Our series on Laurens County, SC, during Reconstruction continues, concerning black militias in the 1870 election.
Joe Crews "was the moving spirit behind the organization of a Negro militia troop in Laurens. . . . After organizing the unit, he assumed active command and in so doing became a target for the bitter hatred of the local Conservatives." Black militia units were organized to uphold the Republican government and in response to Negro demands for protection against the white harassment of the late 1860's in the Upstate.
|A postbellum SC Black militia (Source: |
The carpetbagger South Carolina Governor Robert K . Scott of Pennsylvania had armed the Negro troops as the 1870 election came around. Scott was a bluecoat colonel during the war, and former assistant commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau. Five or six companies of negro militia were stationed in Laurens County. They themselves terrified whites and