This Day in History

April 5, 1866: Black Grocers Protest Taxes Supporting Confederates

Time Periods: 1865
Themes: African American, Reconstruction, Racism & Racial Identity

On April 5, 1866, a man named Robert Williams wrote this letter to the Florida Freedmen’s Bureau assistant commissioner on behalf of himself and six other Black grocers in Tallahassee. They called for an end to high taxes levied against them to support former Confederates. Bureau records do not contain a response from the assistant commissioner.

Dear Sir,

We the undersigned, colored grocers of this city, take this method to Present themselves to you. We Protest against the crushing Taxes that are charged by the civil authorities as unbearable, under the circumstances.

If we do not keep such astablishments to Protect our People against Paying the Rebels such a high Price for what they need what will they have at the end of the year to begin with.

we hope you will give to the Subject your most favourable View

we Remane dear sir your most Obt Servts


Robert Williams
Samuel Wells
Crofford Watkins
Boson Roberson
George Laramore
Lucian Fisher
Austin Whiticer

This story is included on the Florida assessment page of the Zinn Education Project’s report, Erasing the Black Freedom Struggle: How State Standards Fail to Teach the Truth About Reconstruction.

Learn about the Reconstruction era in Florida in Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920 by Paul Ortiz.