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“H” is for Hamburg Massacre (July 8, 1876).

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South Carolina from A to Z: “H” is for Hamburg Massacre (July 8, 1876)

“H” is for Hamburg Massacre (July 8, 1876). Hamburg, a largely African American village near the Savannah River, lay astride the route from Augusta to Aiken. On July 4th, two whites were apparently stopped by an African American militia unit. They complained white officials in Edgefield who filed suit in Hamburg with a hearing was set for July 8th. Matthew C. Butler, an Edgefield attorney, arrived in Hamburg with scores of armed whites. The black militiamen barricaded themselves in a brick warehouse. Soon a crowd of more than two hundred whites surrounded the building and firing erupted with deaths on both sides. Some thirty or forty African Americans were captured and six were summarily executed. The bloody racial clash known as the Hamburg Massacre was a turning point in the 1876 gubernatorial election.

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