R.G. Cromwell – Suffrage Violence

“I write to you my dear sir amid a terror stricken and distressed people – and I do it solely for the purpose of showing you the condition of my race (the Negro people in this State). On the 5th Inst, our Election was held, on that day Republicans and Unionists who wished to vote a Republican ticket was driven from the poll, murdered, or intimidated. This morning five days since the so called election I am told the Rebels are still killing freedmen the news are that the bodies are lying in the wood unburried and eaten by the hogs – out town is full of refugees, our most industrious men are hunted down like they were wild beasts of prey…”

Nor was this deplorable state of affairs an isolated occurrence:

“The history of Louisiana for the last twelves years reveals nothing more interesting than prosecutions, murders, Etc., Etc. of the negro citizens of this state – It has been an exterminating and intimidating war – yes, Churches burned, Ignorant defenseless negroes killed, innocent women, that were pregnant had the child rifled from the womb, of a living mother – Our young women subjected to treatment too horrible to mention.” 2

  • 2 R.G. Cromwell to President R.B. Hayes, Shreveport, Louisiana, November 10, 1878, Record Group 60, Department of Justice Source – Chronological Files, President, box 6.
  • P.98, Exodusters – Nell Irvin Painter, ISBN 0-393-00951-3

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