Entry Type: Event - Starting with D

Daisy Bates et al. v. City of Little Rock

aka: Bates v. City of Little Rock
Daisy Bates et al. v. City of Little Rock, 361 U.S. 516 (1960) was a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a number of the state’s local ordinances that had been enacted in an effort to harass and hamper the efforts of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other civil rights advocates. It was one of a series of cases that arose when the region’s local white power structure—seeking to fight back against the federal court decisions and black activist–sponsored direct action that threatened to bring an end to the South’s longtime legally mandated Jim Crow practices—undertook harassment campaigns against the civil rights leaders. In Little Rock (Pulaski County), this harassment took …

Danville Lynching of 1883

On September 8, 1883, two white men were forcibly taken by a mob from the jail at Danville (Yell County) and hanged from a bridge spanning the Petit Jean River. In all the stories recounting this lynching, the two victims are identified only as Dr. Flood and John Coker. One possible match for a “Dr. Flood” is John Flood, recorded in the 1880 census living in nearby Montgomery County with his wife and five children aged two to ten. He was fifty-four years old at the time of the census. The census also records a John Coker, age twenty-nine, working as a farmer and living in Ward Township, east of Danville, with his wife and young son and daughter. According …

Dardanelle and Ivey’s Ford, Actions at

The actions at Dardanelle and Ivey’s Ford were fought as Confederate troops from southwest Arkansas tested the strength of Union outposts scattered along the Arkansas River in a last attempt to challenge Union dominance of the river valley. On January 14, 1865, Colonel William H. Brooks led a Confederate force of 1,500 men consisting of his cavalry regiment, Colonel Robert C. Newton’s cavalry regiment, and Colonel Ras. Stirman’s cavalry brigade to the Arkansas River to assess the strength of Union garrisons along the river. The same day, a detachment of 276 Union men of the Cavalry Division, Seventh Army Corps, under Major J. D. Jenks of the First Iowa Cavalry Regiment disembarked from a small flotilla of Union steamboats and …

Dardanelle Lynching of 1881

On September 10, 1881, two white men—J. F. Bruce and John Taylor—were lynched in Dardanelle (Yell County) for the alleged crime of murder. J. F. Bruce had been accused of the murder of John L. White the previous February. As the Arkansas Democrat reported, Bruce, White, and other men were “camped on the Danville road, some two or three miles from Dardanelle,” when they began drinking whiskey, “partaking of the usual amount necessary to cause a fight.” That fight ended in the murder of White, whose brother was a local magistrate and “one of the most esteemed and worthy citizens of Yell county.” Taylor, according to the Democrat, reportedly “murdered a man in the bottoms below Dardanelle.” A later report …

Dardanelle, Capture of

The Capture of Dardanelle marked the opening action of Confederate Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby’s summer operations north of the Arkansas River, much of which focused on trying to thwart shipping operations on the White River and raiding the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad. After the failure of Union Major General Frederick Steele’s Camden Expedition into south Arkansas, Federal troops consolidated at Little Rock (Pulaski County), DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Helena (Phillips County), and Fayetteville (Washington County). Scattered Union detachments were stationed at places such as Dardanelle (Yell County), Clarksville (Johnson County), Norristown (Pope County), and Lewisburg (modern-day Morrilton in Conway County) to operate against guerrillas and raiders preying on U.S. shipping and communications along the …

Dardanelle, Skirmish at (August 30, 1864)

  A short and brutal clash between a Federal unit from Arkansas and Confederate irregulars operating near Dardanelle (Yell County), this skirmish is typical of the engagements that were seen in the summer of 1864 in the state. After the Camden Expedition in the spring of 1864, most organized Confederate forces returned to southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana. Some cavalry units continued to operate behind Union lines and were joined by irregulars or guerrillas. While the Federal commanders in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and other Union outposts focused much of their attention on the Confederate forces in southern Arkansas, some efforts were made to find and destroy these units operating nearby. By engaging these Confederate forces, the Federals prevented the enemy …

Dardanelle, Skirmish at (September 12, 1863)

  A small engagement occurring after the Action at Devil’s Backbone, this skirmish was part of an effort between Union forces in northwestern Arkansas to link up with their comrades moving toward Little Rock (Pulaski County) from Helena (Phillips County). The Action at Devil’s Backbone was fought on September 1, 1863, when a Union force under the command of Major General James Blunt defeated a Confederate unit under the command of Brigadier General William Cabell. The Union commander on the field at Devil’s Backbone, Colonel William F. Cloud, returned to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) after the battle, where he remained until September 9. On that date, Cloud took 200 men of the Second Kansas Cavalry and a section of artillery …

Davis, Alford (Lynching of)

In early January 1894, Alford “Alf” Davis, an African American man, was hanged by a mob in Lonoke County for allegedly stealing hogs. Alford Davis was possibly the thirty-year-old farmer who was living in Pettus Township, Lonoke County, in 1880. He was born in Alabama and was living with his wife, Emma, and three small children. In many accounts, Davis is described as an “old negro.” There were brief reports of the incident in newspapers across the country, and they differ on whether the lynching happened on January 4 or January 5. The Bolivar Bulletin indicates that Davis had been known for stealing and killing hogs “whenever it suited his convenience, regardless of the ownership of the hog.” Apparently, the …

Davis, Anthony (Lynching of)

Anthony Davis, an African-American man, was lynched in Texarkana (Miller County) on October 9, 1906, reportedly by other local black residents. The alleged crime was the assault of a teenaged girl. Davis was described in news reports as a “negro hack driver” (driver of a hackney carriage for hire) who was forty years old and had a wife and three children. A week before his murder, he was arrested for reportedly assaulting a “fifteen-year-old mulatto girl,” according to the Arkansas Gazette, though national newspapers placed her age at sixteen. The unnamed girl was en route from Baxter (Drew County) to Crockett, Texas, and had asked Davis to ferry her from one depot to another. However, he drove her outside the …

Davis, Chick (Lynching of)

On July 24, 1899, an African-American man named Chick Davis was shot by a posse near Wilmot (Ashley County). While the incident was covered briefly in numerous national newspapers, coverage in Arkansas was no more detailed. As is often the case, given that the enumeration sheets for the 1890 census were lost to fire, there was no information in public records on Chick Davis or his victim. Newspaper reports indicate that a respected area farmer named Will Grin (sometimes spelled Grinn) suspected Davis of stealing and riding his horse at night. Grin went to Davis to “expostulate” with him, and Davis shot him in the forehead, killing him instantly. Davis then fled and was pursued by a posse composed of …

Davis, Howard (Lynching of)

On October 25, 1914, a mob in Newport (Jackson County) took an African-American man named Howard Davis from county authorities and hanged him for allegedly murdering Marshal James S. Payne. Davis was supposedly assisted in the murder by an accomplice, John Woodard. Some national reporting indicates that there may have been at least one more accomplice. While there is no information available on Davis or Woodard, or on Bob Griffin, to whose house Davis fled after the shooting, Payne was apparently a popular resident of Newport. He was forty-three years old at the time of these events and had a wife and five children. Born in Missouri in 1871, he married Parlee Belford in 1892, and by 1900 they were …

Davis, Jim (Trial and Execution of)

Beginning in the 1880s and increasingly as Jim Crow laws were instituted across the South, newspapers across the United States began to expand their coverage of Southern lynchings. In addition, publications like the Chicago Tribune and organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama began to keep annual lists of lynchings. In her 1895 book The Red Record, Ida B. Wells-Barnett also attempted to include a comprehensive list of lynchings. Further examination of some newspaper accounts, however, shows that subsequent articles, particularly local to the site of the lynchings, later corrected these stories to indicate that no lynching had indeed happened. Other events that were described as lynchings were actually …

Davis, Lovett (Lynching of)

Early on the morning of May 25, 1909, an African-American man named Lovett Davis was hanged in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) for an alleged assault on a young woman named Amy Holmes. Although the Arkansas Gazette reported that Davis was from Atlanta, Georgia, and had relatives there, public records provide no information to confirm this. Amy Holmes was living in Pine Bluff with her uncle, railroad conductor H. Knowlton Padgett. Holmes was the daughter of Knowlton’s older sister, Harriett, who died in Batesville (Independence County) in 1893. She was still living with the Padgetts in 1910. According to the Pine Bluff Daily Graphic, Davis, described as a “big burly negro,” was a suspect in several robberies in Pine Bluff. Intent …

Davis, Miller (Execution of)

On some occasions, the names of individuals who were legally executed find their way onto lists of lynching victims. This is the case with Miller Davis, executed on November 10, 1893, who appeared on the Chicago Tribune’s annual lynching list, in Ida B. Wells’s The Red Record, and on at least two other lynching lists. In addition, Wells describes Davis as a Black man, when in fact he was white. According to public records, Miller Davis was a native of Tennessee. In 1880, he was living in Lawrence County, Tennessee, with his parents and a number of siblings, including his brother, Mannon. By 1892, he was living in Sevier County, Arkansas, where he married Hardie Hannah on October 9. Davis …

De Soto Expedition, Route of the

When the Spanish expedition of Hernando de Soto crossed the Mississippi River on June 28, 1541 (June 18 on the Julian calendar, which was used at the time), it entered what is now Arkansas. It spent the next eleven months roaming around the state until de Soto’s death on May 31, 1542 (May 21 on the Julian calendar). After his death, the survivors made their way to Mexico. There have been many attempts to identify the expedition’s route through Arkansas, using information from the four written accounts of the expedition. Three of these were written by men who had accompanied the expedition, and the fourth was authored forty or fifty years later, based on interviews with survivors. The route reconstructions …

Dean, Arthur (Lynching of)

On September 9, 1911, a twenty-three-year-old African-American man named Arthur Dean was lynched in Augusta (Woodruff County) for a crime spree that ended in the alleged murder of a white woman named Mrs. Albert Vaughan. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Dean had earlier been convicted of assault and had been released from the penitentiary two weeks before the crime spree. On the morning of September 8, he went to the home of Tom Ligon, an African-American farmer who lived five miles east of Augusta. This was perhaps Thomas Ligon, listed on the 1920 census as a tenant farmer living in Augusta with his wife, Mary, and six children aged thirteen and under. While at Ligon’s home, Arthur Dean encountered an …

Delta Symposium

The Delta Symposium is an annual conference sponsored by the Department of English, Philosophy, and World Languages at Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro (Craighead County). The symposium welcomes multidisciplinary submissions and presentations dealing with the Mississippi Delta region; of particular interest are submissions that engage the question of the Delta’s culture, arts, and lifestyles, and their effect upon the blues. The Delta Symposium was created in 1994 as a conference that would appeal to both the general public and the academic community. First organized under the name of the Delta Studies Symposium, this changed when it became evident that the genre of the blues offered the most wide-ranging and multidisciplinary topic for exploration. A committee composed of faculty members of …

Democratic Party Caucuses of 1984

On March 17, 1984, the state Democratic Party initiated the formal process of delegate selection to the upcoming Democratic National Convention. Participatory caucuses convened in the state’s 767 precincts with the expectation that thirty-five of the forty-two delegates chosen would reflect, proportionally, the participants’ candidate preferences. Seven slots were reserved for super-delegates, elected officials, and party organization leaders. The state party organization had traditionally taken responsibility for convention delegate selection, but national party reforms had substantially altered delegate selection processes in the states by making them more open to participation by the party rank-and-file. In this spirit, the Arkansas Democratic Party conducted presidential preferential primaries in 1976 and 1980. Those contests attracted some 500,000 and 440,000 voters, respectively. In 1983, …

Dermott Crawfish Festival

The Dermott Crawfish Festival is one of the longest continuously running festivals in Arkansas. Every third weekend of May, Dermott (Chicot County) transforms its downtown streets into an entertainment district offering carnival amusements, arts and crafts, specialty foods, pancake breakfasts, live music, a disc jockey, beauty pageants, basketball contests, fire truck rides, magic shows, bingo, karate demonstrations, a “Show Your Rims” competition, and a dog show, as well as educational exhibits and visiting local and state politicians. The festival originated with the expansion of this Delta community’s farm-based economy into aquaculture. In the early 1980s, local agriculturists Ronnie Thomas, John Green, Jimmy Duncan, and Jerry Duncan began crawfish farming. Thomas, a fishery biologist, researched superior farming and food-preparation techniques. The …

Des Arc and DeValls Bluff, Capture of

aka: Capture of DeValls Bluff and Des Arc
Des Arc (Prairie County) and DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) became two important Union military outposts between Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Helena (Phillips County). The capture and protection of these towns was a high priority for Federal commanders from 1863 until the end of the war. The towns were first captured by Federal troops in January 1863. An expedition was launched up the White River on January 13, 1863, after the capture of Arkansas Post (Arkansas County). Under the command of Brigadier General Willis Gorman, troops captured St. Charles (Arkansas County) on the first day of the expedition. Leaving the USS Cincinnati and several units behind, Gorman continued up the White River, and on January 18, the Federals captured DeValls …

Des Arc and Peach Orchard Gap, Skirmishes at

The skirmishes near Des Arc (Prairie County) and Peach Orchard Gap in early December 1864 were among many erupting as Union cavalrymen based in Brownsville (Lonoke County) sent regular scouting expeditions out in search of food and enemy troops. Colonel Washington F. Geiger of the Eighth Missouri Cavalry Regiment (US) sent a party of fifty men of the Ninth Iowa Cavalry Regiment, Company E, under First Lieutenant Henry W. Harmon out from Brownsville to seize beef cattle for the use of Union troops. On December 6, 1864, when six to ten miles west of Des Arc, they ran into a “superior force” of Captain Howell “Doc” Rayburn’s Confederate irregulars. In the sharp skirmish that followed, three of Rayburn’s men were …

Des Arc Bayou Expedition

aka: Searcy Expedition
aka: West Point Expedition
  As the Union’s Army of the Southwest marched across southern Missouri and northern Arkansas after the Battle of Pea Ridge under the command of Brigadier General Samuel Ryan Curtis, numerous expeditions were sent out in search of supplies for the men and animals and a route to capture Little Rock (Pulaski County). This expedition failed to find either, which would eventually lead Curtis to continue his trek and capture Helena (Phillips County), where resupply could be accomplished by ships on the Mississippi River. By May 1862, Brigadier General Eugene A. Carr, commander of the Second Division of the Army of the Southwest, was searching the area northeast of Searcy (White County) to find supplies and information about Confederate forces …

Des Arc Bayou, Action at

The Action at Des Arc Bayou was fought in the early morning hours of July 14, 1864, as a detachment of Brigadier General Joseph O. Shelby’s Missouri cavalry attacked the camp of a detachment from the Tenth Illinois Cavalry that had set out to confront and harass Shelby’s troops in northeast Arkansas. Shelby had taken control of all Confederate forces in northeast Arkansas in May 1864, and his troops had been raiding throughout the region, destroying a Union garrison at Dardanelle (Yell County), sinking the U.S. gunboat Queen City as it lay at anchor at Clarendon (Monroe County), and attacking trains on the Memphis to Little Rock Railroad that ran troops and supplies between the Arkansas capital and the large Federal base …