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On September 30, 1919, local law enforcement in rural Phillips County, Arkansas, attacked black sharecroppers at a meeting of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. The next day, hundreds of white men from the Delta, along with US Army troops, converged on the area “with blood in their eyes.” What happened next was one of the deadliest incidents of racial violence in the history of the United States, leaving a legacy of trauma and silence that has persisted for more than a century. In the wake of the massacre, the NAACP and Little Rock lawyer Scipio Jones spearheaded legal action that revolutionized due process in America.
The first edition of Grif Stockley’s Blood in Their Eyes, published in 2001, brought renewed attention to the Elaine Massacre and sparked valuable new studies on racial violence and exploitation in Arkansas and beyond. With contributions from fellow historians Brian K. Mitchell and Guy Lancaster, this revised edition draws from recently uncovered source material and explores in greater detail the actions of the mob, the lives of those who survived the massacre, and the regime of fear and terror that prevailed under Jim Crow.
About the Author
Grif Stockley is an award-winning novelist and historian whose many books include Daisy Bates: Civil Rights Crusader from Arkansas and Black Boys Burning: The 1959 Fire at the Arkansas Negro Boys Industrial School.
Brian K. Mitchell is assistant professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He has researched and published on the Elaine Massacre, the 1859 expulsion of free blacks from Arkansas, and urban renewal in Little Rock.
Guy Lancaster has written or edited three previous works on racial violence in Arkansas, including Bullets and Fire: Lynching and Authority in Arkansas, 1840–1950. He serves as editor of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, a project of the Central Arkansas Library System.
“This expanded edition of Blood in Their Eyes: The Elaine Massacre of 1919 is a valuable resource for coming to grips with one of the most significant episodes of racial violence in Arkansas and US history. Building on Grif Stockley’s pathbreaking first edition, Stockley, Mitchell, and Lancaster offer further analysis that incorporates newly uncovered sources, subsequent historical scholarship, and other recent developments in the efforts to excavate what occurred in Phillips County, Arkansas, in 1919. Their thoughtful, essential scholarship draws from a deep and probing knowledge of Arkansas and southern history. Their book is one of the best local studies of American racial violence that I have read.”
—Michael J. Pfeifer, author of Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society, 1874--1947