Two More Notches
New Masses, July 1935
Two More Notches is a harrowing image of a Missouri lynching. Two black men hang from a tree, with only their dangling lower torsos depicted. Underneath them stands a sheriff, who is clearly identified by his badge, marking two more notches on the tree’s trunk. He adds to an already considerable number of marks, enumerating those who have been lynched from this tree. While this work is typical of anti-lynching imagery in the 1930s, it was likely representative of an actual event, the lynching of two black men earlier that July in Columbus, Mississippi. Here, the artist sheds light on police responsibility for the murder of young black Americans.