May 3, 1866: Memphis Riots


Freedmen’s School burning during the Memphis Riots of 1866.

From May 1-3 in 1866, white civilians and police killed 46 African-Americans and injured many more while burning houses, schools, and churches in Memphis, Tenn. No criminal proceedings were held for the instigators or perpetrators of atrocities committed during the Memphis Riots.

This is one of many key stories from the Reconstruction era of the United States history included in these resources for teaching outside the textbook about Reconstruction from the Zinn Education Project website.

Learn about the Memphis Riots from



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