This Day in History

Sept. 4, 1875: Clinton, Mississippi Massacre

Time Periods: Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876
Themes: African American, Reconstruction, Democracy & Citizenship, Racism & Racial Identity

Clinton Massacre | Zinn Education Project

The Reconstruction era Clinton Riot began on Sept. 4, 1875, in the small town of Clinton, Mississippi at a Republican rally to introduce the party’s candidates who were running for political office in the upcoming November elections. The immediate death toll included five Black and three white men. Over the next several days, an estimated fifty Blacks were killed in the massacre that followed.

Over 1,500 black Republicans and their families gathered on the grounds of the former Moss Hill plantation for a barbecue and political rally. Approximately 100 whites also attended, including a few Democrats from the nearby town of Raymond.

During the Republican speaker, shots were fired. When the gunfire ended, a total of five Blacks, including two children, and three whites were dead, and nearly thirty others were wounded.

The following days were marked by violence and bloodshed as the white mob indiscriminately shot and killed nearly fifty Blacks in Clinton and the surrounding area.

Although Governor Ames requested federal troops to assist in restoring order, President Ulysses Grant denied the request on September 14 and adopted a policy of non-intervention, leaving Ames and the local Black and white Republicans without protection.

Description from by Sheren Sanders, Alcorn State University.

Learn more from the Clinton Riot of 1875: From Riot to Massacre (Mississippi Historical Society) and Clinton Massacre Leaves More Than 20 Blacks Dead in Mississippi (Equal Justice Initiative.)