In the Spring of 1944, the town of New Iberia, Louisiana, threatened, beat, and expelled key leaders of the town’s black community – leaders who had recently formed a new NAACP branch and were in danger of getting, by some accounts, the “upper hand.” Among the expelled were the town’s only black physicians, and their removal left the town without a black doctor – or strong black community leadership – until the civil rights movement.
The short-lived period of Reconstruction in the former Confederacy was met with defiance, violence, and a growing sense of chaos and danger — and that powder keg exploded on Easter Sunday in 1873, when the residents of tiny Colfax, Louisiana went to war with each other.
In 1891, a mob of close to 20,000 gathered at the Henry Clay statue in downtown New Orleans to take the law into their own hands. One of the largest in history and led by a row of 100 men with shotguns, it marched to the Parish Prison to deliver its own brand of justice to 19 terrified Italians imprisoned there.
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