The Thibodaux Massacre: Racial Violence and the 1887 Sugar Cane Labor Strike
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Fear, rumor and white supremacist ideals clashed with an unprecedented labor action spawned an epic tragedy.
On November 23, 1887, white vigilantes gunned down unarmed black laborers and their families due to strikes on Louisiana sugar cane plantations. A future member of the U.S. House of Representatives was among the leaders of a mob that routed black men from houses and forced them to a stretch of railroad track, ordering them to run for their lives before gunning them down. According to a witness, the guns firing in the black neighborhoods sounded like a battle. Author and award-winning reporter John DeSantis uses correspondence, interviews and federal records to detail this harrowing true story.