Entry Category: Law

Howard County Reported Lynching of 1894

Brief accounts of lynchings sometimes appeared in newspapers across the country but were later corrected or contradicted by local newspapers. Such was the case with an unidentified African-American man who was supposedly lynched in Howard County in December 1894. In mid-December, several out-of-state newspapers—including Memphis’s Commercial Appeal, the Indianapolis Journal, the New York Sun, the New York Times, and the Raleigh News and Observer—reported that on Monday, December 10, a Black man had “outraged” a small white child (some reports say that she was only two years old) near Center Point (Howard County). He was allegedly chased away by two women but was caught and jailed. On the night of December 11 (some sources say December 12), a mob removed …

Howard, George, Jr.

George Howard Jr. was a trailblazing African-American attorney and judge in the second half of the twentieth century. After becoming one of the first black graduates of the University of Arkansas School of Law, he pursued a career dedicated to the expansion and guarantee of civil rights for all citizens. He became the first African American to be appointed to numerous Arkansas judicial posts, including the Supreme Court of Arkansas. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994. George Howard Jr. was born on May 13, 1924, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to George Howard and Sara Howard, who was a public school teacher. He received his early education in Pine Bluff but left home to serve …

Howard, Jesse (Lynching of)

On May 26, 1883, an African-American man named Jesse Howard was fatally shot in Marianna (Lee County) for allegedly setting fire to a livery stable. The Arkansas Gazette, in a brief report published on May 27, does not name Howard, but newspapers across the country reported on the incident, giving not only Howard’s name but additional details. Interestingly, a few of these additional reports mistakenly identified the lynching victim as Henry B. Derrick, who was, in fact, the owner of the livery stable. Jesse Howard had lived in Arkansas since at least 1870, when the census listed him as a farmer and a native of Virginia living in Phillips County with his wife, Susan. By 1880, he and Susan were …

Hubbell, Webster Lee (Webb)

Webster Lee (Webb) Hubbell was a college football star and then a lawyer who became mayor of Little Rock (Pulaski County) and chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Hubbell was associate attorney general of the United States, the number-three job in the Department of Justice under his friend President Bill Clinton, but he resigned in 1994 and was convicted of defrauding his former partners at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock. Further investigations and indictments followed him until 1999. During eighteen months in prison and afterward, Hubbell turned to writing—first a memoir and then legal thrillers. Webb Hubbell was born on January 18, 1948, in Little Rock to Webster Edward Hubbell, who was a construction engineer, and Virginia …

Huey, Cal (Execution of)

Cal Huey was one of two men hanged for the 1879 murder of a Crittenden County man, though he denied being involved in the crime. On October 26, 1879, four masked men rode up to the home of John Broadway, age fifty-five, about ten miles north of Marion (Crittenden County). One of them was John Potter, who worked for Broadway and believed that Broadway had $300 in his home. When Broadway tried to defend himself, another robber, Hiram Jeffries, shot him down. The four men fled, having netted only eight dollars. Potter, Jeffries, L. L. Ford, and Cal Huey were arrested and charged with Broadway’s murder. Huey got a change of venue for the trial to Mississippi County, but Jeffries …

Humphreys, Thomas Hadden

Thomas Hadden Humphreys, son of a Confederate army officer, spent some thirty-nine years on the judicial bench, the last twenty-six as a justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, and held elective political offices for forty-four years without ever having had an opponent. Governor Jeff Davis, the populist orator who later became a U.S. senator, appointed Humphreys, a Fayetteville (Washington County) lawyer, to a new chancery judgeship in the Eleventh District in 1903, and Governor George Washington Hays named him to a vacancy on the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1916 when Justice William F. Kirby was elected to the U.S. Senate. Humphreys’s father, John T. Humphreys, was a lawyer in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) who joined the First Arkansas Light Artillery …

Humphries, Ban, and Albert H. Parker (Murders of)

Sometime on the night of August 28–29, 1868, an African-American man named Ban (sometimes referred to as Dan) Humphries was killed near Searcy (White County). Reports indicate that he was killed by William E. Brundidge (sometimes referred to as Brundridge or Bundridge) and two other alleged members of the Ku Klux Klan. In September or October 1868, Albert H. Parker, who had been sent to White County to investigate the murder of Humphries and general Klan activities in the area, was also murdered. These events were part of a larger pattern of upheaval surrounding the election of 1868. Arkansas had been readmitted to the Union in June of that year and would be able to participate in a national election …

Hunley, Dan (Lynching of)

On October 6, 1885, an African-American man named Hunley (or Hunly) was murdered for an alleged attack on a young white girl near Tuckerman (Jackson County). Although most reports identify the girl as Priscilla Bundy, census records reveal that her name was probably Drucilla Bandy. One account identifies Bandy’s attacker by the last name Hunly, but it is probable that Dan Hunley was the alleged perpetrator, as, in 1880, a widow named Nelly Hunley was living in Breckenridge Township of Jackson County with her two sons, Anderson (thirteen) and Dan (nineteen), and a daughter, Judy (ten). At the time of the 1880 census, nine-year-old Drucilla was living in Bird Township of Jackson County with her parents, farmer George W. Bandy …

Hunter, Buck (Lynching of)

On December 1, 1886, an African-American man named Buck Hunter was lynched in Monticello (Drew County) for allegedly threatening to kill “two respected citizens of that county.” While the identities of his intended victims are unknown, Buck Hunter does appear in Drew County records. In August 1884, a man named Buck Hunter married Julia Carr there; they were both listed as residents of Saline Township. According to the St. Paul Evening Globe, Hunter (referred to as “Brick” Hunter) was being held in the Monticello jail when group of masked men surrounded the jail and demanded the prisoner. The jailer, being outnumbered, surrendered the key. According to the Arkansas Gazette, the mob then “placed a rope around his neck, led him …

Hunter, William (Lynching of)

On July 11, 1910, an African-American man named William Hunter (often referred to as Will) was lynched near Star City (Lincoln County) for allegedly entering the bedroom of Rosa Johnson (sometimes referred to as Roel, Rhoa, or Roca), the daughter of prominent local farmer Thomas W. Johnson. Both the alleged perpetrator and the alleged victim appear in public records. In 1880, there was a seven-month-old African-American child named Willie Hunter living in Lone Pine Township with his parents, laborers Louis and Susan Hunter. In 1900, William Hunter, nineteen years old, was still living in the township with his mother, Susan. In 1910, Hunter remained in Lone Pine Township, where he was living alone and working as a farm laborer. Rosa’s …

Hurst, Quincy Byrum

Quincy Byrum Hurst Sr. was a lawyer, banker, and politician whose battle to protect and legalize gambling in his hometown of Hot Springs (Garland County) resulted in a historic conflict with Governor Winthrop Rockefeller in the 1960s. Hurst began his political career as a reformer in the famous GI Revolt of returning soldiers from World War II, led by future governor Sidney S. McMath, but he ended his career in the service of the state’s “Old Guard” politicians and as the lawyer of two major figures in organized crime. He served twenty-two years in the Arkansas Senate and ran for governor, unsuccessfully, in 1972 while he was under investigation for bank fraud. In 1974, he was convicted in Missouri of …

Hutto, Terrell Don

Terrell Don Hutto was head of the Arkansas Department of Correction from 1971 to 1976, serving under Governor Dale Bumpers and later Governor David Pryor. Hutto arrived in Arkansas not long after the landmark Holt v. Sarver decision, which declared the entire state prison system unconstitutional. Hutto faced some controversy during his tenure, but he was largely successful in modernizing the state’s penitentiary and bringing it into compliance with federal prison standards. Hutto later worked as an administrator in the Virginia prison system and was one of the founders of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). T. Don Hutto was born on June 8, 1935, in Sinton, Texas, to Terrell Sanford Hutto and Winnie Elvenia Cusler Hutto. Hutto’s father, who …

Impson, McClish (Execution of)

On January 15, 1875, a Native American man named McClish Impson was executed at Fort Smith (Sebastian County). According to court records, Impson had murdered an unidentified man in Indian Country in 1873. While Impson does not appear in public records, there is some information available about his history. Historian Jerry Akins reports that his mother died when he was an infant, and he was adopted by a Christian family and given a Christian name and education. When he was fourteen, his adoptive father died, and his biological father took him in. His father, part of a gang of horse thieves, introduced Impson “to his drinking, gambling, horse-stealing, murderous, vagabond way of life.” His father was killed around 1872. In …

Initiatives and Referenda

Arkansas’s adoption of key elements of “direct democracy” (specifically, a statewide initiative and referendum process) stands out in the South. The fact that Arkansas adds another policymaking body—the voters of the state acting at the ballot box on measures placed on the ballot through their own petition signatures—to the typical representative system of democracy continues to shape the political rules of the game in Arkansas a century after the process’s creation. It also reflects the legacies of the Progressive and Populist political movements in the state. Proponents of direct democracy—the initiative, referendum, and recall—argued that taking total decision-making power away from legislative bodies could lessen the influence of special interests, reduce corruption in politics generally, and more fully empower rank-and-file …

Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act

aka: Act 137 of 2015
In response to the 2014 passage of a broad antidiscrimination ordinance by the city council in Fayetteville (Washington County), barring discrimination in the city on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, Senator Bart Hester, a Republican of Cave Springs (Benton County), introduced Senate Bill 202 in the 2015 regular session of the Arkansas General Assembly. A parallel version of the legislation was sponsored in the House of Representatives by Representative Bob Ballinger, a Republican of Hindsville (Madison County). This legislation barred local governments in Arkansas from passing any ordinance that “creates a protected classification or prohibits discrimination on a basis not contained in state law.” The stated goal of the legislation was “to improve intrastate commerce by ensuring …

Island 37

aka: Andy Crum (Lynching of)
aka: Bert Springs (Lynching of)
Island 37 is a stretch of land that is in the legal possession of the State of Tennessee but is physically joined to Arkansas. Because competing claims of jurisdiction left it in something of a legal void, Island 37 became, in the early twentieth century, an outpost for bootleggers and other criminals. Police action taken against those criminals resulted in one of the many U.S. Supreme Court cases regarding ongoing boundary disputes between Arkansas and Tennessee. The Mississippi River is a dynamic waterway, often cutting new channels and thus either forming islands or causing former islands to merge with the eastern or western banks. The legal principle of avulsion holds that land cut off by the river from one state …

Ives, Kevin, and Don Henry (Murder of)

The apparent murder in Saline County in 1987 of seventeen-year-old Kevin Ives and sixteen-year-old Don Henry has spurred ongoing controversy, including conspiracy theories tying their deaths to a drug-smuggling scandal. The case was the subject of journalist Mara Leveritt’s award-winning book The Boys on the Tracks. On Sunday, August 23, 1987, at around 4:00 a.m., the bodies of the two boys were spotted by the crew of a Union Pacific locomotive near Crooked Creek trestle in Alexander (Pulaski and Saline counties). The bodies were lying between the tracks, wrapped in a pale green tarp; there was a gun nearby. The train was unable to avoid running over the bodies. The train’s crew immediately reported the incident to railroad officials and …

Ivy, Dan

Dan Ivy was a high-profile attorney and political gadfly in Arkansas in the latter part of the twentieth and the early part of the twenty-first century known for his creative print and television advertisements for his law practice. In his all-black outfit—black shirt, black pants, and signature misshapen black felt cowboy hat—Ivy was a larger-than-life personality, skilled at self-promotion. Danny Chris Ivy was born on November 15, 1952, in Newport (Jackson County) to Daniel Ivy and Minnie Bell Hickman Ivy, who were devout members of the Assembly of God. He had to end his formal education while still in elementary school in order to help feed his family. When he was a child, he had a speech impediment that he …

J. R. Poisson v. Etienne d’Avril

J. R. Poisson v. Etienne d’Avril is a purported opinion of the Arkansas Supreme Court that was published as an April Fool’s Day joke by Associate Justice George Rose Smith on April 1, 1968. In the opinion, he declares that a fictional Arkansas statute (the “Omnibus Repealer”) abrogates all statutory law in Arkansas but does not affect the common law. George Rose Smith was known for his wry sense of humor. He was a grandson of Uriah Rose, the founder of the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and served as a partner in the firm until his election to the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1948. He holds the record as the longest-serving justice in the history of …

Jackson v. Hobbs

In Jackson v. Hobbs, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids mandatory life imprisonment without parole sentences for children. Kuntrell Jackson—convicted of capital murder based on events that occurred when he was fourteen years old—was granted resentencing in which his youth could be taken into account. Jackson was ultimately resentenced to twenty years imprisonment and was released from prison on parole in 2017. Dozens of other juvenile offenders have been similarly resentenced based on this case. On November 18, 1999, Jackson was walking with two other juveniles—fourteen-year-old Derrick Shields and fifteen-year-old Travis Booker—through the Chickasaw Courts housing project in Blytheville (Mississippi County) and began discussing the idea of robbing a local video store. …

Jackson, Boge (Execution of)

Boge Jackson was an African American man hanged at Hamburg (Ashley County) on November 18, 1881, for the shotgun slaying of an elderly Black man the previous year. Boge Jackson and Reuben Jordan initially argued over the placement of a boundary fence sometime in 1880; Jackson threatened Jordan, who apparently ignored him. Jackson and his friend Henry Hill went to a dance on Bayou Bartholomew near Jordan’s house sometime later, and the older man accused Jackson of stealing whiskey from him. They would quarrel again a few days later. “Soon after this old Jordan was found dead in the road,” the Arkansas Democrat reported. “Suspicion pointed unerringly to Jackson and Hill as the authors of the foul crime.” Authorities soon …

Jackson, Goodwin (Execution of)

On May 22, 1885, an African American man named Goodwin Jackson was executed in Clarendon (Monroe County) for the murder of another African American, Sandy Redmon, in November 1884. Jackson and Redmond both appear in Monroe County census records. In 1870, an illiterate “mulatto” man named Goodwin Jackson, age twenty-two, was living near Indian Bay in Jackson Township of Monroe County with his wife, Charity. He was still there in 1880, and by that time, he and Charity had four children. Newspaper reports were not kind to him. The Arkansas Gazette noted that he “had the appearance of not being very intelligent,” while the Memphis Daily Appeal referred to him as “a bad negro,” noting that he had “attempted to …

Jackson, Henry (Lynching of)

On October 4, 1877, an African-American man named Henry Jackson was shot by a masked mob near Watson (Desha County) for allegedly murdering a justice of the peace referred to only as Mr. O’Neil. However, the circumstances of the event speak to the broader efforts in post-Reconstruction Arkansas to remove black elected officials from office. While it is impossible to identify O’Neil, there were two African Americans named Henry Jackson living in Desha County in 1870. The first was a twenty-nine-year-old farmer living in Red Fork Township who had personal property worth $500 and real estate valued at $250. The second was a twenty-seven-year-old farmer who was living in Jefferson Township and had personal property worth $125 and real estate …

James, Henry (Lynching of)

On May 14, 1892, Henry James was lynched in Little Rock (Pulaski County) for an alleged assault on five-year-old Maggie Doxey. According to the Arkansas Gazette, it was the first time in twenty years that “Little Rock [had] witnessed a mob or an attempt at enforcing mob law in this city.” James, described in some newspapers as a twenty-two-year-old “mulatto,” was originally from Augusta, Maine, but had moved south three years earlier. He worked for a time as a waiter in Hot Springs (Garland County), but for the two weeks prior to his murder, he had been working for the family of Charles Johnson in Little Rock. According to the Arkansas Gazette, the family found him to be “a faithful …

Jameson, Jordan (Lynching of)

Jordan Jameson, an African-American man, was burned to death on November 11, 1919, on the town square in Magnolia (Columbia County) for having allegedly murdered the local sheriff. Only a handful of lynchings in Arkansas were carried out by means of burning the victim while alive, most notably the 1892 lynching of Ed Coy in Texarkana (Miller County), the 1919 lynching of Frank Livingston near El Dorado (Union County), and the 1921 lynching of Henry Lowery in Mississippi County. At the time of the lynching, Jameson was described in newspaper reports as fifty years old and living four miles west of Magnolia. The 1880 census records a Jourdan Jameson, born about 1872 and living in Magnolia at the time, while …

Jefferies, Oscar (Lynching of)

In 1887, a black teacher named Oscar Jefferies from Brownstown (Sevier County) was shot to death by a group of men because he eloped with Ina W. Jones, the daughter of a wealthy white farmer. According to newspaper accounts, Oscar Jefferies, “a fine looking colored man,” arrived in Brownstown from Oswego, New York, in June 1887 to take over the “colored academy.” After his arrival, he paid considerable attention to Ina Jones, who was described as the daughter of “one of the largest plantation owners in the counties.” She welcomed his attentions, and despite her parents’ threats, in late September, she told her friends that she was going to marry Jefferies the following Sunday, October 2. When her parents heard …

Jefferson County Lynching of August 1897

Even when they appear in newspapers across the United States, some accounts of lynchings are so brief that it is difficult to uncover details or even confirm the events. Such is the case of an African American man whose body was supposedly found hanging from a trot line in the Arkansas River near Rob Roy (Jefferson County) in 1897. While the Arkansas Gazette, in an article datelined September 1, reported that the body was discovered on August 31, other sources give the date as September 1 or September 2. Due to the fact that there was a rope around the man’s neck and he had several gashes in his head, reports speculated that he had been lynched and then thrown …

Jefferson County Lynching of December 1897

In late December 1897, an unidentified African American man was found dead and reportedly lynched in a field between Altheimer (Jefferson County) and Sherrill (Jefferson County). Although some sources indicate that the supposed lynching happened in early January, the Pine Bluff Daily Graphic reported on December 30 that he had been killed on Wednesday, December 29. According to their account, the man had formerly been tried for hog stealing, “but each time, by some means, he was acquitted.” Speculation was that the man was found with another stolen hog and “parties…exasperated at the repeated defeats of justice…shot him.” On January 3, 1898, the Moline Dispatch, which erroneously noted that Sherrill was in Cleveland County, published more details on the killing. …

Jeffords, Edd

Edd Jeffords was one of the most visible figures in the Arkansas counter-culture movement centered in Eureka Springs (Carroll County) during the 1970s. In addition to organizing—along with Bill O’Neill and a host of others—the Ozark Mountain Folk Fair in 1973, Jeffords founded the Ozark Access Catalog, organized the Conference on Ozark In-Migration, and created the Ozark Institute (OI). Edd Jeffords was born in Rector (Clay County) on November 28, 1945, to Roy and Sylvia Jeffords; he had three sisters and one brother. After his father died and his mother fell into poor health, Jeffords moved to Washington State, where he graduated from high school in 1963. From 1963 to 1967, Jeffords served in the U.S. Air Force, working in …