Describing themselves as defenders of a “hereditary civilization and Christianity,” a group of Confederate veterans in Louisiana formed the White League on March 1, 1874.
Their stated purpose was “the extermination of the carpetbag element” and restoration of white supremacy.
The paramilitary group operated openly to eliminate the Reconstruction government by targeting local Republican officeholders for assassination and terrorizing freed people to keep them from voting, political organizing, and getting an education.
The image to the right is of Julia Hayden, a 17-year-old schoolteacher who was shot to death by the White League within three days of starting to work at a school for freed people in Tennessee in the fall of 1874.
Similar organizations, called the White Line and the Red Shirts, were organized in Mississippi in 1875 and South and North Carolina in 1876.
Read about Hayden’s murder. Find resources below to teach about the Reconstruction era, voter suppression, and terrorism.