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This dissertation looks at the 1874 "Vicksburg (Mississippi) Massacre" and its direct causes. Black sharecroppers, during the Reconstruction era, have been the focus of considerable scholarship that looks at black life in relation to white landowners. Little attention, however, has been given to black landowners. An examination of the House of Representatives Reports, Land Deeds, Census Records, Tax Records, and the American Missionary Association Archival Records allow a critical examination of the agency that black landowners in Vicksburg garnered before the Massacre. This dissertation focuses on the direct causes behind the massacre, including local black politicians and civic leaders, and a growing number of black landowners. More importantly, the acquisition of land by black Mississippians prompted the most prosperous white land owners to take action against them. Most threatening to Vicksburg's white population was the fact that Vicksburg had a black sheriff who also served as county tax collector. As Vicksburg's black leaders began to spend tax money on black education, whites became infuriated. This micro history of Vicksburg during the Reconstruction era demonstrates that life for these folk must have been hard but many of them found ways to form communities independent from white landowners.
Black Land Owners, Black Politicians, Mississippi History, Racial Violence, Reconstruction Era, Vicksburg Massacre
Date of Defense
October 29, 2012.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of History in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Maxine D. Jones, Professor Directing Dissertation; Maxine L. Montgomery, University Representative; James P. Jones, Committee Member; Jennifer L. Koslow, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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