Racial Unrest in New Orleans
Racial Unrest in New Orleans

Transcript

NARRATOR: While Kate Chopin was content to spend her time observing life in New Orleans, her husband was involved in politics. Many citizens of Louisiana felt threatened by the new power of republicans---mostly blacks and whites from the North after the Civil War. So they founded an organization called the Crescent City White League.

The group was led by blue bloods who were members of the most elite social organization in New Orleans, the Boston Club. Oscar was a member of the group, and in 1874 his company staged the battle of Canal Street and occupied the state house. They also overthrew the reconstruction governor�and believed they had destroyed reconstruction rule.

SOUNDBITE: Charles Vincent/Southern University
The governor and other elected officials were not permitted to conduct the state's business and in other areas of the state, elected officials were forced to resign or at least frightened out of their positions of responsibility and indeed some of them out of the state. A number of blacks were actually lynched.

NARRATOR: Federal troops arrived in New Orleans within a few weeks and restored the reconstruction government. However, a lot of damage had already been done. Thousands of African-Americans had been prevented from voting. And, hundreds had been forced to vote for people they opposed. As a teenager, Kate also had shown fervor for politics.

SOUNDBITE: David Chopin/Kate's Grandson
The story goes that during the Civil War the sympathies were for the South and she went out one time and tore down an American flag that was on the porch. I don't know if she was going to replace it with a Confederate flag or not. But, she got into a lot of hot water because of that. She was that kind person.

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