Sat 3 Mar, 2012 01:46 pm
COFFEYVILLE, Kan., December 10, 1927- In March, 1927, Texas Negroes won a court victory over the "White Primary."
The same month, Negroes in Coffeyville, Kansas won a different kind of victory. They successfully defended their section of the city from invasion by a white mob.
The whites had threatened to burn down the Negro section when their attempt to lynch a Negro had failed. The Negro Curtis Smith, was suspected of having attacked two white girls. He was being held at the City Hall jail by police, who refused to surrender him. Tear gas was used to drive the whites away, but not before they broke every window in City Hall.
Having been denied their lynch victim and angered by the use of gas, the mob turned on the Negro section for revenge.
The colored population was awaiting the attack. Armed with rifles, pistols and bayonets, they marched in military formation to meet the enemy. Opening fire from previously dug trenches, the Negroes wounded two and drove off a mob of 1,500 armed whites.
Troop B, Kansas National Guard Unit, soon arrived to restore order. The mob returned, however after breaking into hardware stores for more guns and ammunition.
Fighting continued throughout the day. Major E.T. Patterson of the Kansas Guard declared the City of Coffeyville under military rule and imposed a nine p.m. curfew.
Curtis Smith, the mob's intended lynch victim, was freed after the girls were unable to identify him.
During the military occupation, several Negro leaders protested against the military's search procedures. Some Negroes, they said had been stopped and searched for weapons as many as ten times.
After the first two days of fighting, peace was restored. The Negro section was still intact;
the colored population of Coffeyville, Kansas had served notice that their rights cannot be ignored.
Curtis Smith was considered a suspect due to having stains on his Overalls that resembled dried blood. The stains turned out to be from rust where he worked. He was held in custody for his own protection. This sparked the largest battle in Coffeyville history. They say there is bullet holes in some of the older buildings in town from this incident.
This is a tragic portion of Coffeyville history that it's residents seldom get to hear about.
Coffeyville also shot the Dalton Gang to rag dolls.
White people shot up the Dalton gang.