The Arkansas Race Riotby Ida B. Wells-Barnett
Later on the country was told that the white people of Phillips County had risen against the Negroes who started this riot and had killed many of
The press dispatches of October 1, 1919, heralded the news that another race riot had taken place the night before in Elaine, Ark., and that it was started by Negroes who had killed some white officers in an altercation.
Later on the country was told that the white people of Phillips County had risen against the Negroes who started this riot and had killed many of them, and that this orgy of bloodshed was not stopped until United States soldiers from camp Pike had been sent to the scene of the trouble.
Columns were printed telling of an organization among Negro farmers in this little burg who were banded together or the purpose of killing all the white people, the organization being known as the Farmers' Household Union. As a result of these charges over one hundred Negro farmers and laborers, men and women, were arrested and jailed in Helena, Ark., the county seat of Phillips County. One month later they were indicted and tried for murder in the first degree and the jury found them guilty after six minutes of deliberation. Twelve were sentenced to die in the electric chair-six on December 27th and six on January 2nd, and seventy-five of them were sent to the penitentiary on sentences ranging from five to twenty-one years!
Several national bodies among colored people, notably the Equal Rights League, sent letters of protest to Governor Brough, but press dispatches reported that the governor refused to interfere, because he believed the men had received justice. Thereupon, the Chicago branch of the Equal Rights League sent telegrams to Senators Medill McCormick and Curtis, chairman on committee on race riots and Congressman Martin B. Madden asking the federal government to take some on to protect these men and see that they got justice.
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