Oliver Cromwell was a primary organizer and leader of the Colored Farmers’ Alliance in Leflore County, MS. The Colored Farmers’ Alliance formed to create an organization for black farmers and farm workers who weren’t allowed membership in the whites-only Southern Farmers’ Alliance. In September 1889, a group of whites in Leflore County retaliated against what they saw as a threat to white businesses by black economic independence, threatening Cromwell, whose supporters responded by organizing a march. A 75 black men who stood up to the threats and vowed to protect Cromwell if he were attacked. There were reportedly 3,000 men ready to defend Cromwell. The sheriff, national guard, and white posse members hunted down black people in Leflore County that were purported to be associated with the Colored Farmers’ Alliance. Although Cromwell escaped and eventually fled the state, as many as 100 black men, women, and children were killed in what is known as the Leflore County Massacre.
“The Leflore County Massacre and the Demise of the Colored Farmer’s Alliance,” William F. Holmes, Phylon (1960-) Vol. 34, No. 3 (3rd Qtr., 1973), pp. 267-274
“Farmers’ Alliance and Colored Farmers’ Alliance”
“My Ancestor Died in the Leflore County Massacre”