Lee Guidon – Klan Terrorism in South Carolina (1872)

“During the early 1870s the Congress held hearings to investigate reports that the Ku Klux Klan was engaging in widespread intimidation and violence against blacks in the South. The following three documents relate to a series of racial incidents in York County, South Carolina, in 1871. Throughout the South, where Radical Reconstruction was being implemented, blacks were joining Union Leagues, Republican organizations that also had secret rituals. The first document is an article from the Yorkville Enquirer describing the rash violence in the community. The second document is the courtroom testimony of an African American woman, Harriet Postle, whose family was assaulted by Klansmen. The third document is the testimony of Lawson B. Davis, a white Klansmen accused of such terrorism.”

Such acts of terrorism and violence describe an era of social unrest and instability right after the civil war and freedom of the former black slaves. Racism, poor economy in the south, rise of Radical Republicanism and general contempt for the loss of the civil war drove whites, mainly the Ku Klux Clan to commit such deliberate acts of malice toward African Americans. Congress caught on to the events unfolding in the South, and realized it must act on such. This created even more hatred for the North, republicans and blacks for being reprimanded on such actions which would continue far past the era of reconstruction and radical republicanism, abet on a smaller and more clandestine scale.