"Swift and Certain Vengeance”: Lynching Rhetoric in Maryland Newspapers, 1954-1900

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Historical Studies

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This theses explores lynching rhetoric in nineteenth century Maryland newspapers. Looking at this transformation of journalistic rhetoric over a period where race relations gradually worsened in America unveils the ever-changing nature of the media. As the lynching phenomenon spread, Maryland newspapers discussed the topic more heavily. While white newspapers grew more gruesome in coverage, black newspapers called upon those same methods of rhetoric to redefine the narrative of lynching in America. Through the lens of journalism, this theses strives to dispel the notion that Maryland was more neutral than Southern states during the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Gilded Age eras. It will furthermore highlight the importance of rhetoric and black journalism, while reshaping the narrative of lynching in Maryland.