It’s one thing to know about lynching, and quite another to get to know the victims and communities affected by racial violence.
Lynching Sites Project’s new podcast, “The Red Record,” seeks to introduce listeners to the cases we know about in Shelby County and put them in context of what was going on in Memphis at the time. These horrific crimes did not happen in a vacuum. Racist actions and policies created the environment for lynching to happen, and the community trauma had long-lasting effects we still feel today — whether we realize it or not.
The podcast title is a nod to Ida B. Wells’ book of the same name that detailed lynchings across the South and found that rape accusations against Black men made up about a third of lynchings. And even in cases where it was, she found the relationships with a white woman were consensual, albeit taboo. The rest of the cases stemmed from the economic, social, and political threat that recently emancipated Black people posed to white supremacy.
Every month, Lynching Sites Project board members Rich Watkins and Laura Faith Kebede will bring the research to life with interviews, primary sources, and discussion on why learning these stories matters today.
In our inaugural episode, we examine the People’s Grocery lynching, probably the most researched case in Memphis. One of the three men lynched, Thomas Moss, was a close friend of Wells and one of the owners of a co-op grocery store that competed with a nearby white-owned store. We go deep into how the three men became the victims of economic retaliation and how the perpetrators of their killings faced no protection accountability.
Future episodes will also include interviews with a broad swath of people to examine how they first learned about lynching and how we see the same racist patterns at play today in new forms.
The podcast is available on Apple, Google, Spotify, along with Breaker, PocketCasts, and RadioPublic. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss an episode and let us know what you think by leaving a review. Special thanks to Madeline Plaster, our audio editor. If you would like to become a sponsor for the podcast, email us at email@example.com.