These Riots Targeted Black Voters During Reconstruction

clinton mississippi welcome sign
Leslie Taylor-Grover
August 30, 2022

In 1875, Black voters in the small Mississippi town of Clinton were preparing to vote for the first time in history. The town planned a political rally and picnic, and everyone was looking forward to hearing political speeches. But all was not well.

White terrorists rode through town during election season, wreaking havoc on Black voters in an attempt to suppress their vote. It wasn’t the first deadly riot in the town. And of course, these murderers were not punished. But this injustice isn’t the end of the story.

Black voters decided to fight back! The terrorists had taken many of their lives - and even tried to run them out of town. But our people decided that this time, racism would NOT win.

The voters organized, went to the governor, and demanded protection. Their demands even reached the President! They REFUSED to let the issue of white terrorism be brushed aside. 

If the savages weren’t going to be punished, then the story of their atrocities against Black voters would be told over and over again! So what happened?

The voters made positive changes! Black politicians ran for office statewide, and other Black voters organized, too. 

Racism intending to suppress the Black vote never goes away - it only takes on new forms. As these small-town Black voters learned, we must organize and challenge ANYONE who tries to oppress us!

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