Socialism Art Nature
On this day in 1887, more than 10,000 sugar cane laborers went on strike on plantations across Louisiana. The mostly black workers (including nearly 1,000 whites), organized with the Knights of Labor, demanded wage increases of $1.25 a day in biweekly payments of currency rather than company’s script for their back-breaking labor. They planned the strike to coincide with the beginning of the critical “grinding” period - which threatened the entire year’s harvest. Three weeks into the strike, state Judge Taylor Beattie declared martial law, and organized a white vigilante mob which ruthlessly gunned down strikers and their families in what came to be known as the Thibodaux Massacre. One black newspaper described the scene, ” ‘Six killed and five wounded’ is what the daily papers here say, but from an eye witness to the whole transaction we learn that no less than thirty-five Negroes were killed outright. Lame men and blind women shot; children and hoary-headed grandsires ruthlessly swept down! The Negroes offered no resistance; they could not, as the killing was unexpected. Those of them not killed took to the woods.”

On this day in 1887, more than 10,000 sugar cane laborers went on strike on plantations across Louisiana. The mostly black workers (including nearly 1,000 whites), organized with the Knights of Labor, demanded wage increases of $1.25 a day in biweekly payments of currency rather than company’s script for their back-breaking labor. They planned the strike to coincide with the beginning of the critical “grinding” period - which threatened the entire year’s harvest.

Three weeks into the strike, state Judge Taylor Beattie declared martial law, and organized a white vigilante mob which ruthlessly gunned down strikers and their families in what came to be known as the Thibodaux Massacre. One black newspaper described the scene,

” ‘Six killed and five wounded’ is what the daily papers here say, but from an eye witness to the whole transaction we learn that no less than thirty-five Negroes were killed outright. Lame men and blind women shot; children and hoary-headed grandsires ruthlessly swept down! The Negroes offered no resistance; they could not, as the killing was unexpected. Those of them not killed took to the woods.”


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