safety first

According to the October 1, 1867 issue of The New-York Times a riot broke out 150 years ago today at a rally in Savannah, Georgia. The speaker apparently urged confiscation of white-owned land for ex-slaves. After things calmed down the police chief issued a seemingly non-discriminatory order to arrest all disorderly people regardless of race or politics:


A Meeting of Negroes Broken up by the Police – An Incendiary Mulatto Speaker

… SAVANNAH, Ga., Monday, Sept. 30.

A man named BRADLEY, a Boston mulatto, who has been several times arrested by the military and civil authorities for swindling negroes and exciting them to disturbance, had a gathering here of about one thousand negroes, mostly from the country to-day. In the course of his harangues against the white men, and in favor of a distribution of lands to the conservative negroes, he was interrupted and a mêlée occurred. A large number of police charged through the crowd, the military came to their aid and together cleared the square. The muskets brought in by a large band of country negroes were taken by the Police and turned over to the military. A large proportion of the colored population disapprove of BRADLEY and threaten to assassinate him. The perfect understanding which exists between the City Government and the military affords great satisfaction to all classes except the adherents of BRADLEY.

[later in the evening] … The city is all quiet. Disturbances are threatened between the country and conservative city colored people to-night, but Gen. ANDERSON, Chief of Police, has given orders to arrest every disorderly person, regardless of color or politics. The military will remain under arms, but their services will probably not be needed. A large number of arrests of rioters and several ringleaders have been made, and they will probably be sent to Fort Pulaski by the military.

According to Wikipedia Aaron Alpeoria Bradley was a lawyer “was among the very few African Americans admitted to the bar before the Civil War.” “He moved to Savannah, Georgia, in 1865. In 1867 he applied for admission in United States District Court in Georgia as part of the carpetbagger movement. Due to the anti-black socio-political culture of the time, as well as Bradley’s confrontational activism against racial injustice, he was denied admission.” He advocated for more rights for blacks and against police brutality. At one point the government brought “criminal sedition charges against him.” From the Richmond Daily Dispatch December 27, 1865:

… A. A. Bradley, a mulatto, formerly expelled from the bar at Boston, was sentenced at Savannah to a year’s imprisonment by a military court for using seditious language. …

Rice culture on the Ogeechee, near Savannah, Georgia / Sketched by A.R. Waud. ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. XI, no. 523 (1867 January 5), p. 8. ; LOC:

this land is who’s land?

From the Library of Congress: Alfred R. Waud’s sketch of “Rice culture on the Ogeechee, near Savannah, Georgia” published in the January 5, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly
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