|Date(s):||July 6, 1867|
|Tag(s):||The Colored League, Franklin|
|Course:||“Civil War and Reconstruction,” Juniata College|
|Rating:||4 (3 votes)|
In July of 1867, African-Americans began their gradual assimilation into the United States in Tennessee. A large number of black Tennesseans joined The Colored League which advocated for civil rights and strongly supported the Republican Party. In Franklin, Tennessee, the League had a strong presence. In early July, African-American members of this group paraded around the outskirts of town where they were interrupted by two other ex-slaves who were Conservatives, a group that were willingly to grant Confederates amnesty following the Civil War. This group mainly consisted of Confederates. The Colored League was a radical group and pursued harsh measures against ex-Confederates. Tempers flared when the two men and the League came into contact. Shots were fired. Although no one was hurt the demonstration was broken up.
After a meeting to resolve the conflict on July 6 failed, the two groups armed themselves as anger boiled over as a result of arguments stated in the political discussion. Ex-Confederates of the Conservative Party armed themselves to the teeth and prepared for battle. Similar action was taken by the League. Late in the evening, The Colored League marched past these former soldiers who were assembled outside their leader's house (Colonel House). In a report written afterwards by Major General W. Martin, he alleges a shot was first fired by a Conservative. With this, three pistols shoots were fired at Conservatives which resulted in "a volley from the entire Conservative Party and that was returned by the armed men of the Colored League." Martin did not state the total number of men killed on either side but remarked that men on both sides fell in the shooting. Later on, Martin reported, "27 colored men colored men whose wounds were dressed by Dr. D.B.Cliff were wounded in the back or in the back part of the limbs" as they were running away from the members of the Conservative Party. This suggests the superior fire power of the former Confederates and the racial tension between the two groups which was typical for the Reconstruction time period. Poverty and the losing of the Civil War created resentment of freed slaves by many Southerners. In Colfax, Louisiana, 130 blacks were killed in riot between whites and African-Americans in 1873. The Civil War was over but the African-American fight for civil rights had begun.
Plans for Reconstruction in Tennessee began on January 21, 1864 in Nashville, Tennessee. With the state's occupation by Union troops, northern supporters began advocating for the restoration of Tennessee to the United States. This aroused tension at this, principally because there were prominent Confederates within its borders. This prevented the unification of Tennessee both as a state and as part of the U.S. Three years later, at the end of the Civil War, there still was a drastic division between the political ideologies of people within Tennessee.