Black History Month 2023

'arkansas' - 6 results

Lynching of Henry Smith



Paris, Texas - Henry Smith was killed by a white mob. Smith was accused of killing a young white girl. It made national news and led to an interstate manhunt. He was burned alive until he died, by whites.

Smith was a handyman. He had been arrested by a white police worker, Deputy Henry Vance. Smith was beaten by Vance, with his club. Later, Smith was seen with the daughter of Vance, who was four (4) years of age.

The day before her death, Smith walked through town with the white girl. The Mayor of Paris, and many other whites, saw him with her. When asked, Smith told him he was taking her to the doctor.

Later, her dead body was found in a pasture, outside of town. There were hand marks around her throat. She had died from being strangled. Reports of rape and abuse were invented by relatives of the girl, to inflame white anger.

Smith fled. The town formed a posse and began a manhunt. Smith fled to Arkansas, the state where he was born. The posse found him there, six (6) days later. He was taken, by train, back to Paris, Texas.

As the posse entered Texas, with Smith, a mob of 5,000 waited. They told the local police, in Texarkana, they wanted to kill him, in Paris. Smith begged the police to either protect him or shoot him. The police said they had no power to protect him from the mob and they would not shoot him.

On February 1st, at 1:00 p.m., Smith arrived in Paris, Texas. The Mayor of Paris closed all schools and businesses for the lynching. A crowd of 10,000 came to see Smith die. The police workers released Smith to the mob, where a platform was built, to kill him.

Vance, his son (15 years of age), and brother-in-law had Smith tied-up on the platform. There, the three (3) used hot irons on his feet, torso, and limbs. They then used the hot iron and burned out the eyes of Smith. It was then shoved down his throat. The crowd cheered each response of agony from Smith. Finally, the whites poured kerosene over him and set the whole platform on fire.

The lynching of Smith made headlines for its viciousness and cruelty. The Boston Daily Globe called it 'White Savagery.' It was perhaps the most heinous lynching in United States history.

No one was punished for the lynching of Henry Smith.

Source:

Lynching of Henry Smith

Torture of Henry Smith


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Bass Reeves Died



Muskogee, Oklahoma - Bass Reeves ('The Real Lone Ranger') was the first (1st) Black American United States deputy Marshal, in the west. Reeves was one of the most colorful, adventurous, and accomplished deputies of his time.

Born in 1838, Reeves was born in slavery. During the Slavery War, his enslaver joined the Confederate Army and brought Reeves. During the war, Reeves escaped. He stayed in Indian Territory. There Reeves learned the Creek and Cherokee languages.

Once the (13th) Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery, Reeves returned to Arkansas. There he farmed, until 1875. Due to his language skills, Reeves was recruited for a deputy Marshal job.

Reeves served primarily Arkansas and the Oklahoma Territory. During his long career, Reeves made more than 3,000 arrests. Many were dangerous criminals. Reeves shot and killed 14, in self-defense.


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Elaine Arkansas Massacre



Elaine, Arkansas - 500-1000 white males murdered dozens of Black Americans. It all started because Black American farmers wanted to work together for a better life.

On September 30, 1919, sharecroppers met to create a union. They met at a church to get better prices for their crops. To keep white plantation owners from the meeting, armed Black American guards waited outside. In Elaine, there were ten (10) Black Americans to every 1 white.

It is unclear what began the trouble at the church. There was gunfire and a white security guard was dead. The guard worked for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad. A white deputy sheriff was injured.

On October 1st, the Phillips County Sheriff formed a posse. He told Governor Brough there was an insurrection in Elaine. The Governor sent word to the Secretary of War. Soldiers were on their way to Elaine.

As troops made their way to Elaine, hundreds of whites came to the town. They were from other counties and the next State. Whites killed Black Americans with no restraint, and injured hundreds more.

On October 2nd, 500 soldiers arrived in the morning and the massacre ended.

Source:

Elaine Arkansas Massacre


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Jim Crow Upheld on Trains



Washington, D. C. - The United States Supreme Court upheld race based segregation of passengers on trains (Mitchell v. United States). Arthur Wergs Mitchell was the plaintiff. He was the first Black American Congressman, to win as a Democrat.

On the evening of April 20th, 1937, Mitchell traveled on a train in 1st class, from Chicago. As the train passed through Arkansas, the conductor moved Mitchell to the colored car. Mitchell objected. The conductor threatened him with arrest, if he didn't move.

Mitchell moved to the colored car. He filed suit. The case went to the United States Supreme Court. The decision required interstate trains to provide the same segregated service to both Black American and white customers.

Source:

Arthur Wergs Mitchell


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Little Rock School Desegregation



Little Rock, Arkansas - Nine (9) Black American teenagers were to attend the all-white Central High School. An angry white mob and the National Guard stopped them from going to school.

The United States Supreme Court ruled that exclusions based on race had no legal effect. On September 3, 1957, a Federal judge ruled that the students had instant access to attend classes at the then all-white school. Despite this, the Arkansas Governor blocked the Black American students from the school.

One of the Black American students, Elizabeth Eckford, tried to go to the school. She recalled what happened that day. 'They moved closer and closer. ... Somebody started yelling. ... I tried to see a friendly face somewhere in the crowd—someone who maybe could help. I looked into the face of an old woman and it seemed a kind face. But, when I looked at her again, she spat on me.'


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Army Escorted Black Students



Little Rock, Arkansas - Federal troops guarded Black American students as they went to an all-white high school. An angry mob of whites waited for them, as they entered Central High School. Angry whites were there when they left the school. The United Staets Army 101st Airborne helped the Black American students attend classes safely.


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