A Centennial Fourth of July Democratic Celebration. The Massacre of Six Colored Citizens of the United States at Hamburgh, S. C., July 4, 1876. Debate on the Hamburgh Massacre, In the U. S. House of Representatives, July 15th and 18th, 1876.
A carnival of bloodshed and violence
South Carolina Representative Albert Smalls (1839–1915) faced brutal opposition during the election year of 1876. On July 4th, in the all-black community of Hamburgh (Hamburg) South Carolina, all-black members of a local militia were harassed by angry planters trying to pass through the militia’s formation. By July 8th, a court case had come to bear, charging the militia with obstruction public roads. White armed men began to descend upon the town, intending to riot.
By afternoon, led by former Confederate General Matthew Butler and his Red Shirt militia —South Carolina’s version of the Ku Klux Klan— violence and gun fire broke out between the armed whites and the black militia. The latter retreated to the town armory, but they were outnumbered; the white attackers captured the armory. The whites then rounded up the town’s militiamen, and formed what they called a “dead ring,” and murdered, in cold blood, at least four black men. In all, six black men would die. Hamburg’s businesses and homes would be looted. Of the ninety-four white attackers indicted, none were prosecuted.
Smalls’ “Protection of Texas Frontier” speech within the present item argued against the Texas deployment of Federal troops stationed in South Carolina. He argued that further violence from the Red Shirts would erupt against the local government and black freedmen with their deployment.
Smalls barely beat his opponent George D. Tillman, the brother of Benjamin “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman; “Smalls called Election Day in South Carolina ‘a carnival of bloodshed and violence.’”
Description: A Centennial Fourth of July Democratic Celebration. The Massacre of Six Colored Citizens of the United States at Hamburgh, S. C., July 4, 1876. Debate on the Hamburgh Massacre, In the U. S. House of Representatives, July 15th and 18th, 1876.
[Np. 1876]. 16pp. First Edition. 8vo., single gathered and folded; never sewn, partially unopened. Some light browning per paper quality; a few trivial short tears; very good or better.
Blockson Collection Catalogue 3358. Ref. Black Americans in Congress 1870–2007, pp138–140. Michael Stolp-Smith, “The Hamburg Massacre (1876)” accessed online via The Hamburg Massacre (1876) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed.