After the success of the all-white Southern Farmers’ Alliance, a group that organized white farmers and farm workers in numbers that grew to about 80,000 by 1890 in Mississippi, the Colored Farmers’ Alliance formed to create an organization for black farmers and farm workers, who weren’t allowed membership in the Southern Farmers’ Alliance. In Leflore County, the Colored Farmers’ Alliance was organized by Oliver Cromwell, who set up several branches there and gained support of black farmers and laborers. 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. At the request of the local sheriff, three troops of national guard went to Leflore County, where they arrested dozens of the Colored Farmers’ Alliance’s black supporters. A white “posse” gathered and continued to hunt down others after the sheriff dismissed the national guardsmen. Many white newspapers downplayed the events, claiming no one was killed, but many other reports, particularly in the black press, recount greater violence, claiming that at least six Colored Farmers’ Alliance organizers were killed, including Adolph Horton, Jack Dial, J.M. Dial, and Scott Morris. Some accounts described as many as 100 black people killed, including men, women, and children. There were no accounts of white people being injured or killed.
“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”