|Hang Trees||Lynching Walking Tour|
Searching For California Hang Trees billboard, Reno, NV. 2013
The images on this page are (click on image or on "images" at top of page) part of a series entitled, Searching for California's Hang Trees, or just Hang Trees for short. They were taken over a eight-year period while looking for lynching sites in California. In this image you see the billboard as installed in Reno, Nevada. The series extended across other distances as well, and in photographing these sites, Gonzales-Day traveled to nearly every county in the state of California. All of the images were taken with an old wooden Deardorff 8 x 10 camera.
Searching for California's Hang Trees derived from Gonzales-Day's own research into the history of lynching in California. He explains, "I began this project by trying to assemble the most complete record of lynching in California that I could, and I was particularly interested in discovering how nineteenth century conceptions of difference might have obscured the fact that, when taken collectively, Native Americans, African Americans, Chinese immigrants, and Latinos, fell victim to the mob's anger more often than persons of Anglo or European descent."Using historical records, he spent many long hours and multiple expeditions wandering in the California landscape looking for clues to the little know history. As overwhelming as the undertaking was, he summarized his motivation when he stated that, "I set out to look for, to witness, as many of the sites as I could - even knowing that many could never be found." The research and case list of over 353 cases uncovered and a small portfolio of images are included in his monograph, Lynching in the West: 1850-1935 (Duke, 2006). Or click on published works page above.