Friday, May 30, 2014

Night Riders

A sad and disgusting chapter of American history. From History Today:
As was common among the upper-middle classes in the South at the time, Amoss had been sent as a boy to a military school, where he learned the basics of drill, strategy and tactics, lessons that would be put to good use as the conspiratorial Night Riders emerged as an underground sect within the Association that would perform the ugly work of persuasion. Secret night-time meetings were held throughout the Black Patch, with the Night Riders’ underlying purpose delivered by Amoss in firmly Jacobin terminology:
To burn or otherwise destroy the property of growers and to whip them and others who refuse to co-operate with you in winning your fight against the Trust is more than they deserve. There is no reason why a few persons should continue to make the masses suffer when their cooperation would not only be to their benefit, but would increase the earnings and thus improve the conditions of all equally.
The Night Riders’ oath, sworn by lantern light on bended knees and with one hand on the Bible, was couched in scriptural references to the paramount importance of being one’s brother’s keeper (willingly or not) and to the equally supreme necessity of total secrecy. By the spring of 1906 around 2,000 men had taken the oath and, orders in hand, spread out into the countryside to do their work. (Read more.)

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