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After SlaveryRace, Labor, and Citizenship in the Reconstruction South$
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Bruce E. Baker and Brian Kelly

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044774

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044774.001.0001

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“Surrounded on All Sides by an Armed and Brutal Mob”

“Surrounded on All Sides by an Armed and Brutal Mob”

Newspapers, Politics, and Law in the Ogeechee Insurrection, 1868–1869

(p.58) 3 “Surrounded on All Sides by an Armed and Brutal Mob”
After Slavery

Jonathan M. Bryant

University Press of Florida

Exaggerated rumors of a black insurrectionary movement afoot on rice plantations in lowcountry Georgia caused great alarm among whites, spurring quasi-military mobilization under the leadership of prominent former Confederates. Upon close examination, the rumors proved mostly unfounded: at the root of disturbances was a confrontation between black laborers and planters over the terms of labor in the rice fields. This essay examines the role of the national press in circulating sensationalized accounts of the issues at stake during Reconstruction, and concludes that in their attempts to defuse tensions, federal officials encouraged a conflation of labor and race militancy that would ultimately lead to northern disaffection with Reconstruction.

Keywords:   Georgia, insurrection, labor strikes, paramilitaries, northern press, black labor, rice plantations, Confederates, violence

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