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November 2 , 1898: Red Shirt Rally

The "red shirts" were men on horseback who wore bright red shirts. They often rode together through African American neighborhoods and were charged with intimidation and, in some cases, violence against potential fusion voters. The Red Shirts appeared in the latter days of the election and were most prominent in counties along the South Carolina border.

The Morning Star (Wilmington, N.C.), 2 November 1898


White Men Show Determination

to Rid Themselves of

Negro Rule.


The Grand Rally at Laurinburg--Claude
Kitchin's Address--Many Negroes
Take Their Names from Regis-
tration List

[ Special Star Telegram.]

LAURINBURG, November 1 -- The white men of Richmond county showed their determination to rid themselves of negro rule by their grand rally today. A thousand men wearing red shirts gathered here from points as distant and Maxton and Gibson and paraded for ten miles through the negro precincts of the county. It was an object lesson which will have its good effect upon the negro, for it showed that the white men do not propose to longer endure the domination of the black race in this section.

In the afternoon, Claude Kitchin, of Halifax, delivered a masterly speech. He said that all the soldiers in the United States would not keep the white people from enjoying their rights. He appealed to the people of Richmond county to follow in the wake of Halifax, where if a negro constable came to a white man with a warrant in his hand he left with a bullet in his brain. His review of the scandal and extravagance of the Fusion administration was very forcible, and, in fact, his whole two hours' talk elicited vehement applause. Mr. Maxcy L. John presided at the meeting. Many negroes have taken their names from the registration list. From November 8th the white men will rule Richmond county.

Source: The Morning Star (Wilmington, N.C.), 2 November 1898, p. 1. Scanned from microfilm.

The North Carolina Election of 1898North Carolina CollectionUNC-Chapel Hill Libraries