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White Terrorist Groups in the U.S.

American Terrorism in the Aftermath of the Civil War

The following is a sampling of some of the outrages perpetuated by white supremacist groups against African Americans following the conclusion of the Civil War. It's important to bear in mind that these acts of violence were undertaken by pseudo-military organizations against innocent civilians for the purposes of bringing about a desired set of political, social, and economic changes. Thus, white supremacists in the American South offered object lessons in terrorism to the later hijackers, bombers, and suicide pilots of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

DateEvent
Bloody Doings in the South
July 1866White mobs, led by local law enforcement, attack African American and white Republicans meeting in New Orleans. Forty people are left dead; the leader of federal troops in Louisiana refers to the event as a “massacre.”
September 1867Whites assault a group of African Americans who had embarked on a public march through Georgia. Nine African Americans die; a number of whites taking part in the march also receive injuries.
September 1867At least two hundred African Americans are reported murdered in the Opelousas Massacre in Louisiana.
October 1867Several more African Americans are murdered in Louisiana by white marauders.
August 1869North Carolina's election process is effectively commandeered by white supremacists whose tactics include political assassination and violence against African Americans.
April 1873Over 60 African Americans die in the Colfax Massacre in Grant Parish, Louisiana.
December 1874Seventy-five Republicans meeting in Vicksburg, Mississippi are murdered by white supremacists.
November 1875The infamous “Mississippi Plan” successfully delivers control of the state government to white supremacists, despite a black majority of voters. The plan includes massacres, staged riots, and a program of systematic intimidation of African American voters. (The plan will later be adapted for similar takeovers in South Carolina and Louisiana.)
September 1876Thirty-nine African Americans and two whites are murdered by whites in Ellenton, South Carolina.
May 1879Confederate veteran General James R. Chalmers attempts to stem African American migration by shutting down the Mississippi River to African American travelers. He vows to sink any boat that attempts to run his blockade.
1882Reports of substantial numbers of lynchings of African Americans appear. They will continue for half a century.
1898Eight African Americans are killed in civil disturbances in Wilmington, North Carolina.

It was a bleak time indeed to be an African in America.

By the turn of the century, African Americans may have been technically liberated from the formal bonds of slavery, but they were nevertheless caught in a web of discrimination, intimidation, and violence that added up to something very nearly as obscene. With the clear sanction of the United States Supreme Court, many state legislatures set about establishing a system of laws designed to ensure the perpetual humiliation, submission, and victimization of African Americans.

The laws—and the way of life they represented—came to be known by a catchy name: Jim Crow.



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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to African-American History © 2003 by Melba J. Duncan. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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