An Absolute Massacre: The New Orleans Race Riot of July 30, by James G. Hollandsworth Jr.

By James G. Hollandsworth Jr.

In the summertime of 1866 racial tensions ran excessive in Louisiana as a constitutional conference thought of disenfranchising former Confederates and enfranchising blacks. On July 30, a procession of black suffrage supporters driven via an offended throng of adverse whites. phrases have been exchanged, photographs rang out, and inside mins a revolt erupted with unrestrained fury. while it was once over, at the very least forty-eight men—an vast majority of them black—lay useless and greater than 2 hundred were wounded. In An Absolute bloodbath, James G. Hollandsworth, Jr., examines the occasions surrounding the war of words and provides a compelling examine the racial tinderbox that was once the post-Civil conflict South.

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35 Michael Hahn was sworn in as the first governor of the Free State of Louisiana on March 4,1864, amid a parade with floats, banners, fireworks, and the music of three hundred musicians aided by an anvil chorus of forty more. A choir of schoolchildren from the New Orleans public schools sang to the crowd of twenty thousand in Lafayette Square. Edward H. S. Senate as district court judge for eastern Louisiana, administered the oath of office to the new governor. Banks was ecstatic. He had "never witnessed such a spectacle elsewhere," he wrote in his report.

But the delegates in favor of limited black suffrage were well prepared, and Abell's absence left the conservative forces momentarily in disarray. Durell called for a voice vote and declared that the article had been rejected. The prosuffrage delegates demanded a roll call, and the article passed by a vote of forty-eight to thirty-two. 20 The compromise, which let the legislature decide on the issue of black suffrage, had become part of the Louisiana constitution. The convention continued its work for another month before finalizing the new constitution on July 22.

Abell tried to do what he could to delay a vote on the committee's report. At the very least, loyal slave owners should be compensated for their loss, he argued. Pointing out that the majority report "proposes at one single swoop to dispossess owners of their property," Abell urged each delegate "to ask himself the question, is this right, is it fair, is it honest? "10 John Henderson, Cutler's law partner, responded to Abell's question. "Slavery is both contrary to the law of nations and natural law," Henderson proclaimed.

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