroft and the Making of Western History
  2. pp. 79-109
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  1. 4. Narrative Revisions and the End of the Vigilante Ideal
  2. pp. 111-132
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  1. Conclusion: Living in, and with, the Past
  2. pp. 133-139
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  1. Appendix A: Official Vigilante Histories
  2. p. 141
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  1. Appendix B: The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft
  2. pp. 143-144
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  1. Appendix C: Vigilance Committee Interviews
  2. pp. 145-146
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 147-172
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 173-181
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 183-190
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