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At the Hands of Persons Unknown Reader’s Guide

By Philip Dray

At the Hands of Persons Unknown by Philip Dray


Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. What were some of the causes of the phenomenon of lynching in American history?

2. How would you describe a crowd’s role in and reaction to a lynching? Who is culpable in a lynching?

3. In what ways were government officials complicit in the many lynchings in American history? What were the root causes of that corruption? Have those causes been corrected today?

4. How would you place lynchings in the larger context of race relations in America?

5. Who were the heroes in this ghastly chapter of American history? Describe their choices and their courage.

6. Could a lynching happen today? What in America has changed? What has not?

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