The dark stillness of night envelopes and cushions us. It draws us into ourselves and close to our loved ones. But comfort turns to horror in a heartbeat when the night becomes weaponized - used by bullies to terrorize and control, allowing the cowardly perpetrator to hide in the shadows and evade detection or identification. This is the most ominous embodiment of the night. Its most salient symbols are those of burning crosses, and the nightriders delivering their messages of terror.
As a Weapon
Music: Nocturne theme music by Kent Sparling
Additional music: Kent Sparling \\ Jeffrey Foster \\ Kid Otter
Producer: Vanessa Lowe
Episode artwork: Robin Galante www.robingalante.com
Rebecca Carroll consulted on this episode. Nick White was our editor. Special thanks to Anne-Ellice Parker for early consultation.
Kidada Williams is a writer and historian who studies what happened to African American survivors of racist violence. Her writings include, “Never Get Over It: What Night-riding Meant to African American Families,” in Reconstruction and the Arc of Racial (in)Justice (2018).
David Cunningham is a professor of sociology at Washington State University. His writings include, Klansville, U.S.A.: The Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights-Era Ku Klux Klan.