What's Up!

September 27, 2020

What's Up - Your guide to what's happening in Fayetteville, AR this week!

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1291915

Contents of this Issue


Page 10 of 47

BECCA MARTIN-BROWN NWA Democrat-Gazette T he Elaine Massacre was clearly the deadliest incident of the 'Red Summer' of 1919, a series of white supremacist riots and massacres that occurred all across America," Guy Lancaster begins the history lesson. "It may have been the deadliest single incident of racial violence in American history." According to the University of Arkansas Press, publisher of Lancaster's new edition of "Blood in Their Eyes: The Elaine Massacre of 1919," "on Sept. 30, 1919, local law enforcement in rural Phillips County, Arkansas, attacked black sharecroppers at a meeting of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. The next day, hundreds of white men from the Delta, along with U.S. Army troops, converged on the area 'with blood in their eyes.' What happened next [left] a legacy of trauma and silence that has persisted for more than a century." The incident called the Elaine Massacre came to renewed public attention in 2001, when Grif Stockley wrote the original edition of "Blood in Their Eyes." But the story still was not complete. Lancaster, editor of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas with the Central Arkansas Library System, and Brian K. Mitchell, assistant professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, drew from recently uncovered source material for an update, published in May, which "explores in greater detail the actions of the mob, the lives of those who survived the massacre, and the regime of fear and terror that prevailed under Jim Crow." Lancaster and Mitchell will speak "virtually" Sept. 30 for a Fayetteville Public Library-hosted University of Arkansas Press Author Spotlight. Last week, Lancaster took time to answer these questions via email for What's Up! Q. If you grew up in Arkansas or the South, when you were a kid in school, did you ever hear of the Elaine Massacre? Do kids now hear about this polarizing event or do you think we still get a sterilized version of history? A. I grew up in Arkansas but didn't hear about the Elaine Massacre until I was in graduate school and Grif Stockley presented at an academic conference we were putting on. I think that most people still encounter this story as adults. In fact, the other day, I was conversing with a woman from the Elaine area who had not heard of the story until recent years, despite having ancestors involved, as she later learned. I think one of the reasons that people don't typically hear of this story is that it's hard to make the Elaine Massacre another "exception" within our narrative of national progress. Anything that's SEPTEMBER 27-OCTOBER 3, 2020 WHAT'S UP! 11 FAQ UA Press Spotlight: 'Blood in Their Eyes' WHEN — 6 p.m. Sept. 30 WHERE — Fayetteville Public Library via Zoom COST — Free INFO — Register at faylib.org Six Minutes, Six Questions Guy Lancaster Historians Guy Lancaster (pictured) and Brian K. Mitchell have updated Grif Stockley's revelatory 2001 book, "Blood in Their Eyes: The Elaine Massacre of 1919." Both of them will speak via Zoom Sept. 30 for a Fayetteville Public Library-hosted University of Arkansas Press Author Spotlight. (File Photo) 6X6 See Lancaster Page 38

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of What's Up! - September 27, 2020