Negro Exodus (Hopkinsville, KY)(start date: 1904)
In 1904, the city of Hopkinsville, KY, was a bit alarmed by the number of Negroes who had left the county due to the collapse of the tobacco market. Also in 1904, the Planters Protective Association had been formed to protect the tobacco prices against the marketing trusts. The association soon developed into a group of armed and hooded night riders whose actions went from boycotting to violence. Most of the violence was centered in the Black Patch (dark fired tobacco) area of Western Kentucky and Tennessee. Entire towns were captured, there were hangings and killings, and tobacco warehouses were burned. According to an article in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian, a large number of Negroes had quit farming tobacco in Hopkinsville and left the county for work on the railroads, the mines, or as teamsters in northern cities. A few moved as far away as Honolulu, Hawaii to farm sugar cane. Some followed Riley Ely to Itta Bena, MS, where he and his brother raised cotton on a 7,000 acre farm. The names of those who left for Mississippi included Henry Gant and family, Bud Wilson, and John Ritter. For more see "Negro exodus," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 02/23/1904, p. 1. See also the "Black Patch War" entry in the Kentucky Encyclopedia; The Black Patch War, by J. G. Miller; and Breaking Trust (dissertation), by S. M. Hall.