The 1868 St. Bernard Parish Massacre

The 1868 St. Bernard Parish Massacre

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Days before the tumultuous presidential election of 1868, St. Bernard Parish descended into chaos. As African American men gained the right to vote, white Democrats of the parish feared losing their majority. Armed groups mobilized to suppress these recently emancipated voters in the hopes of regaining a way of life turned upside down by the Civil War and Reconstruction. Freedpeople were dragged from their homes and murdered in cold blood. Many fled to the cane fields to hide from their attackers. The reported number of those killed varies from 35 to 135. The tragedy was hidden, but implications reverberated throughout the South and lingered for generations. Author and historian Chris Dier reveals the horrifying true story behind the St. Bernard Parish Massacre.