Hypocrites: Democrats, A History of Racism
Tolerance. Inclusiveness. Compassion. These are the hallmarks of The Democrat Party. Or so they say. They, according to them, have a monopoly on all three. They present Republicans and Conservatives as racist, and themselves as the champion of minorities everywhere. They are standing in the way of innumerable plans of Republicans and the right to prevent African Americans from voting, from being treated as equals, and of exercising their rights. They tell us white police officers are intentionally gunning down blacks in the streets with absolutely no provocation, other than them. They portray that it is solely up to Democrats to prevent all of this injustice; and the dishonest news media is right there to stoke the fire.
But what is the true story of the Democrat Party? In his book, Hillary’s America, Dinesh D’Souza outlined the racist history of Democrats, a history they want you to forget. It is a racism that continues to this day, only in disguise. In a series of articles, I will describe the way the Democrat Party has evolved into what they are today. In reality, they did not evolved all that much. Ignoring the law, denying and refusing to accept the results of democratic elections, voter fraud, lying and hiding their real agenda, and yes, even murder to intimidate voters and advance their cause. They habitually accuse their victims. This is the true legacy of the Democrat Party. While attempting to keep African Americans subservient and dependent on their racist party, they have convinced these very victims of their policies that Democrats are actually helping them. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Most works about the Civil War discuss slavery in terms of a southern or regional problem. But slavery should rightfully be identified as a Democrat institution. Democrats wanted it, Democrats fought politically to keep it, and finally, Democrats endeavored to destroy the country to keep it. When they were defeated militarily, they used all methods, legal or not, to deny African American rights, including the vote. During Reconstruction, the Democrat party ran para-military organizations to meet their political aims. Today, there is little doubt that the Democrat Party of the post-Civil War era would be classified as a terrorist organization. And today Democrats cry out against Jim Crow laws, supposedly supported Republicans. They fail to mention that it was THEY who passed and promoted the Jim Crow laws.
A two-thousand page United States Senate report from 1876 outlines hundreds of incidents of hate and terror perpetrated by the Democrat Party against blacks in the South, particularly in Mississippi and Louisiana. It is a mistake, perpetuated by liberal scholars, to characterize these acts as isolated, provoked or even “unfortunate.” Terrorism against blacks was a policy planned and carried out by the leadership of the Democrat Party. As Rush Limbaugh might say, “Do not doubt me on this.” There were many, many of these incidents. In this series, I will highlight a few. We shall begin in Colfax, Louisiana.
General Philip Sheridan
In an 1875 report, General Philip Sheridan, who had been appointed by President Grant to restore order in the Louisiana, reported that since the end of the war, 2,141 blacks had been killed in Louisiana, while another 2,115 had been wounded. In this atmosphere of violence and terror, in 1869, blacks had requested, and a local legislature had created, a safe haven community where they could live among themselves, apart from hostile Democrats. Land was allocated and a new parish begun, called Grant Parish, named after the President. The town was called Colfax, named for the Vice President Schuyler Colfax.
The predominant White Democrat population was extremely uncomfortable that blacks were being afforded rights and were indeed beginning to administer local government. As in the election of the state governor, both Democrats and Republicans claimed victory of the office of Sheriff of Grant Parish. The Republican was a black man, a former slave and union army veteran, named William Ward. The Democrat was Christopher Columbus Nash, a former Confederate soldier. The Republican government was officially recognized by the Grant administration, as well as the Louisiana Governor. But obeying the law has never been a priority of Democrats. They could not accept an election by the people and losing. Sound familiar?
On about March 25, 1873 a group of white Democrats, broke into the courthouse and illegally claimed possession of the government. In response, the Republican sheriff, at the end of the month, deputized some blacks to help him protect the town. Tension reigned in the area. Persistent rumors circulated among the whites (which were habitually used as an excuse for violence by Democrats) that the blacks were organizing in order to attack them, something that had been an engrained fear since the days of slavery. In turn, the blacks thought the whites were preparing to attack, which in reality, they were. In response, blacks began to fortify the town and families from the surrounding countryside, who were being terrorized, began to come into Colfax for protection. In several instances, blacks had been murdered by white Democrats without provocation, which ratcheted up the tension to a fever pitch.
One evening, Nash and about 50 men, surrounded a house where two black Republican office holders were located, and set the house on fire. When the men tried to escape the house, they were shot down. One was killed, the other survived only by playing dead.
Meanwhile, the instability of the government continued. Louisiana Governor William Pitt Kellogg met with Ward and a couple of Nash’s Democrat allies. The Governor was told that if Nash was not named Sheriff, there would be bloodshed. In the end, the Republicans were in charge and Ward was given authority. When Ward returned to Colfax he called together his Republican political allies and because the Democrats would not allow a peaceful transition of power, broke into the courthouse at night and took over the reins of government. No one was injured during this rightful takeover.
The White Democrats were enraged. They would not accept blacks exercising legal authority over them. After all, they were their former slaves. Tensions continued to simmer among the Democrats. Plotting became more prevalent. Something would have to be done!
About a week after the courthouse take over, on April 1, 1873, James Hadnot, a man known for his opposition of the blacks exercising their newly found rights, rode into town with about a dozen men. Hadnot was decked out in a red military sash and a sword. All of the men were armed with pistols. Ostensibly, Hadnot was there to try to have a meeting to try to achieve peace in the crisis. But when he saw what faced him, he quickly withdrew with his men. In the town there were a substantial number of blacks, dozens of them armed. Amazingly, Hadnot went into the town to ask them to disperse. When they refused, he left.
Three day later on April 5, in an attempt at peace, William Ward and three other blacks met four white Democrats in a field outside Colfax for a talk. While they were negotiating peace, Louis Meekin, another black, rushed up to tell them that a posse of white men had come upon a black man, Jesse McKinney, in front of his house fixing a fence. Without provocation, they shot him in the head, in front of his wife and children. That effectively ended the peace negotiations.
Throughout the remainder of the day, whites and blacks skirmished outside Colfax, with only one injury being reported, that of a white man who had his thumb shot off. The white patrols terrified the former slaves throughout the region. McKinney’s wife was so afraid that she was unable to have his body embalmed and instead, took it to a relative’s house, where its smell began to attract buzzards.
Meanwhile, more and more blacks made their way to Colfax for the protection of Ward’s militia. By mid-April there were about 500 seeking refuge, many of them women and children. It is estimated that about 150 black farmers and their families were in the town. Nearby, about an equal number of whites were camped.
“Late in the afternoon, black prisoners that had been taken during the fighting were given an option. They could choose between going forward and setting the courthouse on fire, or they would be shot.“
The White Democrats of the area, as they invariably did, viewed the concentration of blacks as a threat, with fears of a coming assault, complete with rape and pillage. This convenient “fear” fueled many atrocities throughout the south during reconstruction. But in this case, as in almost all others, blacks made no unprovoked attacks on whites in the area. They had only taken over the courthouse to which they had a legal right due to a gubernatorial proclamation. They had simply pried open a window in the dead of night. Columbus Nash was a leader of the white militia and he called for whites to arm themselves. Nash sent out a call for reinforcements and the White Democrat force is estimated to have grown to about 300.
On April 9, it seems that preparations for a serious assault on the Colfax courthouse were beginning. A few of Nash’s men traveled to Alexandria and talked a captain of a steamboat there into letting them take a cannon he had on deck for protection. They brought it back to Grant Parish for use in the coming attack. White Democrats across the Red River sunk a small ferry that serviced Colfax on an effort to cut off a black escape route. Meanwhile, the blacks dug out crude earthworks on the day before Easter around the Colfax courthouse and hoped that help from the government would arrive in time.
On Easter Sunday April 13, Columbus Nash readied his troops. Two or three hundred armed men rode toward Colfax. At noon, Nash and a second, bearing a white flag, rode into town. Levin Allen, the leader of the black troops in Ward’s absence, met with him. Nash demanded that the blacks surrender and that there would be mercy shown. Allen responded that no mercy had been shown in the countryside when whites were killing blacks without provocation. Rightfully fearing what would happen if they put down their arms, Allen refused to surrender. Nash returned to his mean with the news.
Nash gave a one half hour warning for women and children to vacate the town before he would begin the assault. Some were still in sight when the entire White Democrat force began the march. The cannon was pulled into place and began firing nuts and bolts; anything that could be loaded into it. Some makeshift cannon made of pipes by the blacks failed to fire in response. The blacks fought valiantly in their earthworks, but they were generally armed with shotguns, which had a shorter range than the white’s Enfield rifles. In addition, cannon fire upon them took its toll and finally led them to the conclusion that their position was untenable. They began streaming out and running for better positions. According to a later House Congressional report, the cannon fire “created consternation and panic among the negroes, and they broke and ran, a portion of them starting down the river, the only portion of the town not environed or besieged, and about sixty…retreated into the courthouse.”
“The white forces that were mounted immediately pursued the fugitives going down the river and slaughtered all within their reach but one,” the report stated. “Some of them got into the woods and some of them escaped after they were wounded.”
Late in the afternoon, black prisoners that had been taken during the fighting were given an option. They could choose between going forward and setting the courthouse on fire, or they would be shot. If they complied they were told they would be spared. Only one, Pinckney Chambers, agreed. Walking unarmed and under fire from the courthouse, Pinckney, using a pole with rags soaked in coal oil, set the roof of the courthouse on fire. The White Democrats continued to fire on the courthouse, making it impossible for the blacks inside to put out the fire. Soon the whole building was in flames and men inside began to burn alive. One found a sheet of white paper and waved it out a window to surrender.
“Some of the white people came up and shouted to the negroes that if they would lay down their arms and come out they would not hurt them,” said the government report.
According to black sources, the men inside the courthouse began stacking their arms in preparation for surrender. According to whites, they approached the courthouse and the blacks began firing, killing James Hadnot near the door, but the blacks insist that it was anxious whites who had accidentally shot Hadnot. It is extremely doubtful that in their position, blacks began to fire.
What happened next was not disputed. The White Democrats slaughtered the blacks. Men jumping from the second story windows to escape the flames were brutally massacred. All the men in the courthouse were killed, unarmed, while begging for mercy.
“A condition of panic …existed inside the building, and the door was opened at once, and the negroes, unarmed, rushed out, to be met with a volley the moment they made their appearance,” the House report concluded. “In that volley several of them were killed. The negroes who were not in the immediate vicinity of the door rushed back and waited a moment, then made another try, and all, excepting some who were secreted under the floor, got out. Again, there were some of them killed, and some taken prisoners: the prisoners, as fast as they were taken, were taken out near a cottonwood tree, in a cotton field, and put under guard.”
“The escaping men were overtaken, mustered in crowds, made to stand around, and, while in every attitude of humiliation and supplication, were shot down and their bodies mangled and hacked to hasten death or to satiate the hellish malice of their heartless murderers, even after they were dead,” wrote Morris Chester, a witness.
White Democrats on horseback patrolled near the town, hunting down any black who may have escaped in an effort to kill them. It could be argued up to the point of the courthouse being set on fire that it was a “battle,” with the whites winning from the start. Now, it was simply murder.
The prisoners in the cotton field have been estimated between thirty-seven and forty-seven. They were kept under guard there for about ten hours. Then about 10 p.m., the black prisoners were told they were being taken to Alexandria in the middle of the night. They were brought out of the house, two by two, and executed: shot in the back of the heads.
Benjamin Brimm, an older prisoner, began to hear shots at the head of the column. He asked one of the guards if they were killing the prisoners. He was told that they were only killing the wounded. He then heard a pistol cock and before he could turn around, he was shot through the head, the bullet coming out under his left eye. Amazingly, he did not die and played dead. Having trouble breathing, the noise attracted the attention of a guard, who shot him again in the back, just missing his spinal cord. Grimm laid there for hours, then crawled to a ditch and covered himself with brush, while whites milled around. He later crawled away.
Grimm later recalled one of the Democrat killers responding to a plea for mercy by saying, “he did not come 400 miles to kill niggers for nothing.”
Two days later, a boat with a force of Metropolitan police arrived in Colfax. They had been sent by former Confederate General James Longstreet, who was the head of the Metropolitan Police in New Orleans. At their head was T. W. DeKlyne. When they arrived, they found the town littered with the dead, most laying where they fell; their loved ones too afraid to come into the town to retrieve their bodies.
“About one third of a mile below the courthouse we came upon a party of colored men and women carrying away a wounded colored man upon a sled,” DeKlyne wrote. “About two hundred yards nearer the courthouse were three dead bodies of colored men, and from that point to the courthouse and its vicinity the ground as thickly strewn with dead. We were unable to find the body of a single white man or to ascertain the loss of the whites…Many were shot in the back at the head and neck, one man still lay with his hands clasped in supplication; the face of another was completely flattened by blows from a gun, the broken stock of a double barreled shotgun being on the ground near him; another had been cut across the stomach with a knife after being shot; and almost all had from three to a dozen wounds. Many of them had their brains literally blown out…We caused to be buried in a ditch near the courthouse, the remains of fifty-four colored men, three of whom were so badly burned as to be unrecognizable.”
“The corpses laid around indiscriminately, bodies had begun to decompose,” agreed William Wright, one of DeKlyne’s men. “There were unusual marks of violence on the bodies, the wounds numbered as high as six, mostly in the head and neck; found six bodies under a warehouse; three charred bodies beyond recognition, …found one body with skull crushed in; the stock of a shotgun lay alongside; found no armed colored people; it was difficult to obtain assistance to bury the dead…have been in battle fields after a fight; the wounds in this case were different from those given in regular fights.”
All told, after an investigation by Lieutenant Edward L. Godfrey of the Seventh Cavalry, the death toll of the Colfax Massacre was at least 105 blacks, and three whites. And two of the dead whites were likely killed by over-eager attackers, rather than by blacks. It ranks as the worst single day of killing during the entirety of Reconstruction: all brought about by the racist Democrat Party. After the events, no one was penalized for the attacks. As Democrats practice to this very day, their illegal misdeeds were denied, distorted and ultimately protected by lawless Democrat politicians, by both legal means and, as always, otherwise.
Jeffrey W. Seibert is the author of “I Done My Duty:” The Complete Story of the Assassination of President McKinley. He is retired from the Internal Revenue Service, where he served two terms as President of the National Treasury Employees Union. He lives in Batavia, Ohio.