Opelousa Massacre of 1868: Hundreds of Blacks Beat and Killed to Keep from Voting

2 Posted by - February 17, 2021 - Injustices, JIM CROW, LATEST POSTS

On September 28, 1868, the Opelousas Massacre occurred. Hundreds of Blacks in the Louisiana city lost their lives by the hands of whites, many of them who were Confederate veterans and prominent, well-known citizens.ope

The Seymour Knights violently drove potential Black voters away from the Democratic Party, prompting White Republican reporter Emerson Bentley to write that Blacks should remain loyal to the Republican Party in local paper The Progress.

A school teacher by day, eighteen-year-old Bentley was beaten by three whites as a result of his article, which some in the town saw as an affront to the powers that be.

Reacting to Bentley’s beating, local Blacks came to his rescue. The sheriff arrested 12, who were taken from jail and hung that night.

In the next few days, bands of armed whites scoured the countryside and killed Blacks in what was described as a “Negro hunt” similar to one which had occurred outside of Shreveport, Louisiana, a short time before. It is estimated that 200 blacks were killed in the fields and swamps surrounding Opelousas, Louisiana.

Twelve leaders of the Black Republicans who were seized were lynched the following day, which sparked a round of anti-Black violence throughout the region. It is estimated that close to 300 Blacks were killed as a result of the race riot.






  • Gregory Peniston March 23, 2018 - 11:23 am

    seems more like a sanctioned white rampage than a “riot”… were the 12 people jailed after the Bentley beating white?…not clear from the text, but following words seem to justify massive white assault…12 Black republicans lynched; which following day? was the white onslaught already taking place?…the article needs a little tweaking, but I get the horrific drift…AGAIN…sadly we are scapegoated & suffer most when we are caught in larger white struggles…

  • Arnold L Michel April 7, 2018 - 6:11 pm

    This is how black people are so revered that it took a bunch of white cowards to gang up on black folk that had the right and privilege to exercise their voting rights. Even to this day there are still, a lot of white cowards who feel this way no matter what the law says. The Klan has a hold in all of the halls and annals of government with laws so antiquated they don’t have the balls to abolish them. We as a people must stand up and shout as loud as we can to be heard. THE SQUEAKY WHEELS GET THE MOST GREASE.

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  • Keanan Guillory August 28, 2019 - 8:35 pm

    The photograph on your story is of the lynching of Henry Smith which occurred in Paris, Texas in 1893.