#OnThisDay July 15, 1869 Captain A.J. Hayne, a Black man who led a Union regment during the Civil War, was assassinated by a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Who was Captain A.J. Hayne?

Glad you asked.

#GladYouAsked
This one required quite a lot of digging. YES, Captain Hayne was a Black man - fair skinned with blue eyes - but there is very little known about his back ground before enlisting in the military during the Civil War.
From Oswego, Arkansas, he was 6'2", with black hair and blue eyes. He enlisted as a private, and saw a lot of combat in the western theater of the Civil War with the Army of the Tennessee at Pea Ridge, Shiloh, Forts Henry and Donelson, and Vicksburg.
Late in the war, Haynes heard there was a chance at promotion with one of the new Black regiments being formed. On Feb. 18, 1864, he was discharged from the 4th IL Cavalry as a sergeant and then mustered in the same day as a captain in the brand new Black 1st Mississippi Cavalry.
This was later converted to the 3rd U.S. Colored Cavalry Regiment. During the Civil War, the Union was willing to recruit regiments from formerly enslaved and free Blacks ppl. Welp, you know racism -- few Black men were going to lead Black men. Hayne was the exception.
Officers in Black regiments were almost uniformly white. When the 1st Mississippi was formed, the call went out for experienced horse soldiers, of which by then, Haynes was certainly one.
*I have seen his name spelled both "Hayne" and "Haynes." I will use "Haynes." I apologize for the confusion.*
By all accounts, he was a good leader. The 3rd USCC saw lots more hard campaigning, including the hunt for Jefferson Davis as he and his wife attempted, unsuccessfully, to flee the country at the end of the war. The 3rd USCC was mustered out of U.S. service on Jan. 26, 1866.
Haynes wanted to be part of Reconstruction, and was subsequently appointed as an officer in a Black Arkansas militia unit. His Reconstruction activities did not make friends among defeated southern military officers and troops. Obviously.
Regardless of free public schools, libraries, water, paved roads and museums being created, southern whites could not get past formerly enslaved Black people were getting these benefits, too. Some even got land from former plantations.
"Working-class whites are complicit, or at least passive instruments, in their own political and economic disenfranchisement. They forfeited real power and material well-being in return for the psychological wages associated with being white." WEB DuBois, Reconstruction, 1935
"If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."

President Lyndon B. Johnson
Racism, man. It's been winning since 1526. But I digress. Haynes had an argument with a former confederate traitor, soldier + Ku Klux Klansman named Clarence Collier. Collier was hiding in a store where he murdered Haynes.
After ambusing Haynes, Collier reloaded his revolver, emptied the rest of the bullets into Haynes' head and body, got on his horse, and literally rode off into the sunset. Literally. Even though this was the embryonic phase of the KKK? Guess what happened to Collier?
Nothing.
FIN/

Captain A.J. Haynes, rest in peace and power.

Sources:

shawlocal.com/2016/11/03/ref…

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