‘An Outrage’ talks education, activism, and the history of lynching


Photographs courtesy of Mounika Bayavarapu

A movie screening from the UIS Diversity Center invited students to confront one of America’s darkest points in history.

The film, An Outrage, deals with the widespread practice of lynching in the American South.

After the screening, co-directors Lance Warren and Hannah Ayers joined UIS alumna, Roslyn Simmons-Lindsay, for a discussion on the film’s main themes.

The 33-minute long documentary focused on six individuals who are activists and family members of those who have been lynched. The film is meant to be used as an educational resource, allowing students to learn more about lynching and its effects.

“We looked for people publicly speaking out about their families,” said Ayers. “They all said yes and agreed to meet us where the lynchings actually happened.”

Ayers and Warren, who are both white,  decided to film the documentary after realizing that they didn’t know much about lynching and the effects that it had on people’s families today.

The title comes from the way newspapers at the time would refer to the practice at the time.

“The title is the only title we ever seriously considered,” said Warren. “There was this idea that white press would say so and so committed an Outrage.”

The documentary shed light on black history in America, touching on the effects of lynching, slavery, and even the competition between the Irish and African Americans at that time.

“Lynching should have been very important to blacks because of the terrible acts, but also to whites because it opens the doors of lawlessness in a way,” said Lindsay- Simmons.

The film also examines today’s modern-day treatment of the black community, looking at the men and women who have died at the hands of police brutality.

The documentary is set to be released Jan. 1 on Kanopy, an online streaming service for public libraries.