“We Only Demand White Control: how race and peonage led to the nation's largest racial massacre” is how Dr. Brian K. Mitchell, UALR history professor, framed his presentation of new research on Elaine to Elaine residents Friday at the Elaine Legacy Center.
Mitchell demonstrated with photos and original documents his findings on the role of the army, politicians, African Americans in the area, and white people working for justice. He also indicated he is devoting this summer to a study of the 1910 and 1920 census records to identify names of people whose lives were lost in the massacre.

“We Only Demand White Control: how race and peonage led to the nation’s largest racial massacre” is how Dr. Brian K. Mitchell, UALR history professor, framed his presentation of new research on Elaine to Elaine residents Friday at the Elaine Legacy Center.

Mitchell demonstrated with photos and original documents his findings on the role of the army, politicians, African Americans in the area, and white people working for justice. He also indicated he is devoting this summer to a study of the 1910 and 1920 census records to identify names of people whose lives were lost in the massacre.

“If names appear in south Phillips County in 1910 but not in 1920, we might be able to either track the names to where people moved or to their death,” he explained.

“His research is impeccable, accurate,” author Gif Stockley said.

Traditionally Stockley is the keynote speaker at commemoration events because he is a pioneer researcher of the Elaine Massacre and author of Blood in Their Eyes. This time he came to introduce Mitchell as a new researcher he greatly admires and applauds.

Prior to Mitchell’s presentation, State Representative Chris Richey presented to the Elaine Legacy Center with the Arkansas General Assembly’s resolution commemorating the 1919 Massacre and the triumph of the Elaine 12 in their Supreme Court decision “Moore vs. Dempsey.” The resolution will hang in the Legacy Center at 313 College Ave. in Elaine.

Chairman William Quiney III inspired the crowd of all ages in attendance with his moving rendition of original music written by Ed Ware, often seen as the leader of the Elaine 12. It is titled, “I Stand and Wring My Hands and Cry.” According to Ida B. Wells-Barnett, the gospel song was written while Ware and others were on death row and sung by the men and their families and friends on the other side of the prison bars:

Annie Pike of Marvell also inspired attenders with her own commitment to 20th century history of Trenton which may have connections to Elaine, only a few miles away by rail.

Following the presentations, participants were eager to share oral histories of burials in mass graves, and African American history of land ownership in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Elaine Legacy Center is one of four centers of Waves of Prayer and is dedicated to ensuring Elaine, the motherland of Civil Rights,” fosters recognition of the heroes from Elaine who changed the course of U.S. history and to ensuring Elaine becomes a pilgrimage site for people using the foundations of the past to build a poverty-free future of equality, nonviolence, and Hope. Friday’s event was scheduled to coincide with Juneteenth commemorations around the country as a way of connecting Elaine’s history to the larger history of African American leadership in the nation.

The next major event scheduled by the Elaine Legacy Center is the seventh annual Healing of the Land Prayer Service Sept. 30, at Poindexter Fiser Park in Elaine. The first annual Richard Wright Literary Festival is scheduled for April 4, 2018, at the Legacy Center.