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White Caps


WHITE CAPS were vigilante organizations arising in Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico in the late nineteenth century. Using the night-riding, terrorist tactics of the Ku Klux Klan of the Reconstruction era, white farmers in southwestern Mississippi and the Florida parishes of Louisiana tried to drive black tenant farmers and lumber mill laborers from the area. Intervention from Governor Stone and some lengthy prison sentences crushed the movement in Mississippi in the mid-1890s, but Louisiana whitecapping turned into a feud that lasted well into the twentieth century. In New Mexico, Mexican American ranchers organized themselves as Las Gorras Blancas in 1888 to intimidate Anglo ranchers and business owners who fenced in what had been common grazing land.


Bond, Bradley G. Political Culture in the Nineteenth-Century South. Mississippi, 1830–1900. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1995.

Hyde, Samuel C., Jr. Pistols and Politics: The Dilemma of Democracy in Louisiana's Florida Parishes, 1810–1899. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1996.

White, Richard. "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own": A New History of the American West. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.

Cynthia R.Poe


See alsoFencing and Fencing Laws ; Mississippi ; Poor Whites ; Populism ; Vigilantes .

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