Songs Without Words is a digital collection of anti-lynching drawings published in African American periodicals during the 1880s and 1890s. The collection makes available hard-to-find images that African American editors and artists used to shape political consciousness before 1900. Our goal is to facilitate further study and debate. The images were gathered through a survey of more than twenty African American publications in the 1890s. Many of the images displayed here are difficult to see when published in paper format. By presenting the images in their cultural context, while allowing researchers to click on each image for closer examination of details, we hope this site will enhance understanding of our visual past. The exhibit is searchable by publication, editor and artist, as well as a wide range of thematic tags.
We hope that future funding may allow us to expand the publication base, and also to make the site more interactive, allowing visitors to engage more directly with the images, and share their own research and analysis with others.