During Reconstruction, life was tense for everyone in Texas, and dangerous for African Americans. Local governments parceled off plantations. Railroad lines carved up the landscape. In Cedar Creek, after General Granger’s troops arrived to enforce Lincoln’s proclamation in Texas, some forty black men formed the Negro Loyal League. Its purpose was to protect the fragile status of the African-American community. Every Saturday night, the men met at the Cedar Creek Store and performed drills up and down the road, carrying whatever weapons, including sticks and rocks, they could get their hands on.
One evening as Mack was on his way to a league meeting, Peter Murchison, Mack’s white cousin through his marriage to Martha, stopped him on a bridge, pointed a gun at his chest, and refused to let him pass. Peter and Mack had been friends for many years, but that evening, Mack, like every other black man in town, was seen as a threat to the white stronghold. The South had lost the war, and now there were thousands of freed slaves everywhere, all of them trying to live the same way white people had thought was exclusively theirs. White Americans were enraged that in 1868 the Fourteenth Amendment granted black people the right to call themselves Americans, too, and that after the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified in 1870, black men could join white men at the voting polls.
Though Mack missed that league meeting, he vowed he would not miss another.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish