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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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Houses, Yards, and Other Domestic Domains

Houses, Yards, and Other Domestic Domains

(p.179) Chapter Five Houses, Yards, and Other Domestic Domains
Terror in the Heart of Freedom

Hannah Rosen

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter illustrates how the years of Reconstruction saw extensive campaigns of vigilante terror, making it one of the most violent eras in U.S. history. Bands of white men roamed the rural areas of the South, attacking African Americans in their homes. From groups known as “bushwhackers” or “jayhawkers” during the war, to local vigilante gangs of returned Confederate soldiers just after southern surrender, to men in costume claiming membership in the Ku Klux Klan during congressional Reconstruction, intrusions in the night by companies of hostile white men were experienced by many and feared by most former slaves. Although freedpeople made distinctions between these groups, they also labeled them all “night riders” and perceived in all of them conspiracies of terror with similar overall practices, objectives, and effects.

Keywords:   Reconstruction, vigilante terror, African Americans, bushwhackers, jayhawkers, Ku Klux Klan

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