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Never Forget, America’s Mass Lynching: 237 Black Sharecroppers Were Murdered In Arkansas

Black sharecroppers in Arkansas began to unionize and killed

In 1919, after the end of World War I, Black sharecroppers in Arkansas began to unionize. This attempt to form unions, triggered white vigilantism and mass killings, that left 237 Blacks dead.

Written by David Krugler for The Daily Beast.

Towards the end of 1918, attorney Ulysses S. Bratton of Little Rock, Arkansas listened to Black sharecroppers tell stories of theft, exploitation, and never ending debt. One man by the name of Carter, explained how he cultivated 90 acres of cotton and then had his landlord confiscate the crop and all of his possessions. Another Black farmer, from Ratio, Arkansas said a plantation manager would not give sharecroppers an itemized record of their crop. No one realized that within a year of meeting with Mr. Bratton, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. would take place. In a report released by the Equal Justice Initiative, white people in the Delta region of the South, started a massacre that left 237 Black people dead. Even though the one-time death toll was unusually high, it was not uncommon for whites to use racial violence to intimidate Blacks.

Mr. Bratton represented the deprived sharecroppers who became members of a new union, the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. The new union was founded by a Black Delta native named Robert Hill. With no prior organizing experience, all Robert Hill had going for him was ambition. Mr. Hill said “the union wants to know why it is that the laborers cannot control their just earnings which they work for,” as he asked Black sharecroppers to each persuade 25 new members to join a lodge.

The white elites of the region understood that the only way they could maintain their economic prosperity was to exploit Black sharecroppers and laborers. A well-to-do Northerner, E.M. “Mort” Allen, came to Arkansas and founded a new town called Elaine, which became a hub for the lucrative lumber industry. Mort Allen said the “Southern men can handle the negroes all right and peaceably,” but peaceable techniques were far from what was used to destroy the sharecroppers’ union. In an attempt to disrupt a union meeting, a white landowner was shot and killed. The sharecroppers braced for reprisals that were sure to come and formed self-defense forces. The local sheriff, Frank Kitchens, deputized a large white militia that was headquartered at the county courthouse. In the end, 237 Black people were killed because they wanted fair compensation for the crops they harvested.

No one was ever charged or any trials held for anyone that took part in the mass lynchings. The basis for these heinous crimes was the reassertion of white supremacy after veterans returned home from World War I. The white militias wanted to send a message that they were going to keep the Blacks in their ‘place.’ But what made 1919 unique, was the willingness and fortitude, of the Black sharecroppers and their community to engage in armed resistance against white oppression.

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25 Comments on Never Forget, America’s Mass Lynching: 237 Black Sharecroppers Were Murdered In Arkansas

  1. Hi there I just want to thank you for Th e information it is so deep warm regards.

  2. We need to work toward a world in which all people can pursue life, liberty and happiness without being impeded by anyone.

  3. There’s been over 650,000 blacks killing blacks in America in the past 85 years. That’s what the preacher said at Aretha’s funeral. Let that sink in.

  4. We as a people need to shut up and get the beam out of our eyes. We have broken God’s heart after 500 years of suffering. We have put the white race to shame, raping babies, our elderly, committing genocide, and murdering Negroes who try to stop this parasitic attitude against each other. I am a survivor of the infanticide, sodomy rape, and the genocide that is shaming our race to no end.

  5. hoped all of them rotten in Hell.

    • Jeannette Dooley // September 23, 2018 at 3:53 PM //

      I feel you you are right about we as a people need to stop killing ourselves. We need to teach our children their history here in the United States . Not just about Martin Luther King. We are doing the same things they did to us when we were slaves. Did we love the white masters so much we want to carry on their legacy of violence , rape, pain , thefts,
      All the atrocities they did to us we now do to ourselves. Think people think!!!

  6. Abortion (child murder by liquifying,decapitating,dismembering, or chemically burning)
    (rooted in racism) is the GROSSEST civil rights injustice happening NOW and EVERY COLOR PEOPLE are looking the other way.

    “The great irony is, that abortion is doing what the klan only dreams of”
    ~Alveda King

  7. “Using drugs and hypnosis on mental patients in a process called Orion, the CIA inculcated the desire in these people to open fire on schoolyards and thus inflame the anti-gun lobby.”

    • Great! How many children have you adopted? Do you know what an ectopic pregnancy is? How many anti-gun demonstrations have you participated in? What are you doing to fight this administrations attack on immigrant children?
      Only in America can the same folks willing to take food out of children’s mouths; but will spend billions on weapons; fight to the death against gun regulations, and look the other way while children are massacred in school; but consider themselves pro-lifers.
      You worry about that beam in your eye and I’ll worry about mine.

  8. A hoax a lie and racial hatespeech – afterall..again..the jewish elites of course owned all land after the murders..always same story World wide

  9. Derek Keller // June 15, 2016 at 11:42 AM //

    Not only do most Americans (white included!) forget the awful history of lynching, most Americans (white included, but nearly all black folk in America too) seem to have little awareness that their own government, under Obama and H. Clinton, turned the government of Libya over to racists, who then lynched thousands of black people, whose bodies were piled high in roadways. The crime for which they received a death sentence? Being black. But people don’t care about the thousands lynched just a few years ago. Do their lives not matter? Why do black Americans not care about lynchings anymore?

    • Yes Derek….the irony is that the Dems have to keep Black people oppressed and in this awful mindset to achieve their agenda. Have you seen all the black men that are enslaved right now? They had one man hung up by his feet. It’s sickening. Where is the outrage at this?! Hillary and Obama left it that way on purpose. They want us all fighting because that’s the only way they can achieve their socialist gov. When is this all going to stop?!! Us whites and blacks have to find a common ground. We are the true Americans who made this country. Blacks and Whites!! We need to ban together for our country. Our history might not all be good…but we walked together for civil rights and we all have the same blood running through us through slavery. It’s gods way.

  10. pamela k zick // June 14, 2016 at 10:15 AM //

    Well I am a 65 year-old white woman. Yes, I have lived a comfortable life and I am well-educated. but I have never employed a black woman as a maid in my house not wanting to see another person do the kind of hard work it takes to clean house. I always and still do my own work. I do not feel that I am racist. Yes I do have some black friends. I am always polite to black people when I meet them. What’s the difference, dang it? Some of us are black and some of us are white. FYI My son’s wife has a two black siblings. My daughter married an Indian. so I figure this family is doing it’s part……

    • what exactly means this family is doing it’s part, does it mean a sort of sacrifice for you that your some of your family members get involved with other races ? no other races I asume need anyone from your family to marry or befriend them, the rest of the people who are not like you just need to be respected and be left alone that will suffice for them to be free from any harm.

  11. Whites seem to suffer from extreme amnesia when it comes to their crimes against African Americans. They don’t want to remember the past and they ignore the racism and violence that is perpetrated against black people right now. We are hearing about the gay club and how it’s the worst mass shooting in history? No it isn’t. White men are the biggest wimps ever! They can only fight with guns. If they didn’t use weapons, they know their asses would be beat. Bunch of cowards!

    • Your family is doing its part?! What about just seeing people for who they are instead of what they look like, what religion they are, etc.

  12. your future!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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