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Memorial of a committee appointed at a meeting of Colored citizens of Frankfort, Ky., and vicinity, praying the enactment of law for the better protection of life.

1871 Memorial.1.pdf

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42nd Congress SENATE Mis Doc

1st Session No. 49





The enactment of laws for the better protection of life.

APRIL 11, 1871.—Ordered to lie on the table and be printed.

To the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress assembled:

We, the colored citizens of Frankfort and vicinity, do this day memorialize your honorable bodies upon the condition of affairs now existing in the State of Kentucky. We would respectfully state that life, liberty, and property are unprotected among the colored race of this State. Organized bands of desperate and lawless men, mainly composed of soldiers of the late rebel armies, armed, disciplined, and disguised, and bound by oath and secret obligations, have, by force, terror, and violence, subverted all civil society among colored people, thus utterly rendering insecure the safety of persons and property, overthrowing all those rights which are the primary basis and objects of Government, which are expressly guaranteed to us by the Constitution of the United States as amended. We believe you are not familiar with the description of the Ku-Klux Klans riding nightly over the country, going from county to county, and in the county towns, spreading terror wherever they go by robbing, whipping, ravishing, and killing our people without provocation, compelling colored people to break the ice and bathe in the chilly waters of the Kentucky River.

The legislature has adjourned. They refused to enact any laws to suppress Ku-Klux disorder. We regard them as now being licensed to continue their dark and bloody deeds under cover of the dark night. They refuse to allow us to testify in the State courts where a white man is concerned. We find their deeds are perpetrated only upon colored men and white republicans. We also find that for our services to the Government and our race we have become the special object of hatred and persecution at the hands of the democratic party. Our people are driven from their homes in great numbers, having no redress only the United States court, which is in many cases unable to reach them.

We would state that we have been law-abiding citizens, pay our taxes, and in many parts of the State our people have been driven from the polls, refused the right to vote; many have been slaughtered while attempting to vote. We ask, how long is this state of things to last?

We appeal to you as law-abiding citizens to enact some laws that will

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