Charleston Riot | South Carolina Public Radio

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“C” is for the Charleston Riot [1876]. As the crucial local, state, and national elections of 1876 approached, tensions between the races in South Carolina reached a boiling point. In Charleston black Republicans were especially incensed by Democratic attempts to induce blacks to vote Democratic. On September 6th, after a Democratic rally, a group of Republicans pursued the participants. A white Democrat fired a pistol that instead of frightening his pursuers attracted an even larger crowd. The Democrats retreated and asked for protection from federal troops. A full-scale riot erupted and lasted for several days with black residents assaulting any white person venturing outside. The activism and aggression against whites displayed in the Charleston Riot set the city apart from other Southern cities during Reconstruction where blacks tended to be the victims rather than the aggressors.

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