Community meeting 7 p.m. Wed. Oct 24 at the American Legion Raymond Stafford Post 513, 1250 Narrow St. Thibodaux 


WHO: Descendants of Thibodaux Massacre victims and public at large.
WHAT: Will receive results of preliminary scientific examination of ground believed to be mass grave of 1887 racial atrocity.
WHEN: Wed. Oct. 24, 7:00 pm
WHERE: Raymond Stafford American Legion Post 513, 1250 Narrow St., Thibodaux, La.
In May of this year scientists from Tulane University and the University of Louisiana Lafayette used ground-penetrating radar and hand-coring of land adjacent to American Legion Post 513 to determine whether victims of the Thibodaux Massacre are buried there.
They have prepared a report detailing the findings of that exploration, with recommendations for further work at the site.
On Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. Davette Gadison, a Tulane doctoral candidate working on the project, will answer questions about the preliminary findings to aid the community in determining what steps should now be taken, after a presentation of findings.
The report notes the existence of an area of anomaly determined by the instruments, worthy of further exploration.
On Nov. 23, 1887 armed white mobs stormed neighborhoods in Thibodaux in response to a month-long strike of sugar cane workers. The town had become a refugee center for strikers evicted from plantations in Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes. An undetermined number of black people were killed during the day-long attack, with historians estimating the number at anywhere from 30 to 60 all told.
The Louisiana 1887 Memorial Committee was established in 2016 as a multi-racial body whose mission is verification, if possible, of the burial site. Its advisory board includes descendants of the few massacre victims who have been historically documented, as well as individuals with close ties to plantation-owning families from that time. “Although the scientific work has thus far not resulted in confirmation of the burial site, the report provides encouragement for continued exploration,” said John DeSantis, author of the book “The Thibodaux Massacre: Racial Violence and the 1887 Sugar Cane Labor Strike” and founder of the non-profit Louisiana 1887 Memorial Committee. The committee is working with local clergy and government officials to ensure that if
remains are located they will be identified to what extent possible using appropriate technology and laid to rest in dignified, appropriate graves following a multi-faith public memorial service. Black and white community members have joined together for this common purpose.
Interview opportunities with victim family members and Ms. Gadison can be pre- arranged, and all will be available both before and after the presentation.


In 1887, sugar cane workers in south Louisiana stood up against those who would have kept them as slaves years after emancipation. Their story began as one of hope and empowerment. It ended in tragedy.  Between 30 and 60 black people were shot down in the city of Thibodaux by vigilantes. Some were dumped into a mass grave. We are a 501c3 corporation seeking to recover those remains so that they can be properly and reverently buried in caskets, in sacred ground. We are networked with descendants of the dead, local churches and the University of Louisiana Lafayette, whose Public Archeology Lab will do the work as soon as we give them the funds to pay for it. Click here to donate:

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Louisiana: The State We're In 

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