The War of Races: Colfax Massacre

It was high noon on Easter 1873 when the white mob came riding into Colfax.
Five months earlier, Louisiana had held its second election since the end of the Civil War and the beginning of Black male suffrage. But some whites had refused to recognize the result, and former Confederate soldiers had committed acts of racial violence across the state.
When a former slave was fatally shot near Colfax, around 150 Black men holed up inside the river town’s courthouse to wait for federal troops.
Instead, they were met by the mob.“Boys, this is a struggle for white supremacy,” one Ku Klux Klan leader told the mob, according to Charles Lane’s “The Day Freedom Died.”
Armed with superior weaponry — including a small cannon — the mob set the courthouse on fire and shot anyone who emerged. When some Blacks tried to surrender by waving handkerchiefs, they were mowed down and their remains were desecrated. 
Anywhere from 62 to 81 African Americans were killed, according to Lane, a Washington Post editorial writer.“THE WAR OF RACES,” proclaimed a headline in the New York Times.
The Colfax Massacre, as it would come to be known, is one chapter in the long and bloody history of “race war” in America. It is the most radical of racist visions: an apocalyptic ideology driven by the belief that whites are in imminent danger of being wiped out.

READ: ‘The War of Races’: How a hateful ideology echoes through American history | The Star


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“Politicians, Priests, and psychiatrists often face the same problem: how to find the most rapid and permanent means of changing a man’s belief…The problem of the doctor and his nervously ill patient, and that of the religious leader who sets out to gain and hold new converts, has now become the problem of whole groups of nations, who wish not only to confirm certain political beliefs within their boundaries, but to proselytize the outside world.” – William Sargant “Battle of the Mind”

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