July 8 - 1876 - The Hamburg Massacre
Reconstruction was supposed to be the thing that brought the country together after the Civil War and established political and civil rights for newly freed slaves. Overall, it was a mixed bag, as political animosity made certain reforms completely unworkable, but Reconstruction also allowed for all-black communities like Hamburg, South Carolina to flourish. By 1876, though, Reconstruction was falling apart, and in Hamburg on Independence Day two white planters in a carriage accosted a marching drill of a black National Guard regiment. When the National Guard did not allow the planters to pass, the white men sought legal recourse. Somehow, that led to an armed mob of one hundred men going to Hamburg four days later. Attacking the armory, containing most of the National Guard troops, they managed to haul out a handful of men. Creating a "death circle," the white mob then summarily executed four people. In other gunfire, another black Hamburg resident and one member of the white mob were killed. Although the men involved were indicted for murder, nothing came of it and the Hamburg massacre set the tone for the 1876 South Carolina Gubernatorial Election and state politics for the rest of the century.