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From 2018 EJI Calendar

1874:  After Peter Crosby, a former slave is elected sheriff in Vicksburg, Mississippi, whites remove him and kill black citizens who try to reinstate him.  Crosby is later shot in the head by J.P. Gilmer, a deputy.

From EJI Timeline

Vicksburg, Mississippi Massacre: White Mob Attacks Black Political Meeting

The Vicksburg Massacre, 1874.

The Vicksburg Massacre, 1874.

During the Reconstruction era that followed Emancipation and the Civil War, African American Mississippians made significant strides toward political equality. Despite the passage of black codes designed to oppress and disenfranchise black people in the South, many African American men voted and served in political office on federal, state, and local levels.

Peter Crosby, a former slave, was elected to Sheriff in Vicksburg, Mississippi – but shortly after taking office, Crosby was indicted on false criminal charges and removed from his position by a violent white mob. On December 7, 1874, the “Vicksburg Massacre” occurred, in which whites attack and killed many black citizens who had organized to try to help Crosby regain his office. The violence prompted President Ulysses S. Grant to finally send troops to mediate the conflict. Crosby regained his position as Sheriff soon after, through the use of force and the courts.

In early 1875, J.P. Gilmer, a white man, was hired to serve as Crosby’s deputy. After a disagreement, Crosby tried to have Gilmer removed from office. Gilmer responded by shooting Crosby in the head on June 7, 1875. Gilmer was arrested for the attempted assassination, but never brought to trial. Crosby survived the wound but never made a full recovery, and had to serve the remainder of his term through a representative white citizen.

The violence and intimidation tactics utilized by white Mississippians intent on restoring white supremacy soon enabled forces antagonistic to the aims of Reconstruction and racial equality to regain power in Mississippi.

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