The Memphis Riots of 1866: Terror in a Black Community During Reconstruction

  title={The Memphis Riots of 1866: Terror in a Black Community During Reconstruction},
  author={James Gilbert Ryan},
  journal={The Journal of Negro History},
  pages={243 - 257}
  • J. Ryan
  • Published 1 July 1977
  • History
  • The Journal of Negro History
On May 1, 1866 Memphis, Tennessee a street brawl erupted between several Irish policemen and a group of blacks recently discharged from the United States Army. The conflict quickly escalated into a full-scale battle between the police department and virtually all Negroes wearing Union blue in the downtown area. A detachment of federal troops from nearby Fort Pickering, occupying Mermphis since the end of the Civil War, intervened to halt the violence within five hours. Most of the black… 
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  • High Crimes and Misdemeanors
  • 2019
Welcoming Ruin


65Testimony of McGowan in Riots, 216. 66Testimony of Sharp Ibid., 214. 67Testimony of Ira Stanbrough Ibid
    The Freedmen's Bureau in Tennessee
    • 1939
    and 3, 1866; and New York Times
      Ibid., 9. 55Ibid., 180. This and nearly all of the testimonies listed below depict the atrocities in greater detail than is presented here. 56Testimony of Beecher Ibid., 148. 57Testimony of Bond Ibid
      • 47Testimony of Lucy Tibbs in Riots, 160. 48Testimony of Cynthia Townsend Ibid., 162. 49Testimony of Tibbs Ibid., 160. 50Testimony of Townsend Ibid., 163. 51"Majority," Ibid., 25. 52Testimony of Tibbs Ibid., 162. 53Testimony of Henry Bond Ibid
      It had suggested the painting of the word "smallpox" on or near the properties. 21See the testimonies of Dr
        Political Reconstruction, 56. 19"Majority" Riots