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Mon, 09.28.1868

Massacre in Opelousas, (child caution, graphic image)

On this date in 1868, the Opelousas massacre occurred.   That city in St. Landry Parish is north of New Orleans, Louisiana.  The episode site is where local Blacks lost their lives to violent whites (many of them Confederate veterans and prominent citizens).

The slaughter started when three local whites beat up an 18-year white man named Emerson Bentley.  He was an editor (and non-Louisianan) of the local Republican newspaper and a teacher with the Freedmen's Bureau. Reacting to Bentley's beating, local Blacks came to his rescue. The sheriff arrested 12 Blacks, who were taken from jail and hung that night.

In the next few days, bands of armed whites scoured the countryside and killed Blacks in what was described as a “Negro hunt” similar to one which had occurred outside of Shreveport, Louisiana, a short time before. It is estimated that 200 Blacks were killed in the fields and swamps surrounding Opelousas, Louisiana.


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