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A Massacre in Memphis: The Race Riot That Shook the Nation One Year After the Civil War

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  11 reviews
An unprecedented account of one of the bloodiest and most significant racial clashes in American history

In May 1866, just a year after the Civil War ended, Memphis erupted in a three-day spasm of racial violence that saw whites rampage through the city’s black neighborhoods. By the time the fires consuming black churches and schools were put out, forty-six freed people had
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ebook, 288 pages
Published October 15th 2013 by Hill and Wang
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Manray9
Karr's famous epigram -- plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose -- stuck with me throughout reading Stephen Ash's A Massacre in Memphis: The Race Riot That Shook the Nation One Year After the Civil War. In 1866, during the uneasy aftermath of the Civil War, Memphis was swept by an orgy of racial violence. How did it start? Armed white policemen sparked a confrontation with a group of young black men – many of whom were Union veterans. Sound familiar? By the time the situation was brought under ...more
SARAH
Jul 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In order to fully understand the Memphis Race Riot of 1866 one needs to be familiar with the massive political and socioeconomic changes of the early days of Reconstruction. Memphis was a tinder box of racial tensions as the population of Rebels, Yankees, Freedmen, and Irish Immigrants clashed on the streets. After the massive catastrophe of the Civil War the City of Memphis, along with the South, had a long road ahead to repair the damage. Stephen Ash did an admirable job in reconstructing the ...more
Edgar Raines
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stephen V. Ash’s A Massacre in Memphis is a brilliant social history of the city in the year following the Civil War. Ash examines in detail the conditions and outlook of four social groups who he identifies as “Yankee Memphis,” “Rebel Memphis,” “Irish Memphis,” and “Black Memphis.”

Yankee Memphis included the small contingent of the 16th Infantry stationed in the city (four under strength companies totaling 180 men), representatives of the Freedman’s Bureau, various Northern ministers and teach
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Larry
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: race-slavery
This is a very interesting and rather unique "history" book. In many ways, it reads more like a non-fiction crime case than a civil war reconstruction or black civil rights book. At times, I half expected Sherlock Holmes to go into a litany of how the butler couldn't have done the crime. Moreover, while the book is marketed primarily as a civil war or civil rights history, it is also very much a case study of mob rule. In short, it is much more complex and thorough than I was expecting. The auth ...more
Curtis Finn
Sep 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I found it hard to believe I had lived in Memphis for more than 25 years and had no knowledge of this event. Shortly after the end of the Civil War the various constituencies in Memphis (who knew there was a large Irish immigrant population?), experienced increasing tensions which resulted in a "riot". (Finish the book and you will know why I used quote marks for the term riot.) It turns out this event was fundamental in the formulation of most of the Reconstructionist policies which were implem ...more
Paul Lunger
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a Civil War buff and as well as one of the period of Reconstruction, I was very surprised to come across Stephen V. Ash's "A Massacre in Memphis: The Race Riot That Shook the Nation One Year After the Civil War" since it brought to life a period in May 1866 that has at times been brushed under the radar in the events just after the war. Ash sets the scene as to what exactly life was like in Memphis among the various groups that were there & sets the stage for the events of May 1-3, 1866 which ...more
Gary
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A little known, but well documented event that shows how things were in the South after the Civil War. Most of the riots occurred very close to what is now the Lorraine Motel (Civil Rights Museum) where MLK was assassinated about 100 years later.
Bill Sleeman
A fine study of a little known mass murder of newly freed Blacks by unrepentant rebels.
Mallory
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having grown up in Memphis and not heard of the "Memphis Massacre" before this book, I found it a good overview of the general sentiment of the white Irish, the freedmen sympathizers, the Memphis Blacks, and the rebels and the culmination of underlying hate and fury that burst into a bloody riot.

For those interested in:
Memphis history
Tennessee history
Civil war
Southern history
Reconstruction
Civil Rights
Jackson
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
offered very interesting insight on a historical event that i didn't even know occurred. it also showed how tense racial relations were right after the civil war ended, and i could definitely see a few parallels between America then and America now. a decent, quick read if you have the love for history and unknown events.
Chris
Dec 20, 2015 rated it liked it
A real mess of a book. The tense changes halfway through the book in an effort to "excite" things and then just as abruptly switches back. The book contains no real characters for the reader to anchor to.
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