The Red Summer of 1919 was a period where white supremacy terrorism took place in more than 3 dozen cities in the United States including Phillips County, Arkansas. The Elaine Massacre was by far the deadliest race massacre in Arkansas history and possibly in the history of the United States. While its deepest roots lay in the state’s commitment to white supremacy, the events in Elaine (Phillips County) stemmed from tense race relations and growing concerns about labor unions. A shooting incident that occurred at a meeting of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union escalated into mob violence on the part of the white people in Elaine and surrounding areas. Although the exact number is unknown, estimates of the number of African Americans killed by whites range into the hundreds(estimated more than 800 African-American people were murdered.
The conflict began on the night of September 30, 1919, when approximately 100 African Americans, mostly sharecroppers on the plantations of white landowners, attended a meeting of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America at a church in Hoop Spur (Phillips County), three miles north of Elaine. The purpose of the meeting, one of several by black sharecroppers in the Elaine area during the previous months, was to obtain better payments for their cotton crops from the white plantation owners who dominated the area during the Jim Crow era.
Lisa Hicks-Gilbert is the Founder of the Descendants of the Elaine Massacre of 1919, the group is dedicated to amplifying the voices of the descendants of Elaine Massacre victims, reclaiming our narrative, honoring our ancestors, honoring our ancestors, organizing and collaborating to support the historic and economic empowerment efforts of Elaine, Arkansas and the surrounding communities . Hicks-Gilbert learned that she is related to Frank and Ed Hicks, two of the dozen Black men who were convicted and sentenced to death after the massacre in sham trials. They are known collectively as the Elaine 12. If you want to contribute assistance to the Descendants of The Elaine Massacre organization, contact Lisa Hicks-Gilbert via Facebook: @Descendants of The Elaine Massacre of 1919. The organization is currently accepting donations via Cash App: $DOEM1919 or its GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign. To find it, go to www.GoFundMe.com and search for: “Help the Descendants of the Elaine Massacre!”