Reconstruction Violence and the Ku Klux Klan Hearings A Brief History with Documents

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-01-23
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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This carefully edited selection of testimony from the Ku Klux Klan hearings reveals what is often left out of the discussion of Reconstruction—the central role of violence in shaping its course. The Introduction places the hearings in historical context and draws connections between slavery and post-Emancipation violence. The documents evidence the varieties of violence leveled at freedmen and Republicans, from attacks hinging on land and the franchise to sexual violence and the targeting of black institutions. Document headnotes, a chronology, questions to consider, and a bibliography enrich students’ understanding of the role of violence in the history of Reconstruction.

Author Biography

Shawn Leigh Alexander (Ph.D., University of Massachusetts) is associate professor and graduate director of African and African American Studies and director of the Langston Hughes Center at the University of Kansas, where he specializes in African American social and intellectual history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The author of An Army of Lions: The Struggle for Civil Rights before the NAACP, he has also edited an anthology of T. Thomas Fortune's writings, T. Thomas Fortune, the Afro-American Agitator and written the Introduction to a reprint of William Sinclair's classic 1905 study, The Aftermath of Slavery: A Study of the Condition and Environment of the American Negro. He has also authored many scholarly articles and book chapters on early African American civil rights activity and black intellectual history.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Violence in the Fall of Reconstruction and the Rise of White Supremacy
White Resistance and Violence
Legislation and Investigation
Bearing Witness
The Facts of Reconstruction

Part Two
The Documents
1. Background and Beginnings
1. The Fourteenth Amendment, July 28, 1868
2. The Fifteenth Amendment, March 30, 1870
3. First Enforcement Act, May 31, 1870
4. Third Enforcement (Ku Klux) Act, April 20, 1871

2. Ku Klux Violence & The Hearings
1. General
5. Alfred Richardson, Washington, D. C., July 7, 1871
6. Joseph Turner, Columbus, Mississippi, November 11, 1871

2. Gender & Sexual Violence
7. Caroline Smith, Atlanta, Georgia, October 21, 1871
8. Sarah Ann Sturtevant, Atlanta, Georgia, October 23, 1871
9. Hannah Tutson, Jacksonville, Florida, November 10, 1871
10. Harriet Simril, Columbia, South Carolina, December 21, 1871
11. Charlotte Fowler, Spartanburugh, South Carolina, July 6, 1871

3. Political: The Franchise
12. Abram Colby, Atlanta, Georgia, October 27 & 28, 1871
13. John Childers, Livingston, Alabama, November 1, 1871
14. Betsey Westbrook, Demopolis, Alabama, October 24, 1871
15. James H. Alston, Montgomery Alabama, October 27, 1871

4. Land Ownership, Economic Success, and Displacement
16. Eliza Lyon, Demopolis Alabama, October 24, 1871
17. Warren Jones, Atlanta Georgia, October 27, 1871
18. Samuel Tutson, Jacksonville Florida, November 10, 1871
19. Augustus Blair, Huntsville Alabama, October 9, 1871

5. Black Autonomous Institutions: Schools and Churches
20. Henry Giles, Montgomery Alabama, October 17, 1871
21. Cornelius McBride, Washington D. C., July 21, 1871
22. Eliza Hill, Yorkville South Carolina, July 25, 1871

6. Self Defense
23. Willis Johnson, Columbia South Carolina, July 1871
24. Benjamin F. Herr, Livingston Alabama, October 31 & November 1, 1871
25. Edmund W. Pettus, Washington D. C., July 6, 1871

7. Ku Klux Klan: Members, Apologists, Make-up, and Character
26. Nathan Bedford Forrest, Washington D. C., June 27, 1871
27. A. S. Lakin, Washington D. C., June 13, 1871
28. William M. Lowe, Huntsville Alabama, October 13, 1871

8. Committee Conclusions
29. Minority Report
30. Majority Report

A Brief Chronology of Reconstruction
Questions for Consideration
Selected Bibliography


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