Black History Month Spotlight: Phoenix Election Riot

Submitted by Jahmoni Bartee Intern at the Office of Inclusive, Diversity, Equity, Access, and Accountability
February 22, 2021 - 2:42 pm
Notable event in Black History, Phoenix Election Riot.

The Phoenix Election Riot occurred on November 8, 1898, near Greenwood County, South Carolina. It began after the increasing tension between the Republican and Democratic parties. Local Democrats attempted to stop a Republican election official from taking the affidavits of African Americans who had been denied the right to vote. 

African Americans were encouraged to vote by white landowner Thomas Tolbert. Tolbert saw the disenfranchisement African Americans experienced, telling African Americans to fill out affidavits if they were prevented from voting. As African Americans turned in their affidavits, a mob of democrats terrorized and attacked them. Twelve African Americans died while hundreds were injured by the mob. The altercation caused four days of rioting against the Black population of Phoenix.