Elaine Massacre defendants honored on Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It’s now been a century since the Elaine Massacre.

The aftermath of the deadly 1919 race riot centered on a group of black sharecroppers in Phillips County who were wrongfully convicted of murder, sentenced to death, then exonerated and released.

All these years later, they’re being honored with induction into the 2019 Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail.

“Today we’re putting in markers for the most recent inductees of the Little Rock Civil Rights Trail or the Arkansas Civil Rights Trail,” says Dr. Brian Keith Mitchell, UA-Little Rock Assistant Professor of History.

Family and members of the community came out to pay homage to the 12 exonerated defendants.

Lisa Hicks-Gilbert is the grand-niece of two of the men. She says today shows her 92-year-old grandmother that she no longer has to live in fear or silence.

“This needs to be spoken of. It needs to be said. The fear that her and her generation had, we no longer have that fear,” she says.

This was a project for UA-Little Rock students and faculty. The markers which include the men’s names are located in downtown Little Rock off President Clinton Avenue.

Learn more about the Elaine Massacre by looking at our 2017 special report about it.

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