1866 Mechanics’ Institute Attack

One violent event, captured in the best media technologies of its time and brought to American living parlors, completely changed American politics during the Reconstruction period.  A convention at the stately Mechanics’ Institute in New Orleans, determined to create a new constitution where all races could vote, was forcefully ended by police in what investigators could only describe as a massacre.    We discuss the event, the reasons behind it, and how it affected political power in Louisiana and in Washington for ten years.