Past Event

The Art of Dissent: Without Sanctuary: Bearing Witness to Lynching & the Fight for Racial Justice

City-Wide Café Society: A Public Square at the IHC Event

Please join us to bear witness, 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 h istory 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 along with Natasha Barnes, Professor of Literature and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, 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. Ms. Barnes will examine the staggeringly disproportionate statistics of black men incarcerated in the prison system and on death row and raise ethical and juridical questions about redress and reparations.

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.

Join us for a free tour of CHS’s stunning exhibit, “Without Sanctuary,” followed by refreshments and conversations with people from all over Chicago.

Suggested Articles:

Reservations are recommended. Visit or call312.422.5580.

For more information, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.

Please Note: We will release reserved seats 10 minutes before all IHC programs begin if registered attendees have not yet arrived.