From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Panic in Hopkinsville, KY

At the end of 1856, a messenger from Lafayette, KY, came to Hopkinsville, KY, seeking help in defending Lafayette against an expected attack by 600 African Americans from the Iron District on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. Eight to ten thousand slaves worked in the iron works.

Hopkinsville formed Vigilance Committees and posted armed guards. The telegraph poles were cut down, leaving the city cut-off from communications. African Americans thought to be members of the plot were hanged, shot, or jailed in Kentucky and Tennessee. A white man who had been "passing" was discovered during the roundup of African American men. The man had been painting himself black and living among African Americans for some time. He was accused by his captors of being the prime instigator and organizer of the insurrection and was taken into the woods and whipped to death.

The anticipated insurrection never occurred.

For more see "Negro Insurrections in Southern Kentucky and Tennessee," New York Daily Times, 12/11/1856, p. 1; and additional New York Daily Times' articles from 1856: December 12, 23, 25, and 27.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Christian County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about LaFayette, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Hopkinsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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NKAA Source: New York daily times (newspaper)

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“Panic in Hopkinsville, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-10-22 14:31:45