The Thibodaux Massacre was a racial attack by local whites against blacks in Thibodaux, Louisiana in November of 1887.

It all began when the Knight of Labor (K of L), one of the largest and important American labor organization of the 1880’s were informed of the mistreatment and underpaid workers on sugar plantations in Thibodaux. The major issue on the sugar plantations were, the workers were begin force by the plantation owners to accept scrip for pay instead of currency, and the scrip were only redeemable at the owners store. Most of the workers were black and even through slavery had been abolished by this time over twenty years the black workers found themselves still in a form of slavery as they worked on these plantations.

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In October, about a month before the strike the Knight of Labor (K of L) made demands to the plantation owners to increase the sugar cane workers wages to $1.25 a day, bi-weekly payments and demanded they pay their works in currency and not in scrip. After the plantation owners ignored all of Knight of Labor(K of L) demands a strike was called. The strike threatened the sugar cane harvest for that year. The plantation owners seek help from the Governor Samuel Douglas McEnery, who was also a sugar cane planter and the Governor called in the Militia.

On the morning the November 22, most of the sugar plantation workers along with the Knight of Labor(K of L) began their strike against the owners and their regulations. The militia attacked the strikers and the attack lasted three days. Although the number of casualties is unknown, at least 35 whites were killed and as many as 300 blacks were said to be killed, wounded or missing.

 

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