Nothing new under the sun: In a detailed, scholarly review of executions in Texas, three professors and their students investigated the relationship of lynchings to electrocutions. The Rope, the Chair, and the Needle draws heavily on an enormous base of research throughout the century and concludes that racism and a “cultural readiness of exclusion” have kept the South morally convinced that “the other” should never have power. Executed disproportionally for the same crimes (extensive empirical data), Afro-Americans in the South are taught over and again that their place is the subordinate one, that they should fear the true power of their masters, that the law can deny a person’s humanity based on prejudice. The authors connect prosperity in the South with a fewer executions; financial depressions with lynchings and executions. The book is persuasive because it is factual and attempts a balance. Read it!
James Marquart, Sheldon Ekland-Olson, Johnathan Sorenson (Univ. of TExas Press, 1994)