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Before we were Democrats…

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February 1, 2014 by elhseven

Newly freed slaves and slave descendants  began heavily voting the Republican ticket from 1865 – 1868 electing Republican politicians who spoke of legislation that would grant homestead rights to blacks, help provide access to education and help with equity in land redistribution and the current white landownership monopoly at the time. Black people simply wanted their rights promised under the constitution and were ready to work hard to become self sufficient, educated, participants in the civic process as well as tax paying citizens.

Most whites from the South were afraid of the black vote for fear that the promises particularly of black republican politicians would cost them in the form of higher taxes considering they were the majority in taxpayers.  Whites in Louisiana and the south in general were recipients of useless confederate money, could no longer prosper from free labor and were firm believers in white supremacy as the American way. The very thought of their property possibly being confiscated and redistributed to blacks fueled massive voter intimidation & terrorism spurned by angry white mobs all over the South but particularly in Caddo and Bossier parishes. They used whatever tactics were necessary to destroy the black vote and those of white voters who supported a republican government.

Would it have been the worst thing for white landowners to let go of a few acres conceivably paid for 10 times over in profits yielded from free slave labor? Would it have not produce an economic stimulus for the economy to gain more black landowners who would have converted to a larger taxpayer base for the parishes?

Interesting read here by Gilles Vandal “Bloody Caddo” that breaks down the violence in Caddo parish against blacks in great detail between 1865-1876. The violence that he details precipitates the Bossier Race Riots of 1868.

Despite all of the adversaries, blacks were able to stamp their presence on the political map in LA even if it was only short lived.

I’m still researching black politicians in Louisiana during Reconstruction but here’s what I’ve discovered so far.

1869 Lieutenant Governor – Oscar J. Dunn, served until his death in 1871. Succeeded by Pickney B.S. Pinchback, 2nd Black Lieutenant Governor who was appointed by President Grant as acting Governor for 35 days after the impeachment of Henry Warmoth

1872-1876 Lieutenant Governor – C.C. Antoine, 3rd Lieutenant Governor, originally from Caddo Parish

William G. Brown- Superintendent of Caddo parish during Reconstruction

I was told Caddo Parish had a Black sheriff briefly during 1867. Still looking for his name.  See the chart below

To be continued…

Sources:

Vandal, G. “‘Bloody Caddo’: White Violence Against Blacks in a Louisiana Parish, 1865-1876″. Journal of Social History 25, no.2 (Winter 1991): 373-388.


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