Historic Markers Across Tennessee

1866 Memphis Massacre

Marker ID:  
Location: 161 G.E. Patterson Avenue, Memphis, TN
County: Shelby
Coordinates: N 35° 7.972    W 090° 3.399
  35.13286666    -90.05665
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: None


1866 Memphis Massacre

On May 1, 2 and 3, 1866, mobs of white men led by law enforcement attacked black people in the areas near South St. (aka Calhoun & G.E. Patterson). By the end of the attack, the mobs had killed an estimated 46 black people; raped several black women; and committed numerous robberies, assaults and arsons. A congressional investigative committee reported that four churches, twelve schools and 91 other dwellings were burned. Although no one was ever prosecuted for this massacre, it became a rallying cry in the battle over the nation’s reconstruction following the Civil War. Ultimately, the outrage that followed the massacre helped to ensure the adoption of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Sponsored by the Memphis NAACP and the National Park Service - 2016