THE ELAINE MASSACRE - A day in Labor History the year was 1919

THE RICK SMITH SHOW CAN BE HEARD EVERY SUNDAY AT 11 AM ON KPFK

THE ELAINE MASSACRE

On September 30th in Labor History the year was 1919.

That was the day that began the Elaine Massacre.

The massacre took place in Arkansas, where more than 100 black farmers and sharecroppers were gunned down for daring to organize their labor.

The Year before, a black farmer by the name of Robert L. Hill had founded the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America.

Union members pooled their money to purchase land.

They also hired a lawyer to sue planters who did not give black tenant cotton farmers their fair share of the profits.

The group grew in membership in the Arkansas delta region, including near the town of Elaine in Philips County.

But white landowners would not allow this challenge to their power.

Armed white militias came to a church where the union was holding a meeting.

The black attendees were also armed.

Gunfire broke out.

In response, white posses and federal troops unleashed a wave of terror across Philips County.

Hundreds of black residents were arrested.

At least 100 black Arkansans were killed.

Some estimates of those murdered is considerably higher.

Five white people also died.

122 black men and women were charged with murder.

Twelve were given the death sentence.

No white vigilante was ever charged.

The convicted African Americans appealed their cases.

One appeal for six of the defendants went all the way to the US Supreme Court, where it was overturned in a landmark ruling.

The year of 1919 was one of the deadliest years of violence against African Americans in U.S. history.

Civil Rights activist James Weldon Johnson called those bloody months the “Red Summer.”

Twenty-six race riots left thousands of African Americans homeless and hundreds dead from Chicago to Washington D.C. to Omaha.


 
THE RICK SMITH SHOW CAN BE HEARD EVERY SUNDAY AT 11 AM ON KPFK

Pledge Now!
KPFK is a progressive media outlet challenging corporate media perspectives and providing a voice to voiceless communities. Help keep KPFK a strong and independent source of music, arts, news and information.

Schedule

  • L.A. Theatre Works

    10:00pm - Midnight

    Founded in 1974, L.A. Theatre Works' mission is to record and preserve great performances of important stage plays, maximizing the use of new technologies to make world-class theatre accessible to the widest possible audience...

  • Jazz Sessions / Listen Here

    Midnight - 3:00am

    A program that captures the spirit of the jam session and celebrates & explores timeless jazz recordings of then and now with Dr Jaz Sawyer. 4th Mon of the month "Listen Here" with Ollie Bivins

  • Stairway To Heaven

    3:00am - 5:30am

    a music program that consists of music from the soulful genre...the focus is on stories....the feeling..

  • Counterspin

    5:30am - 6:00am

    FAIRNESS & ACCURACY IN REPORTING

Events

Get the Pacifica App

Listen to all the Pacifica Stations on your phone, get news updates and more!

Today's Weather

  • Los Angeles Area Forecast

    Sunny intervals

    High: 79°F | Low: 54°F

Weather Forecast

  • Sun

    79°F

  • Mon

    79°F

  • Tue

    79°F

  • Wed

    81°F

  • Thu

    75°F

Follow us on Social Media