Racial Cleansing in Arkansas, 1883-1924

Racial Cleansing in Arkansas, 1883-1924 : Politics, Land, Labor, and Criminality

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Even before the end of Reconstruction in Arkansas, the state already possessed a long-standing reputation for violence, including lynchings, duels, and feuds. However, the years following Reconstruction witnessed the creation of new forms of mob violence. All across the state, gangs of whites sought to drive African Americans from their homes, their jobs, and their positions of authority, creating communities shamelessly advertised as "100% white." This happened not only in the highland regions, the Ozarks and the Ouachitas, where the expulsion of African Americans created so-called "sundown towns," but it also occurred in the low-lying Delta lands of eastern Arkansas, where cotton was king and where masked mobs of landless "whitecappers" and "nightriders" regularly dealt terror and murder to black sharecroppers. Racial Cleansing in Arkansas, 1883-1924: Politics, Land, Labor, and Criminality by Guy Lancaster is the first book to examine the phenomenon of racial cleansing within the context of one particular state, illustrating how violence relates to geography and economic development. Lancaster analyzes the wholesale expulsion of African Americans and the emergence of "sundown towns" together with a survey of more limited deportations, including those with blatant political goals as well as vigilante violence. The book has broader implications not only for the study of Southern and American history but also for a deeper understanding of ethnic and racial conflict, local politics, and labor historyshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 166 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 408.23g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 4 black & white halftones
  • 0739195476
  • 9780739195475

Review quote

Lancaster provides a fascinating account that holds the potential to inform broader audiences about southern and American exclusionary racial practices that still exist today, albeit in a different form. He reminds us of the historical violence that undergirds what some would claim are simply the natural, neutral and self-selecting contemporary spatial divisions along racial lines. Political Studies Review On very rare occasions a book appears that is about a subject that is new territory not only to the book world but to the historical record for the most part. Such is the case for Guy Lancaster's Racial Cleansing in Arkansas, 1883-1924, easily one of the most important Arkansas history books to appear in quite a few years. It breaks new ground...Not only is it a critical addition to your Arkansas history collection but individual readers may well look to their library to provide them access to this important story from Arkansas's past. Accurate history is not just the story of pleasant events. It is the historian's responsibility to report the good, the bad, and the ugly episodes in order to tell the entire story. It is incumbent on libraries to provide access to that full history for their students and readers. Arkansas Libraries This book will be an important resource for historians in plotting many incidents we have not heard of, while it will convince those not aware of this history that white supremacy and racial violence fundamentally shaped Arkansas...This book should be read ... in order for us to realize the full extent and legacy of racial violence in America. Arkansas Historical Quarterly This provocative and well-researched book is a noteworthy contribution to Southern historiography, ...Scholars of labor and the South will discover new dimensions of the history and politics of white supremacy in this book. Labor Studies Journal Historian Guy Lancaster's fascinating ... study on racial expulsion in Arkansas during the early Jim Crow era presents a compelling exploration of an understudied topic. Journal of Southern History Logically organized, clearly written and easily readable, this book deconstructs a temporal (1883 to 1924) and spatial (state, county, city) social movement to establish 'whites-only' counties and cities therein throughout Arkansas...As an African American female born, raised, educated and employed for eighteen years as a college geography instructor, Lancaster's book resonated with me ... This historical text, when integrated with historical geography theory, themes, and methods has unique potential to make race relations discourse more place-specific, to make natural resource management economic development policy and practice more racially equitable in Arkansas and to serve as a place-based research model and laboratory for similarly situated states. Historical Geography The work is a good analysis of racial cleansing in Arkansas in the period between Reconstruction and the end of the First World War. The concept of racial cleansing is a valuable conceptual framework in which to analyse the events of this place and time, and the concept itself is well defined and adequately frames the discussion of sundown towns... [T]he author's decision to integrate perspectives other than history to explain the existence of these communities - among them sociology, anthropology and political science - provided valuable insights into racial cleansing...This work makes a significant contribution to the study of race relations, not only historically, but sociologically, by providing insights into the consequences to an area's culture due to efforts to retain social, economic and political advantage. Capital & Class This compact, well-researched volume has moments of great drama and deep tragedy...Racial Cleansing in Arkansas tells tragic stories with an analytical care that helps us to learn from them. The banality of some of the evil is at times perfectly captured...[T]his is a painful story well-told and well-worth remembering. Arkansas Review Racial Cleansing in Arkansas, 1883-1924: Politics, Land, Labor, and Criminality is a meticulously documented and in-depth analysis of a crucial aspect of White Supremacy that has been understudied by historians. Guy Lancaster's study will serve as a blueprint for scholars throughout the United States. Though a work primarily of immense historical significance, Dr. Lancaster's treatment of the consequences of 'racial cleansing' is the gold standard for anyone interested in this era. -- Grif Stockley, author of Ruled by Race: Black/White Relations in Arkansas from Slavery to the Present Guy Lancaster has advanced the boundaries of our knowledge of one of the darkest chapters in America's history. Beginning in the 1860s and continuing through the 1920s, whites conducted a series of racial cleansings, forcing blacks to flee for their lives. While the general outlines of this practice have finally come to light, Lancaster focuses on one state-Arkansas-and explains in exhaustive detail what took place. Where Lancaster has led, I hope researchers in other states will follow. -- Elliot Jaspin, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Hidden History of Racial Cleansing in Americashow more

About Guy Lancaster

Guy Lancaster is the editor of the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the Central Arkansas Library System.show more

Table of contents

Detailed Table of Contents Racial Cleansing in Arkansas, 1883-1924: Politics, Land/Labor, and Criminality. Introduction a. Plan of the Book b. The Implications of This Research c. Acknowledgements Politics a. Conway County b. Amity c. Limited Expulsions from Marion and Forrest City d. Conclusion Land/Labor a. Railroads and Racial Cleansing b. Dead Lines and Black Homes c. Whitecapping and Industry in Northeastern Arkansas d. Timber Industry in Southern Arkansas and the Ouachita Mountains e. Coal Mining and the Bonanza Race War of 1904 f. Racial Cleansing in Agriculture g. Conclusion Criminality a. Green County, Reconstruction-1892 b. Lonoke County, 1897-1898 c. Cotter, 1906 d. Harrison, 1905 and 1909 e. Various Pope County Incidents of the 1910s f. Hickory Ridge, Circa 1910 g. Catcher, 1923-1924 h. Conclusion Unknown and Multivalent Causes a. Benton County b. Evening Shade, 1906 c. Salem, Circa 1907 d. Buffalo Island e. Mena and Polk County f. Conclusion Conclusion Bibliographyshow more

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