The Keith 's Book The Colfax Massacre

1479 Words Mar 31st, 2015 6 Pages
LeeAnna Keith’s book, The Colfax Massacre, tells the history of events that is described as, the most deadly crime of racial violence of the Reconstruction era. She seeks to reconstruct and explain the origins and aftermath of the Colfax massacre that took place in Grant Parish in 1873. Keith does this by describing the history of the geographic location of Grant Parish, the outcomes of two elections of 1868, how the elections of 1872 led to the Colfax Massacre, and what influence the Cruikshank case had on Louisiana and the entire country. William Smith, a slave-owner in Huntsville, Alabama, thought that “[e]xpansion into Louisiana’s Red River country… offered the only hope for sustaining the profitability of his life’s work” (Keith, 9). He was sure that the cotton industry in Louisiana would bring him wealth. But, he could not do it on his own. Along with Smith, Meredith Calhoun was a big part in the history of the geographic area that became Grant Parish, the site of Colfax, LA. Calhoun started as a young boy in global shipping and trading and acquired a personal fortune. He decided to stake all of his money on the slave industry. Near Huntsville, Alabama, he met and married Mary Smith Taylor, granddaughter of William Smith. The Smith-Calhoun partnership had begun. Calhoun and Smith transported about 1,000 slaves to the Red River plantations in Louisiana. This movement westward progressed an era of forced migrations seeking to expand the cotton frontier. The Red River…
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