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Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Seizing - Riot in the Streets

Well, not exactly. On April 11, 1863, the women of Columbus, GA, and I mean the regular women of Columbus, hit the streets in protest. The south was a couple of years into the war between the states and consumables were in short supply. Three factors for the riot were (1) a food shortage because of a drought the previous year. (2) Speculators insisted on growing cotton in place of consumables to support the Confederacy. (3) The dry goods retailers (speculators) were bringing in luxury items for the well-to-do of the city and forgetting about the little guy. Next to the article about the riot in "The Sun", the local Columbus newspaper, were ads for fancy tea sets and fine china. Just what 1863 housewives needed to care for their families. I posted the installation of the historic marker here.
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Today, to support Artbeat 2013 in Columbus, four performers presented intrepetive readings about the incident not far from the original riot site. The gentleman at the microphone is reading the actual newspaper account of the incident from the "The Sun" newspaper. At the end of the article, they blame the governer of GA for the sad state of affairs. We also have the Head Housewife, Shanghai Jack, and the Sailor.
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The women (estimates are between 75 and 85, althought the historic marker says 65) gathered on Broad Street, brandishing pistols and knives as they made their way to Norris' Dry Goods store and others along the route 'seizing' goods as they went. Note: Columbus was not the only city where the women staged riots.
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A vagabond by the name of Shanghai Jack (not sure if I got his name right) and a sailor heading to the dry goods store were witnesses to the goings on. Shanghai Jack egged the women on. Interestingly, he was the only one to get arrested that day for inciting a riot. None of the women were arrested.
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5 comments:

Lowell said...

The power of women should never be underestimated. Historically, women have had to fight for a lot of things, including the right to vote and there were some tough battles. They're not over yet as it seems more and more states are passing laws denying women basic rights.

I remember when Lois was teaching in the 90s...mostly black kids. She told them that a black man would be president before a white woman. They all laughed and said she was crazy.

Not so crazy!

longbeachpeninsuladailyphoto said...

What a fascinating slice of history! I'd never heard about women rioting during the Civil War. The pictures are wonderful too. I learned something new today--thanks for that!

Hilda said...

Very interesting. First time I've heard of this riot, and I don't blame the women at all. In fact, if I lived in that time and place, I'd probably have joined them.

cieldequimper said...

Very interesting and so good that it is remembered in such a lively way!

RamblingRound said...

Sounds the women were looking after their families in a powerful way! :) I had never heard about this riot. Very interesting history.