Feature Friday: Racial Terror (Gianluca De Fazio)

Posted on: October 30, 2020

Gianluca De Fazio

Professor Gianluca De Fazio (Justice Studies) has worked with JMU Libraries since 2017 to build a digital history project on lynching in Virginia – Racial Terror: Lynchings in Virginia. The resulting website acts as an essential, ongoing database of lynchings throughout the state of Virginia.

Most recently, Dr. De Fazio’s membership in the Harrisonburg Community Remembrance Project led to a new historical marker in Harrisonburg’s Court Square. This historical marker recognizes Charlotte Harris, the only African American woman known to be lynched in Virginia.

This highly collaborative project required involvement from colleagues all around the Libraries:

  • Howard Carrier was instrumental in training students to conduct historical newspapers research. Undergraduate research teams collected hundreds of newspaper articles documenting lynching in Virginia.
  • Kevin Hegg, Director of JMU Libraries Digital Projects, made it possible to transform this research project into a digital project by planning most of the website functions and designing the relational features of the database and its implementation throughout the website.
  • Kirsten Mlodynia helped migrate the website in the new Campus Press platform.

Dr. De Fazio says, “Overall, JMU Libraries have been absolutely central in devising, implementing and maintaining this important digital project.”

We are deeply honored to have been invited to help with this important work by Dr. De Fazio and JMU students.

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