The content included in this source may be disturbing to some viewers and/or contain outdated language. Leading up the elections of 1898, North Carolina Democrats recruited groups of men called Red Shirts to carry weapons and attempt to scare African American men from voting.
White Men Show Determination to Rid Themselves of Negro Rule.
A THOUSAND RED SHIRTS.
The Grand Rally at Laurinburg–Claude Kitchin’s Address–Many Negroes Take Their Names from Registration List
[Special Star Telegram.]
LAURINBURG, November 1 — The white men of Richmond county showed their determination to rid themselves of negro rule by their grand rally today. A thousand men wearing red shirts gathered here from points as distant as Maxton and Gibson and paraded for ten miles through the negro precincts of the county. It was an object lesson which will have its good effect upon the negro, for it showed that the white men do not propose to longer endure the domination of the black race in this section.
In the afternoon, Claude Kitchin, of Halifax, delivered a masterly speech. He said that all the soldiers in the United States would not keep the white people from enjoying their rights. He appealed to the people of Richmond county to follow in the wake of Halifax, where if a negro constable came to a white man with a warrant in his hand he left with a bullet in his brain. His review of the scandal and extravagance of the Fusion administration was very forcible, and, in fact, his whole two hours’ talk elicited vehement applause. Mr. Maxcy L. John presided at the meeting. Many negroes have taken their names from the registration list. From November 8th the white men will rule Richmond county.
Citation: “Richmond County. White Men Show Determination to Rid Themselves of Negro Rule.” Wilmington Morning Star, November 2, 1898. https://exhibits.lib.unc.edu/exhibits/show/1898/item/2161. Accessed 19 June 2023.
- Why did the “white men of Richmond County” gather for a rally on November 1, 1898?
- Were the “white men” successful in their goal? How? If not, explain why.
- What did Claude Kitchin mean when he said “all the soldiers in the United States would not keep the white people from enjoying their rights?”
Precincts: certain geographic areas within a larger space
Object lesson: striking example of a principle or ideal
Masterly: very skillful
Constable: police officer in a small town with typically limited power
Warrant: document allowing for the arrest of a person or some other legal action
Vehement: strong and forceful
Registration list: eligible voters