Mapping Central Texas Lynchings, 1860-1922

This map was created using information from Appendix A in The Making of a Lynching Culture: Violence and Vigilantism in Central Texas, 1836-1916 by William Carrigan. To view and interact with this map in full screen mode, click the following link: CTX Lynchings.

This project maps the lynchings of more than 100 individuals in 7 different counties in the central Texas region. The database this project was based around includes a combination of white, Mexican, Black, male, and female victims. Points on the map are color-coded based on the race of the victim and represent the general location of where a victim was lynched. Unfortunately, exact locations could not be found for most lynchings in the database, so random geographic coordinates were generated inside the boundaries of the county where the lynching occurred.

Users can quickly visualize the distribution of lynchings across central Texas. Further analysis can be conducted using the “Filters” function in kepler.gl; users can display lynchings based on the victim’s alleged crime, race, and the day they were lynched. The “Filters” function is extremely helpful in allowing users to view potential trends in the data. (See screenshots included below for examples.)

Screenshot of Central Texas Lynchings map with the alleged crime filter displaying victims who were lynched for rape and attempted rape.
Screenshot of the Central Texas Lynchings map with the alleged crime filter displaying victims who were lynched for rape and attempted rape. The blue points are Black victims, the orange points are white victims.
Screenshot of Central Texas Lynchings map with the alleged crime filter displaying victims who were lynched horse or cattle theft.
Screenshot of the Central Texas Lynchings map with the alleged crime filter displaying victims who were lynched for horse or cattle theft. The blue points are Black victims, the orange points are white victims.

 

Three white victims that were included in the Carrigan database were not included on the map. The names of these individuals are unknown and the locations of their lynchings are listed only as “Central Texas.” All three were hanged by a mob consisting of citizens from Coryell, Hamilton, Bosque, Comanche, and McLennan counties, and their alleged crime is listed as murder and cattle theft. They were killed on April 1, 1861.

This project is not the first to map lynching victims in central Texas. Lynching in Texas from Sam Houston State University uses Omeka and CartoDB to present information about lynchings across the state. Unfortunately, the CartoDB map is a little difficult to maneuver and doesn’t allow for easy exploration or filtration of data. The Equal Justice Initiative’s Lynching in America map is very visually striking, but doesn’t include information on lynchings of non-Blacks and doesn’t allow users to view a list of victims by county.

The creation of this map also corresponds with a significant upcoming event in Central Texas. Next year, the Texas Historical Commission and the City of Waco are slated to install a historical marker commemorating the lynching of Jesse Washington and the overall culture of lynching in the region. Hopefully this project can aid in the general understanding of these events as the central Texas community works to understand and memorialize the murder of more than 100 individuals.

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