The Erased Lynchings series (2002-ongoing) seeks to reveal that racially motivated lynching and vigilantism was a more widespread practice in the American West than was believed, and that in California, the majority of lynchings were perpetrated against Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans; and that more Latinos were lynched in California than were persons of any other race or ethnicity.
The images derive from appropriated lynching postcards and archival materials in which the lynch victim and the ropes have all been removed; a conceptual gesture intended to direct the viewers attention, not upon the lifeless body of lynch victim, but upon the mechanisms of lynching themselves: the crowd, the spectacle, the photographer, and even consider the impact of flash photography upon this dismal past. The perpetrators, if present, remain fully visible, jeering, laughing, or pulling at the air in a deadly pantomime. As such, this series strives to make the invisible visible.
These absences or empty spaces become emblematic of the forgotten history made all the more palpable in light of the recent events surrounding the resurgence of the noose as means of intimidation and instilling fear everywhere from the workplace to the schoolyard. Image from the series were also incorporated in Gonzales-Day's Pulitzer Prize nominated monograph, Lynching in the West: 1850-1935 (Duke, 2006) which documented, for the first time, the full impact of lynching on Latino, Asian, and Native American communities. In addition to the better known cases involving the lynching of Blacks and Whites both in the west and nationwide.