Guardian: A rural town confronts its history of mass killings of African Americans

 Some observers say the number of people who died in Elaine in 1919 could be more than 800, which would make it the deadliest massacre of African Americans in US history. Photograph: Albert Cesare/AP

100 years after hundreds of African Americans were reportedly killed in Elaine, Arkansas, a memorial is set to bring details of the tragedy to light

Charlie McClain was surprised to learn that he was related to one of the Elaine Twelve.

It came out when McClain, 58, asked his mother earlier this year about the largely forgotten mass killings in his Arkansas Delta home town a century ago, when white mobs murdered scores of African Americans, but only a dozen black men were ever prosecuted for any crime during the disturbances.

“When I got off the phone, I went back and looked at my notes, and I recognized the name: Paul Hall,” McClain said.

The Elaine Twelve were a group of black defendants sentenced to death for what transpired in the autumn of 1919, after an all-white jury found them guilty within eight minutes. Black witnesses later testified that they had been tortured into giving false testimonies and the 12 were eventually released – though no white people were ever charged for any crime.

“It was a kangaroo trial,” said Audrey Evans, a retired federal judge, who is part of the planning committee for the Elaine Massacre Memorial in nearby Helena. They are now preparing to commemorate the town’s bloody and largely forgotten past.

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  1. mahh, nazi come in 1933 and there aren’t any type of similarity between kkk and nazi party. give involvement or vicinity with nazis can make seem kkk worse , but there aren’t limits at the worse. KKK is very much worse than nazis, because apartheid of KKK has nothing to do with nazist party in Germany (also if many kkk bosses were part of lenders of nazis). The same cabal which own in his heritage zionism, apartheid for business interests, and many of the criminal acts happened in last 2 centuries. RATschilds and the 10/12 families that are the cabal which make conspiracy theories born in last 100 years become reality with evidences that any mainstream media can demonize, it’s objective it’s sufficient read of what happened in Usa and the rest of the world in our past history, it’s in front of eyes of “tout le monde”!

  2. How much of the conflict in Elaine can be attributed to Black former soldiers insisting on fair treatment after their participation in WW1 versus the White establishment wanting to continue as before WW1? This was not really covered in the article.

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