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Terror in the Heart of FreedomCitizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South$
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Hannah Rosen

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832028

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807888568_rosen

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A Riot and Massacre

A Riot and Massacre

(p.61) Chapter Two A Riot and Massacre
Terror in the Heart of Freedom

Hannah Rosen

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter describes the assault on a former slave named Frances Thompson and another African American woman, Lucy Smith, with whom she shared a house. This was one of hundreds of incidents of collective violence against recently emancipated slaves that together became known as the Memphis Riot. The attacks commenced in the late afternoon of May 1, 1866, and persisted for three days. They took place primarily in the neighborhood of South Memphis, and the assailants were mostly city policemen and the owners of small businesses such as grocery-saloons. Many of the attackers lived in South Memphis along with their victims. The violence was the culmination of escalating tensions between a growing freed community and white Memphians, and between African American Union soldiers stationed at the federal army's Fort Pickering in South Memphis and white city police officers.

Keywords:   former slave, Frances Thompson, African American woman, Lucy Smith, Memphis Riot, South Memphis

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