Red Summer – Elaine Arkansas, 1919

Batch of Negroes Doomed to Death: Elaine, Arkansas

“Batch of Negroes Doomed to Death: Six of 122 Blacks Indicted for Arkansas Riots are Tried, Convicted and Sentenced to Death in Day” Helena, Ark. November 1 [1919]

The riots in Elaine Arkansas (Oct 1, 1919) by some accounts were among the most deadly and widespread of the Red Summer. Death tolls vary widely and scholars continue to research the question. A recent account suggested that the actual number of deaths was as high as 200, however the official numbers still are reported as dozens. A common theory is that due to the remote location and rural setting that many more African Americans were killed (than were reported due to mass killings as retribution), bodies disposed and never accounted. Military, law enforcement and armed militias arrived to put down what was described as a revolt against whites, from three states.

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