Slavery didn't end in 1865.
It evolved.

The United States has done very little to acknowledge its history of genocide, slavery, lynching, and racial segregation. As a result, people of color are marginalized, disadvantaged, and disproportionately impoverished today.

Committing to a process of truth and reconciliation is key to achieving equal justice in America. And that process begins with a clear view of the facts.


Fact 1

Southern lynch mobs killed more than 4,000 black people between 1877 and 1950.

Picnicking spectators, including officials and prominent citizens, would watch as African Americans were publicly tortured and murdered for non-crimes.1

Fact 2

Bumping into a white person. Wearing military uniforms after WWII. Not addressing a white person appropriately.

Small infractions like these could lead to a public lynching for black people in America during the era of racial terror.2


Fact 3

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia were the most active lynching states in America.3


Fact 4

6 million African Americans fled the rural Southern United States to the urban Northeast, Midwest, and West between 1916 and 1970.4


My family didn’t leave the South—they were chased away from the South.

Doria Dee Johnson, remembering her great-grandfather Anthony Crawford, who was lynched in 1916 in Abbeville, SC.


Fact 5

The decline of lynching relied heavily on the use of capital punishment.5


Fact 6

Currently, more than half of the prison population is black in these twelve states.

Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.6




Fact 7

More than 250 black people were killed by police in 2016.7


Fact 8

African Americans are 2.5x more likely to be arrested than whites.8

Fact 9

And 6x more likely to be imprisoned.9


Fact 10

African Americans are disproportionately targeted within the criminal justice system.10


Fact 11

One in three black babies will go to jail in their lifetime.11


Fact 12

Black children are five times more likely to be incarcerated than white children.12


Fact 13

Children are 5x more likely to be sexually assaulted in adult prisons than in juvenile facilities.13

Fact 14

95,000 children are housed in adult jails and prisons each year.14


Joe Sullivan is one of only two thirteen-year-olds in the country who were sentenced to life without parole for a non-fatal offense.

Joe was sent to an adult prison when he was just fourteen, and he was repeatedly and brutally vicitmized by older inmates. He has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair.


Fact 15

One in nine incarcerated people is serving a life sentence.15


Fact 16

Profits for private prisons have increased more than 500% in the last twenty years.16


Fact 17

Appointed lawyers representing half of Alabama’s death row have compensations capped at


Fact 18

The number of people serving life and life-without-parole sentences in the United States has quadrupled since 1984 and continues to grow.18


Fact 19

The U.S. has 5% of the world's population, but 25% of the world's prison population.19


Break the chain. Help end suffering, poverty, exclusion, unfairness, and injustice.

The Equal Justice Initiative is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.