The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 24
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
tion eventually solidified and in March, 1867, as a result of a
series of laws known collectively as the Reconstruction Acts, the
overall direction of the program of restoration was abruptly
taken out of the hands of the President and assumed by Congress.
On the same day the first Reconstruction Act was passed,
Congress also enacted a bill abolishing all militia forces in the
Southern States.1 The timing of this law was a reflection of more
than mere coincidence for this militia prohibition had a specific
purpose. By eliminating existing armed counter-forces in these
areas, it was felt that a milieu more favorable to the realization of
the Radical plan for a Republican South would be created. But
as these new Republican state governments were organized under
the processes of the Reconstruction Acts, the Radicals were faced
with the unhappy realization that it was one thing to create a
government but quite another thing to maintain it. Because of
the implacable hostility of many Southern whites to these newly-
created governments, the Radicals realistically saw the urgent
need for some sort of protective force to assure their perpetua-
tion. In answer to this need, the Radicals, in spite of their re-
cently enacted prohibition, sponsored the formation in the South-
ern States of loyal militia forces which, through a combination
of local circumstances, developed into a "negro militia." Whites,
in varying numbers, also belonged to these units, and though
specific figures are not available, the evidence suggests that the
heaviest concentrations of negro troops were in Arkansas, South
Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Yet in spite of the
fact that both races participated in the movement, it was stigma-
tized as "negro militia." Although these troops were neither
organized nor employed with uniformity throughout the South,2
in states where they were active, they became inextricably in-
volved in the outbreaks of racial violence which were a pre-
eminent characteristic of the Reconstruction period.
In Texas, the negro militia movement was closely associated
with the political career of Edmund J. Davis, Radical governor
of the state from 1870 to 1874. Davis had migrated with his fam-
'Congressional Globe, Sgth Cong., and Sess., 127.
2Virginia and Georgia had no regularly organized state forces; Alabama and
Florida confined their activities merely to planning. In the other seven states,
troops were organized and employed in varying degrees.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/37/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.