Public display of remorse and shame over the brutal acts of violence was an important and early part of the southern strategy to deal with lynchings. Politicians, such as Georgia Senator Richard B. Russell, repeatedly expressed their abhorrence of such violence in public. By doing so, white Southerners banned the lynch mob from their ranks, at least rhetorically, and took active part in the search for the murderers. In the end, however, most of the perpetrators remained anonymous and unpunished.
While old patterns of justification began to lose their power, the criminalization of the lynch victims endured in dealing with the problem of lynchings among white southerners. Most news reports in the white South portrayed African Americans – and above all African American men – as a threat to the white majority society overall, and not just in the South. In contrast, they painted white Americans as victims in need of protection from blacks. These narratives were a part of the resistance against political and social equality of African Americans. Moreover, white southerners intended these narratives to convince white Americans across the country of the necessity to maintain both racial, class, and gender hierarchies.
Following the Second World War, African Americans managed to gain civil rights and equality of opportunity through continual protest and activism. However, systemic racism has survived despite all their efforts and progress, as illustrated by, for example, the staggering number of black victims of police violence. The changes in the behavior of white southerners towards lynching like those in Monroe, Georgia, illustrate how one group’s threatened position of dominance can be maintained by a skillful adjustment and reordering of political resources.
Current adaptation of the flag, which was hung by civil rights activists to Lynchings.