While the area began to attract white immigrants in the late 19th century, it continued as majority black during and after Reconstruction. The minority whites struggled to control freedmen and their descendants through violence and intimidation. Freedmen and their sympathizers supported the Republican Party because of emancipation, electing their candidates to office. The state legislature was still predominately white. By the 1880s, most white residents belonged to the Democratic Party. Factional tensions were fierce, as political elements had split largely along racial lines. The Jaybirds, representing the majority of the whites, were struggling to regain control from the Woodpeckers, who were made up of some whites consistently elected to office by the majority of African Americans; several had served as Republican officials during Reconstruction.
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