The Deadliest Massacre in Reconstruction-Era Louisiana Happened 150 Years Ago | History


“E.B. Beware! K.K.K.”

So read the note found on the schoolhouse door by its intended recipient: Emerson Bentley, a white school teacher. He found the message in early September 1868, illustrated with a coffin, a skull and bones, and a dagger dripping with blood. The straightforward message represented a menacing threat to Bentley, who was teaching African-American children in Louisiana at the time. Little could the Ohio-born Republican have predicted just how soon that violence would come about.

Bentley, an 18-year-old who also worked as one of the editors of the Republican paper The St. Landry Progress, was one of the few white Republicans in the Louisiana parish of St. Landry….

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