New Orleans Riot of 1866

On July 30, 1864, angered by the enactment of the Black Codes in Louisiana, and by the legislature's refusal to give black men the vote, the Radical Republicans in Louisiana reconvened the constitutional convention of 1864. While only twenty-five white delegates meet in New Orleans, they were joined by 200 supporters who were primarily African-American veterans from the Civil War.

Former confederates, aided by the New Orleans police, fearful that the state would fall out of Southern, white control, attacked the gathering. Both the blacks and the delegates were targets and were shot even after raising white flags of surrender as they tried to flee the building where the convention was being held. Cyrus Hamlin, son of former Vice-President Hannibal Hamlin wrote, "The wholesale slaughter and the little regard paid to human life I witnessed here" was worse than what he had seen in battle.

Local police, rather than assisting those under attack, participated in it. Federal troops had been called for assistance but by the time they arrived it was too late to prevent the violence. 100 persons were injured in the fighting and thirty-four blacks and three white Radicals were killed.

Source: Reconstruction.


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