A more astounding number that you won't see in any columns

Opinion columnist Leonard ‘Pulitzer’ Pitts writes:

Mark was surprised at his own ignorance.

He's a reader who e-mailed me in response to my recent column about lynching. "If someone had asked me to estimate how many people were lynched between 1865 and 1960," he said, "I think I would have guessed around 75.

"I am struggling with getting my brain around the number 4,700 in your column ... Appalled and disgusted doesn't come close to describing my thoughts.

"But astounded as I was to see that number in your column, I am also stunned by my ignorance."


One way to get one’s “brain around the number 4,700” for the years “between 1865 and 1960” is to reflect on the fact that 4,700 is 510 less than the number of murders committed by blacks in the year 2002 alone.

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