This Town In Arkansas Has A Dark And Evil History That Will Never Be Forgotten

Today, the city of Elaine is a small, sleepy town on the Arkansas delta. In the fall of 1919, however, it was a nightmare. Looking at it now, you’d never guess that this Arkansas town has a dark and evil history. The 1919 Elaine Massacre of September 30 through October 2 set Elaine apart from all other small towns in Arkansas. The three day event was the deadliest racial conflict in the history of Arkansas: it may even be the single deadliest in the history of the United States. It’s impossible to confirm the true number of losses, because sources disagree on the scale of the massacre. The only thing known for certain is that the number of African American casualties numbered in the hundreds.

The headlines from the time never called the events at Elaine a massacre. A very different narrative was put forth by the officials who were interviewed at the time. However, the facts are horrific and overwhelmingly sad. The Elaine massacre is a dark spot in the history of Arkansas, and it will not be forgotten. For more information about this tragic event, check out the Encyclopedia of Arkansas. You can view more horrifying stories from the history of Arkansas here.


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Address: Elaine, Arkansas, AR, USA
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History of Arkansas

June 15, 2021

What are some more dark tales from the history of Arkansas?

Like most areas, there are many black marks from within Arkansas's history. One horrible story you may not have learned too much about in school is that we were home to several Japanese-American internment camps. Japanese-Americans were forced to leave California and they were relocated to various camps throughout the United Sates, including the Rohwer War Relocation Center in Desha County. Nearby, the area today houses the Japanese American Internment Museum that chronicles this dark part of American and Arkansas history.

What are some terrible crimes that have happened in Arkansas?

The worst mass murderer in Arkansas history is Ronald Gene Simmons. Just before Christmas, in 1987, Simmons killed all 14 of his family members that were in town for the holidays. Each were shot, strangled, or drowned, including a baby who was not even two years old. He then went into the town and shot at six perfect strangers, killing two.

We've got quite a few familiar names that have committed other crimes, as well. In the late 1800s, Fort Smith was known as the "gateway to the Wild West," and many outlaws frequented the area. Pretty Boy Floyd was a particularly well-known robber during the Great Depression. Bonnie and Clyde were also frequent visitors to the area. Hot Springs was a well-known haven of criminals in the 1930s, and Al Capone was a frequent visitor there.

Are there any haunted places in Arkansas?

The Natural State has plenty of haunted spots! The Fort Smith courthouse was the site of many a hanging and it is said that condemned criminals' ghosts still wander the area. Caraway Hall at Arkansas Tech University was supposedly built over an old Cherokee burial ground and it is said that many ghosts frequent that area.