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W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library Manuscript Collections

Guide to the Dan Price letter mss.3713

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Publication:

University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 35487-0266
205.348.0500
archives@ua.edu

June 2013

Creation:

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2013-06-07T14:59-0500

Language Usage:

English

Description Rules:

Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Collection Title:

Dan Price letter

Unit ID:

mss.3713

Repository:

University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Quantity:

0.05 Linear feet (letter)

Dates:

1868 December 21

Abstract:

Letter from Dan Price, a white Alabaman who taught freed African-American students, to his Congressman, Charles Wilson Pierce, about the vicious activities of the Ku Klux Klan in Sumter County, Alabama, in 1868.

creator

Price, Dan

Processing Information:

Processed by

Martha Bace, 2013

Acquisition Information:

purchased from Stuart Lutz Historic Documents, Inc., 2013

Usage Restrictions:

None

Access Restrictions:

None

Biographical/Historical note

Dan Price was a white Republican who taught in African-American schools during the Reconstruction era in Alabama. His situation became so bad in Livingston and Sumter County that he moved to Meridian, Mississippi, taking many freemen (and thus, much of the cheap farm labor) with him. Local white farmers deputized a former slave, Adam Kennard, and sent him to retrieve the freemen. In 1871, Kennard was captured near Meridian and whipped by masked men. Kennard said that Price was the leader of the group who attacked him. The local paper labeled Price the "Grand Cyclops of the negro Ku Klux Klan." Since Price was in disguise when he attacked Kennard, he was prosecuted under the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that prevented acts of violence while in disguise (ostensibly an anti-Klan measure). Ironically, Price was the first person prosecuted under the anti-KKK law, but even before his trial, there was controversy; African-Americans were unhappy that no real Klansmen had yet been tried for their violent acts while in disguise. Because of ongoing threats of violence, Meridian prosecutors agreed to drop the charges if Price agreed to leave the city. A suspicious fire broke out in Meridian and mobs patrolled the streets. There was actual shooting during a trial and the local Klan killed man freemen. It is believed that thirty people died in the riots. No one was ever charged with the deaths in what was the most infamous of all mass Klan activity in Reconstruction Mississippi.

Scope and Contents note

The collection contains a letter from Dan Price, a white Alabaman who taught freed African-American students, to his Congressman, Charles Wilson Pierce, about the vicious activities of the Ku Klux Klan in Sumter County, Alabama. Price describes - in horrific detail - the attacks by the Ku Klux Klan on 5th and 7th of December in 1868 against a doctor in Sumter County, Alabama. According to Price, the doctor's only 'crime' was that he was a 'radical' (i.e., a Unionist Republican). After assaulting the doctor's mother-in-law and son (the doctor, his wife and two children having escaped), the Klan set fire to the house. Price explains to Pierce that the doctor lost everything except the clothes on his back and pleads with Pierce to find some sort of employment for the doctor as a loyal Unionist - over Democrats.

Preferred Citation:

Dan Price letter, University Libraries Division of Special Collections, The University of Alabama

Source(s)

Ku Klux Klan (19th century). (Library_of_Congress_Name_Authority_File)

African Americans (localbroad)

Civil Rights and Human Rights (localbroad)

Ku Klux Klan (19th cent.)--History (lcsh)

Southern Life and Culture (localbroad)

Letter Box SC0088 Folder 3713.01