Download PDF by Gene L. Howard: Death at Cross Plains: An Alabama Reconstruction Tragedy

By Gene L. Howard

Reconstruction within the South is a far reviews and but little understood darkish epoch within the region’s heritage; in lots of parts it was once marked through such violence as to were in all yet identify guerrilla conflict. loss of life and pass Plains is the background of 1 such conflict, and the tale of 1 of its casualties – William Luke. 

            Luke, born in eire, was once a former Canadian minister fleeing a checkered previous and maybe looking to redeem himself by way of carrier to the black freedmen of northern Alabama. In 1869 he took a educating submit at Talladega university, the one college for blacks within the sector. Later taking the placement of schoolteacher to the black railroad staff close to Talladega, Luke came across himself enmeshed within the net of racial antagonisms, xenophobia, and partisan clash rampant in a lot of the South.

            dying at pass Plains follows the tragic process William Luke’s existence and demise and vividly depicts the hatreds and screw ups that plunged the South into its darkest days.

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Sample text

The poor whites, who made up about one-fourth of the white population, deeply resented the Negroes, the only group of people they could look down on as being inferior. Why should blacks get an education they could not afford for their children? Tuition for the Cross Plains Institute ranged from two to four dollars a month, less than the cost of sending a student to a similar school in Jacksonville. 7 At the Talladega school the students received more than an education. The material development of the school required as much of their time as the classroom.

Smith complaining that the county was experiencing the worst state of lawlessness since the close of the war. The letter cited recent incidents in which the Klan had raided Negro quarters in Alexandria, shooting one man in the leg and whipping several others. The sheriff arrested the white men, but they produced witnesses to prove their innocence. On the same night as the Alexandria raid, another party of Klansmen searched for a notable scalawag, John DeArman, the county treasurer. Fortunately, DeArman had left by train on a fishing trip.

Underestimating the dimensions of the conspiracy, Smith failed to recognize the inability of local authorities to deal with systematic terrorism. " 4 The federal troops, in constant demand from their station in Huntsville, were seldom effective in calming Klan unrest. Even though twenty thousand troops were stationed across the South, they had limited authority to aid local officials and intervened only when asked. The military found it fruitless to arrest the Klansmen: the authorities refused to prosecute them, and the courts and juries refused to convict them.

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Death at Cross Plains: An Alabama Reconstruction Tragedy by Gene L. Howard


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