Neither did I, which is why I was eager to read about it and do some additional research on line.
The NY Times offers up this account: The Forgotten History of America’s Worst Racial Massacre
Because the Times is behind a paywall (unless you’ve not read all of your free reads this month) here’s a summary:
Following WWI, the black, mostly share cropper population of Elaine, Arkansas gathered in a local church to discuss organizing as a union. This was declared an “insurrection” by white land owners; hundreds of white vigilantes and ultimately Federal troops accompanied by the governor marched into the region and went on a week’s long killing spree – burning houses, committing atrocities and arresting black residents and charging them with various crimes, including the murder of two white men who had been killed accidentally by other vigilantes.
Anywhere from 50 to 850 people were killed.
Talk abour erasure. The wikipedia entry’s title for this event is “Elaine Race Riot” (change has been requested though not implemented yet).
The accurate portrayal of history is important to our future; it can show us where we’ve been and why we might not want to go back there – but only if it is revealed honestly and truthfully.
Want at least one explanation as to why minorities in the US are so skeptical that meaningful change will come? Read all about how this event was all but erased from the history books.