The New York Times, August 28, The Massacre That Emboldened White Supremacy
As Americans debate the merit of tearing down monuments to founding fathers, a monument to the men who massacred Black Americans in Colfax 147 years ago stands unopposed and largely unnoticed. Two blocks off Main Street, a 12-foot marble obelisk is the focal point of the Colfax cemetery. An inscription carved into its base declares it was “erected to the memory of the heroes” who “fell in the Colfax Riot fighting for white supremacy.” On the north side of the present-day courthouse, a historical marker reads, “On this site occurred the Colfax Riot in which three white men and 150 negroes were slain” and added that the episode “marked the end of carpetbag misrule in the South.”
These memorials to the perpetrators of mass murder are disturbing enough in their own right. But the impact of the Colfax massacre extended far beyond this flyspeck town. The damage is still felt acutely throughout our entire nation, and the tragedy must not be forgotten.