In the fall of 1919, an event occurred in Phillips County, Arkansas that has come to be known as the “Elaine Race Riot.” But, as we observed with the labeling of the “Spanish American War” (Cuba?!), names can be problematic, misleading, and ultimately obscure history rather than illuminate it. As students of history, it is your job to have open and critical minds, to analyze evidence and formulate intelligent interpretations of historical events while at the same time recognizing that your interpretations must be open to revisions as new evidence comes to light.
With these ideas in mind, examine the evidence concerning the events in Phillips County in 1919 and write a narrative account of what you think occurred. You must use the press materials located at the “Elaine Riot” web site AND the pamphlet, “The Arkansas Race Riot” by Ida B. Wells (located at the sites/.pdf files listed below), and historical materials you find at the Ellis Library newspaper archives databases (a minimum of eight that you find on your own). You cannot complete the assignment unless you use all of these sources, and I will not accept incomplete assignments. Use the textbook, lectures, and Bb assignments to help you understand Jim Crow, the justice system, and political, social and economic structures in the period, especially sharecropping and debt peonage.
Your narrative account should include a basic chronology of the events from September 30, 1919 to December 31, 1919 and your reasons for selecting particular evidence when there are conflicting accounts in the sources. To do this, you will need to indicate where discrepancies exist and why you believe, or “privilege,” one version of the facts over another.
You will also need to select newspaper articles (minimum of eight) about other race riots in the 1918-1923 period and place the Arkansas riot in the context of these other events.
Be sure to indicate exactly which news articles you found on your own and why you chose them as sources.
For the final paragraph, examine the legacy of the US Supreme Court decision, Moore v. Dempsey.
The minimum length of the papers is 2,400 words minimum, not counting end notes. Be sure to double-spaced and use twelve-point type and one-inch margins. Use endnotes to indicate where you found your evidence.
Our Elaine web site is located at: http://www.clt.astate.edu/sarahwf/elainrt/elapg1.html–paste this directly into your browser.
Ida B. Wells’ “Arkansas Race Riot” is located at:
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