The White League was a paramilitary group that was allied with the Democratic Party in the South. In 1874 and 1875, the White League was responsible for widespread violence against black and white Republicans in Louisiana and Mississippi. The group’s platform from 1874 stated the following:
Disregarding all minor questions of principle or policy, and having solely in view the maintenance of our hereditary civilization and Christianity menaced by a stupid Africanization, we appeal to men of our race, of whatever language or nationality, to unite with us against that supreme danger. A league of whites is the inevitable result of that formidable, oath-bound, and blindly obedient league of the blacks, which, under the command of the most cunning and unscrupulous negroes in the State, may at any moment plunge us into a war of races . . . It is with some hope that a timely and proclaimed union of the whites as a race, and their efficient preparation for any emergency, may arrest the threatened horrors of social war, and teach the blacks to beware of further insolence and aggression, that we call upon the men of our race to leave in abeyance all lesser considerations; to forget all differences of opinions and all race prejudices of the past, and with no object in view but the common good of both races, to unite with us in an earnest effort to re-establish a white man’s government in the city and the State.1
1 Quoted in Glenn M. Linden, Voices from the Reconstruction Years, 1865–1877 (Harcourt Brace/Cengage, 1998), 205.
Reexamining History: How Can We Engage with the Stories We’re Told?
This lesson prepares young people to be critical consumers of stories they are told about the UK’s past and encourages them to consider how unpicking historical narratives can be an act of justice and a catalyst for action.
Students explore the legacies of the Reconstruction era today, reflect on the idea of democracy as a continuous process, and consider how they can best participate in the ongoing work of strengthening our democracy.
This series of Mini-Lessons is designed to help students think critically about the long and troubling history between law enforcement and Black Americans, while not stereotyping or criminalizing all police officers.