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How white supremacists briefly overthrew Louisiana's state legislature 150 years ago

"Battle at the Customs House", an egraving in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 1874
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Wikimedia // Creative Commons

The start of the end of Reconstruction in the South happened during the 1874 election season.

"The Louisiana outrages : A street barricade, guarded by white leaguers" 1874
Harper's weekly
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Creative Commons, New York Public Library
"The Louisiana outrages : A street barricade, guarded by white leaguers" 1874

That’s what author Robert Cwiklik argues in his new book "Sheridan's Secret Mission: How the South Won the War After the Civil War," published by Harper Collins this year.

It includes the story of how Union General and war hero Phillip Sheridan and President Ulysses S. Grant fell into hot water when they moved to stop a group of white men from overthrowing the democratically elected Louisiana state government while new legislators were being installed in January 1875.

As public opinion shifted, President Grant felt Americans would no longer support the kind of federal actions needed to guarantee voting and Civil rights for Black Americans.

Guest
-Robert Cwiklik is the author of "Sheridan's Secret Mission: How the South Won the War After the Civil War" from Harper Collins, and was an editor at The Wall Street Journal for more than 15 years.

Jeff Tiberii is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Jeff joined WUNC in 2011. During his 20 years in public radio, he was Morning Edition Host at WFDD and WUNC’s Greensboro Bureau Chief and later, the Capitol Bureau Chief. Jeff has covered state and federal politics, produced the radio documentary “Right Turn,” launched a podcast, and was named North Carolina Radio Reporter of the Year four times.