List of expulsions of African Americans

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

African Americans have been violently expelled from at least 50 towns, cities, and counties in the United States. Most of these expulsions occurred in the 60 years following the American Civil War but continued until 1954. The justifications for the expulsions varied but often involved a crime committed by White Americans, labor-related issues, or property takeovers.[1][2]


19th century[edit]

Date Location Notes
1831 Portsmouth, Ohio All 80 Black residents were expelled under Ohio’s discriminatory "Black Laws."[3]
1870s - 1940s Wyandotte, Michigan African Americans were expelled from Wyandotte on multiple occasions.[4]
April 13, 1873 Pollock, Louisiana

The small black population of Pollock left the town after the massacre of more than 100 blacks in nearby Colfax.

November 1, 1878 Celina, Tennessee Celina's black population left on November 1, 1878 after being subject to a series of violent actions over the course of several months.[5]
1886 Comanche County, Texas White residents expelled blacks from Comanche County because of alleged crimes committed by black men.[6]
1888–1908 Paragould, Arkansas A number of race riots occurred in Paragould between 1888 and 1908, resulting in most of the town's 150 black residents leaving.[7]
1892 Lexington, Oklahoma [8]
1893 Blackwell, Oklahoma [8]
June 20, 1894 Monett, Missouri Monett's black population was expelled after the lynching of a black man who killed a white man during a fight. The Monett expulsion was the first of number of violent expulsions in Southwestern Missouri between 1894 and 1906.[9]
1896 Linton, Indiana 300 black strikebreakers were expelled from the coal mining town of Linton after one of the strikebreakers shot a white boy. Eventually blacks were banned from living in all of Greene County.[10]
August 27, 1897 Elwood, Indiana [11]
November 10, 1898 Wilmington, North Carolina

A coup d'état and a massacre which was carried out by white supremacists in Wilmington, North Carolina, United States, on Thursday, November 10, 1898. The white press in Wilmington originally described the event as a race riot caused by black people. Since the late 20th century and further study, the event has been characterized as a violent overthrow of a duly elected government by a group of white supremacists.

The number of Black people killed by the mob by the end of the day (November 10) is uncertain. Estimates have included "about 20", "more than twenty", "twenty or more", "somewhere between fourteen and sixty", "as many as 60", "at least sixty", "90",, "more than one hundred", and "exceeded 300".. An additional number, variously estimated between 20 and 50, were banished and ordered to leave town by the mob.

Along with Alex and Frank G. Manly, brothers who had owned the Daily Record (one of the few black newspapers in the state and reportedly the only black daily newspaper in the country), more than 2,000 blacks left Wilmington permanently, forced to abandon their businesses and properties. This greatly reduced the city's professional and artisan class, and changed the formerly black-majority city into one with a white majority.

April 10, 1899 Pana, Illinois

Gun battle between striking white miners and strikebreaker black miners results in the deaths of five blacks and two whites as well as the expulsion of Pana's black population.

September 17, 1899 Carterville, Illinois A violent shootout occurred between striking white miners and non-union black miners who were brought into Carterville as strikebreakers. Five black miners are killed. All the surviving black miners left Carterville shortly after the riot.[12]

20th century[edit]

Date Location Notes
February 20, 1901 Mena, Arkansas Most of Mena's black population left the town after a black man named Peter Berryman was lynched for allegedly assaulting a white girl.[13]
August 18, 1901 Pierce City, Missouri

300 black residents were expelled after white residents lynched three black men for allegedly killing a white woman.

June 1902 Decatur, Indiana A mob of 50 men forced black residents out of Decatur.[14]
April 16, 1903 Joplin, Missouri White residents drove out Joplin's black residents following the lynching of a black transient for the murder of a white policeman.[15]
July 9, 1903 Sour Lake, Texas A mob of 500 white men opened fire on blacks and chased them out of Sour Lake after a brakeman was shot dead by a black man.[16]
October 1905 and January 1909 Harrison, Arkansas Race riots in 1905 and 1909 resulted in the expulsion of Harrison's black residents.[17]
August 24, 1906 Cotter, Arkansas [18]
1908 Marshall County, Kentucky Whites led by a local doctor drove out blacks from the now extinct city of Birmingham and most of the rest of Marshall County.[2]
November 1909 Anna and Jonesboro, Illinois Whites expelled Anna and Jonesboro's 40 black families after the lynching of William "Froggie" James in nearby Cairo.[4]
September 1912 Forsyth County, Georgia

98% of Forsyth County's 1,000 black residents were expelled after two alleged attacks on white women allegedly committed by black men.

July 1917 East St. Louis, Illinois

The East St. Louis riots or East St. Louis massacres, of late May and July 1–3, 1917, were an outbreak of labor- and race-related violence by whites that caused the death of 40–250 black people and about $400,000 (over $8 million, in 2017 US dollars) in property damage. An estimated 6,000 black people were left homeless.

Fall 1919 Corbin, Kentucky 200 black workers were forced to leave Corbin during a labor dispute.[19]
November 2–3, 1920 Ocoee, Florida

Ocoee's black community was burned to the ground and nearly all of its 500 residents killed or expelled by whites after black men killed two whites in self defense. At least 56 blacks were killed during the massacre.

May 31, 1921 Tulsa, Oklahoma

As many as 300 black people were killed and 10,000 left homeless after whites attacked and destroyed the Greenwood district of Tulsa, known as "Black Wall Street".

1922 Jay, Florida 175 Black residents fled the town after a death of a white farmer who was shot by a black farmer in self-defense.[20][21]
January 1923 Rosewood, Florida

Whites attacked and completely burned down the black Levy County town of Rosewood after a black man allegedly raped a white woman. At least 8 people and perhaps as many as 150 people were killed.

1923 Blanford, Indiana Ku Klux Klan-led expulsion.[2]
January 3, 1924 Manhattan Beach, California The Manhattan Beach City Council passed ordinance 263, claiming eminent domain for a public park, in order to take properties owned by black residents and eliminate the African American resort, Bruce's Beach.[22]
1954 Vienna, Illinois White residents burned down all the black homes of Vienna and nearby areas outside city limits. The expulsion was sparked by the murder of an elderly white woman and the attempted rape of her teenage granddaughter by two black men.[1]
1954 Sheridan, Arkansas Following the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and a reversed decision of the school board to integrate the schools, local sawmill owner Jack Williams threatened to burn down the homes of all his black employees unless they accepted a buyout offer and relocated to Malvern.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Loewen, James (2005). Sundown Towns (PDF). New York: New Press. ISBN 156584887X.
  2. ^ a b c Jaspin, Elliot. "Leave or die: America's hidden history of racial expulsions". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  3. ^ Feight, rew; Ph.D. ""Black Friday": Enforcing Ohio's "Black Laws" in Portsmouth, Ohio - The Origins of the African-American Community of Huston Hollow". Scioto Historical. Retrieved 2022-01-30.
  4. ^ a b Wexler, Laura. "Darkness on the Edge of Town". Washington Post. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  5. ^ "TENNESSEE NEGROES DRIVEN FROM THEIR HOMES". The Evening Star. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  6. ^ "Clipping from Belmont Chronicle". Belmont Chronicle. St. Clairsville, Ohio. August 5, 1886. p. 1 – via
  7. ^ "Paragould Race Riots". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture Archived 2011-08-05 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Rucker, Walter; Upton, James Nathaniel, eds. (2007). "Southwest Missouri Riots (1894–1906)". Encyclopedia of American Race Riots. Vol. 2. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 603–607. ISBN 978-0-313-33302-6 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ "One Place on Earth too Hot for a Negro". The Richmond Climax. Richmond, Kentucky. August 5, 1903. p. 2 – via Chronicling America.
  11. ^ "Race Troubles in Indiana". The Evening Times. Washington, D.C. August 27, 1897. p. 5 – via Chronicling America.
  12. ^ "Bloodshed at Carterville". Carbondale Free Press. September 23, 1899. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
  13. ^ "Peter Berryman (Lynching of)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved April 1, 2019.
  14. ^ "NEGROES DRIVEN AWAY.; The Last One Leaves Decatur, Ind., Owing to Threats Made". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  15. ^ "LYNCHING OF A COLORED MAN IN JOPLIN, MISSOURI". Las Animas Leader. April 16, 1903. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  16. ^ "Race War in Texas: Negroes Are Being Driven From Sour Lake". The Times-Democrat. New Orleans, Louisiana. July 10, 1903. p. 9 – via
  17. ^ "Harrison Race Riots of 1905 and 1909". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  18. ^ "Cotter Expulsion of 1906". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  19. ^ "Kentucky Town Re-Examines Its Racial History". NPR. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  20. ^ Little, Jim (February 20, 2023). "A fight over a stalk cutter in 1922 turned into a mass exodus of Black residents of Jay". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 30 March 2023.
  21. ^ Little, Jim (February 20, 2023). "Two Florida cities, two paths: Former 'sundown towns' grapple with their pasts". Pensacola News Journal. Retrieved 30 March 2023.
  22. ^ Xia, Rosanna (2020-08-02). "Manhattan Beach was once home to Black beachgoers, but the city ran them out. Now it faces a reckoning". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-08-02.