Category: Jim Crow Era

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Coalition Rule in Danville” (October 1883)

In this broadside, titled “Coalition Rule in Danville” and published in various places in October 1883, a group of twenty-eight white businessmen complain about Readjuster rule in the city in general and African Americans in particular. The so-called Danville Circular and responses to it helped raise tensions in Danville ahead of the Danville Riot, which left at least five people dead on November 3, 1883.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Danville Leaders Indicted; Demonstrations to Continue” (June 8, 1963)

In this press release, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) sought to publicize the use of state-sanctioned violence and questionable legal stratagems to repress the protest movement against segregation in Danville. The press release refers to Danville Corporation Court Judge Archibald M. Aiken’s decision to invoke an 1859 statute that was written in response to John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry to indict three leaders of the movement on charges of “inspiring to incite the colored population of the State to acts of violence and war against the white population.” Aiken’s legal tactics would be criticized by the U.S. Department of Justice, but appeals did not produce results soon enough to help the Danville activists.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Frivolous Reasons,” Richmond Planet (June 11, 1898)

In its editorial “Frivolous Reasons,” published on June 11, 1898, the Richmond Planet makes the case for African American officers leading African American soldiers in the militia and in the volunteer regiments called to duty during the Spanish-American War (1898). The paper’s editor, John Mitchell Jr., responds directly to arguments made in an editorial published by the Richmond Dispatch on June 5.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Griffin Men Did Their Duty in Checking Drunken Negroes,” Atlanta Constitution (March 10, 1899)

In “Griffin Men Did Their Duty Checking Drunken Negroes,” published on March 10, 1899, the Atlanta Constitution reports on an incident in which rowdy members of the all-black 10th U.S. Volunteer Infantry Regiment—so-called Immunes for their supposed resistance to tropical diseases—clashed with town citizens and militia in Griffin, Georgia, shortly after mustering out of service. A white brakeman was killed. The article misstates the middle initial of the officer Charles Withrow. It should be “L.”

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Hard Times in the Sixth Virginia,” Richmond Planet (December 24, 1898)

In “Hard Times in the Sixth Virginia,” published in the Richmond Planet on December 24, 1898, an anonymous soldier of the all-black 6th Virginia Volunteers tells of the regiment’s difficulties in stateside training camp with its white commander, Lieutenant Colonel Richard C. Croxton, during the Spanish-American War (1898). Croxton convened a board of review in October 1898 and called before it all of the officers in the regiment’s 2nd Battalion. Rather than appear, the officers resigned. When new, white officers took command, the regiment’s men refused to respond to their orders and were arrested.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Hoses Used on Danville Negroes” (June 11, 1963)

In this press release, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) sought to publicize the use of state-sanctioned violence to repress peaceful protests against segregation in Danville. The city was the site of fervent protests through the early summer of 1963, with the SNCC, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People all sending leaders to help organize and raise awareness. The legal resistance and violence deployed by white authorities like Danville Corporation Court Judge Archibald M. Aiken against protesters was ultimately successful in blocking gains for African Americans in the city.

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

“Negro Officers,” Richmond Dispatch (June 5, 1898)

In its editorial “Negro Officers,” published on June 5, 1898, the Richmond Dispatch makes the case against African American officers leading African American soldiers in the militia and in the volunteer regiments called to duty during the Spanish-American War (1898).

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