This disturbing but very real photograph depicts a time in American history that even now is difficult to stomach. In the United States, lynching as a form of informal punishment by a mob increased after the Civil War. Though it is commonly associated with racial tensions, lynching was also utilized for people of all races, albeit very disproportionately.
Between 1882 and 1968, 3,500 African Americans and 1,300 Caucasians were lynched. Lynching declined in the 1930s, and very few happened by the 1960s. Pictured above is a frightening image from August 7, 1930, the night Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith were lynched in Marion, Indiana after a mob (one member of whom is actually smiling in this photo) took them from jail and beat them. They were in jail as suspects in a rape, robbery, and murder case. Even so, I don’t think there are many people who could look at these hanging men and not feel troubled even 86 years later.