1866: The New Orleans Massacre

2 Posted by - February 23, 2023 - Black History, BLACK MEN, BLACK POWER

The New Orleans Massacre which was also known as the New Orleans Race Riots happened on July 30, 1866. The riot was built on numerous racial conflicts during the Reconstruction Amendments. This particular incident had special significance in the history and stimulated the national opposition against the moderate Reconstruction policies of the President Andrew Johnson and accompanied the Congressional Reconstruction in 1867.

The riot started outside the Mechanics Institute in New Orleans as many Black, and White delegates were attending the Louisiana Constitutional Convention. The Convention made everyone come together because the legislature of Louisiana State passed the Black codes that refused to extend any voting rights given to the Black men. On May 12, 1866, the four-year martial law imposed by the Union Army luckily ended and Mayor John T. Monroe, who headed the government of the city before the Civil War, was officially made the acting Mayor. Monroe was one of the active supporters of Confederacy.

The riot began with a delegation of 130 Black residents of New Orleans marching behind the U.S. flag making their way towards the Mechanics Institute. To block the march, Mayor Monroe led a rabble of white supremacists, ex-Confederates, members of the New Orleans police to the front building of the Institute. The city Mayor claimed that his main intention was to overcome any unrest in the Convention, but it was preventing the Blacks delegates to hold a meeting.

As the delegate approached towards the Institute, an open fire was ordered. But this didn’t stop the delegate to proceed their way towards the meeting hall. Once they reached the main building of the Institute, the white mob members and the police opened an attack on them by vigorously beating some of the marchers while others quickly rushed to the building to protect themselves. The situation went extremely crucial with attacks from both sides that ended with broken doors and firing on the unarmed Black delegates. Due to constant firing, some delegates tried to flee or simply surrendered. Sadly, the ones who surrendered were mostly Blacks and were killed on the spot. The ones who ran away were chased by the police and raised unfortunate killing around the Institute. The result of this riot ended in bloodshed where African-Americans were shot and pulled off on the streets to be vigorously killed. By the end of New Orleans Massacre, at least 200 Union War veterans died that included forty at the Convention. Altogether, this riot gulped 238 people, and around 48 were wounded.

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