Past Event

Café Society: Without Sanctuary: Bearing Witness to Lynching and the Fight for Racial Justice

Please join us to discuss and deliberate the meanings of the gruesome and powerful visual record of lynching that is now on display at the Chicago Historical Society. “Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America” is an exhibition of photographs and postcards that were taken by perpetrators to commemorate lynching and racial violence in America’s history of racial intimidation and terror.

In June 2005, the U.S. Senate apologized for not passing anti-lynching legislation that could have saved hundreds of lives in the past. What other symbolic and material debts are owed to this country’s black community? What are the meanings of our spectatorship of these trophy postcards in the present? The horror of lynching violence–the scenes of black bodily torture, the smug smiles of well-dressed white onlookers, including women and children, seems alien to the liberal democratic ideals that our nation has self-identified.

Join us in a conversation that connects our lynching history to the systems of racial inequality that are perpetuated in the present and explores how we publicly account for America’s history of violence.

In the light of the present militarization of American neo-liberal global interests in the Middle East and elsewhere, from the war in Iraq to the abuses at Abu Ghraib, the questions that “Without Sanctuary” raises about power and authority, about ideology and individual responsibility are particularly relevant.

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For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.