Entries - 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 …

Desert Storm

aka: Gulf War
aka: First Gulf War
aka: Desert Shield
aka: Persian Gulf War
aka: Operation Desert Storm
On August 2, 1990, the Iraq Army under the command of President Saddam Hussein and General Ali Hassan al-Majid invaded and occupied the country of Kuwait. Following the occupation, Ali Hassan was placed in Kuwait as military governor. In response to this, the United Nations Security Council condemned the Iraqi administration and issued economic sanctions on the country. From the invasion until February 28, 1991, U.S. president George H. W. Bush, along with a coalition of thirty-eight other countries, supported the military forces deployed to the Middle East to counter this action. This build-up of forces became the first part of the 1990/1991 Gulf War and was codenamed Operation Desert Shield (August 7, 1990–January 17, 1991). The counter-strike and combat …

DeValls Bluff to Augusta, Scout from

The November 22–24, 1864, scouting expedition from DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) to Augusta (Woodruff County) was undertaken by Union troops “to capture rebel prisoners and obtain information.” Union brigadier general Christopher Columbus Andrews issued orders on November 20, 1864, for a combined infantry-cavalry detachment to go up the White River to Augusta to capture Confederate soldiers and determine the location of rebel forces in the region. Andrews suggested landing 100 infantrymen on the north shore of the Little Red River, after which they would march overland to a location across the White River from Augusta. The remaining fifty infantrymen and fifty cavalry troopers would then steam up the White so that the foot soldiers could surround Augusta and the horsemen …

DeValls Bluff to Searcy and Clinton, Scout from

The November 9–15, 1864, scout from DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) to Searcy (White County) and Clinton (Van Buren County) was undertaken to determine the location of Confederate troops in north-central Arkansas following Major General Sterling Price’s disastrous raid into Missouri. A force of the Fourth Arkansas Cavalry Regiment (US) under Major Harris S. Greeno was ordered out of DeValls Bluff on the evening of November 8, 1864, but because their horses were badly in need of shoeing they delayed leaving until the following morning. The scouting expedition—consisting of Company D under Captain Julius H. Norton and Lieutenant Nelson P. Baker and twenty-five men from Company F under Captain W. H. Warner—left DeValls Bluff on November 9, riding to Hickory Plains …

DeValls Bluff to West Point, Scout from

The Federal scouting expedition from DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) to West Point (White County) was conducted between November 16 and 18, 1864, in an attempt to capture guerrillas operating in White County. Union brigadier general Christopher Columbus Andrews reported on November 14, 1864, that guerrilla captains Howell “Doc” Rayburn and A. C. McCoy were operating around West Point and suggested sending a detachment of infantry and cavalry up the White River to “scour the settlements where some of these fellows lurk,” adding that he felt Rayburn “can be surprised at some house and captured.” Brigadier General Eugene A. Carr approved the expedition. Andrews issued orders that same day for 150 infantrymen and 100 cavalry troopers to proceed up the White …

DeValls Bluff, Affair at (December 13, 1864)

Union forces guarded a number of important outposts across the state in 1864, creating an important line of defense against possible Confederate attacks from the southwestern corner of the state. In an effort to gather intelligence about enemy movements and possible threats more effectively, Federal commanders used patrols and guards in locations where their troops would not be expected by the Confederates. Even while the information gathered was not particularly important, Union officers passed any intelligence up their chain of command, allowing their commanders to make informed decisions. This affair is an example of such an incident. Brigadier General Christopher Andrews commanded the Federal garrison at DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) in late 1864 and worked to gather information about the …

DeValls Bluff, Affair at (May 22, 1864)

One of the most dangerous missions Union soldiers could be assigned was to gather forage outside Federal outposts. Vulnerable to attack while they worked to gather food and other supplies, they often proved to be easy targets for Confederate units. This event shows how easily these groups could be surprised by the enemy. With hundreds or thousands of men in small garrisons across the countryside, Union supply lines strained to feed them all. Horses and mules had to be fed as well, so Union commanders often tried to gather as much forage nearby for their livestock as possible. West of the important Federal outpost of DeValls Bluff (Prairie County), the Grand Prairie offered quality grazing opportunities for livestock. On May …

DeValls Bluff, Affair near (November 2, 1864)

aka: Affair at Hazen's Farm
With Union outposts scattered across the state during the Civil War, small parties of Federal troops became prime targets for Confederate forces and guerrillas. The need to gather necessary forage and other supplies forced Union troops outside the confines of their fortified positions, sometimes leading to their capture, as in this engagement. In November 1864, a company of the Twelfth Michigan Infantry was tasked with guarding the railroad between DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) and what is now North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Posted about seven miles to the west of DeValls Bluff under the command of Captain Nelson Claflin, the Federals were in a vulnerable and isolated position. On November 2, 1864, Claflin dispatched eleven of his men from their …

DeValls Bluff, Skirmish at (December 1, 1863)

A small inconsequential action, the December 1, 1863, Skirmish at DeValls Bluff was typical of the warfare the Union army faced as it manned isolated posts throughout Arkansas. As regular Confederate troops withdrew from central Arkansas, guerrilla groups continued to attack these outposts. DeValls Bluff (Prairie County) was an important Federal outpost on the White River. Supplies were transported up the White River to the Union garrison in the town, where they were loaded onto railcars for transport to the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area. The troops stationed in the town protected both the river landing and rail station, as well as a large military hospital and other logistical infrastructure. The troops also patrolled the surrounding countryside for both regular …

Devil’s Backbone, Action at

aka: Action at Backbone Mountain
aka: Action at Jenny Lind
The Union victory at Devil’s Backbone secured the North’s capture of Fort Smith (Sebastian County) on September 1, 1863. Although fighting continued in the region, Fort Smith remained a Union base until the war’s end. After driving other Confederate forces farther south into Indian Territory in late August 1863, Union Major General James G. Blunt rapidly turned toward Fort Smith. Blunt’s troops skirmished with Confederate Brigadier General William L. Cabell’s brigade southwest of Fort Smith on August 31. Cabell decided to retreat southeast and sent his baggage and ordnance wagons off that evening. Discovering this Confederate retreat the next morning, Blunt took an infantry regiment and captured Fort Smith without incident, while Colonel William F. Cloud led about 700 Union …

Devoe and Huntley (Lynching of)

aka: Huntley and Devoe (Lynching of)
In early January 1898, two African Americans named Devoe and Huntley (no first names were given in the reports) were allegedly lynched near Bearden (Ouachita County) for an attempted assault on an elderly woman there a year earlier. They were apparently lynched in two different incidents, and as the authorities maintained they had escaped, few details are available. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Devoe and Huntley had attempted to assault an elderly woman named Mrs. Paine near Bearden approximately a year before the alleged lynchings. They fled the scene, but in early January 1898, Devoe returned to the Bearden area and was arrested by J. D. Best and Frank Butler. They asked him where Huntley was, and when he refused …

DeWitt Lynching of 1891

On December 21, 1891, a mob of masked men entered the jail in DeWitt (Arkansas County) and shot three men: Floyd McGregory (sometimes written as Gregory) and his father-in-law, J. A. Smith (who were both white), as well as Mose Henderson (who was African American). The three men had been put in jail for plotting to kill Smith’s wife, who had divorced him and received one-third of his property in the settlement. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Smith’s wife, Mary, divorced him because “he was unkind to her, and abandoned her companionship for that of negroes.” The case was bitterly fought, but in the end, she received damages as part of the settlement, and her former husband objected. Smith enlisted …

Dillard (Lynching of)

On January 18, 1909, a young African American man was lynched in Hope (Hempstead County) for an attempted assault on a white woman. Newspaper reports differ on the victim’s name. While most stories give his last name as Dillard, the earliest report, published in the Arkansas Democrat on January 18, calls him Hillard. Reports on his first name are also confusing. The Washington Telegraph and the Arkansas Gazette identified him as Tom Dillard, while the Nashville News gave his first name as Jim. Some lists of lynching victims give his name as John. Census and other records cast no light on this confusion. For convenience, this entry will refer to him as Dillard. According to reports, on Friday night, January …

Dodd, Frank (Lynching of)

Frank Dodd was lynched in DeWitt (Arkansas County) on October 8, 1916, by a mob of about 300. He had reportedly insulted two white women the previous day. Dodd was the second man taken from the jail at DeWitt and lynched in as many months, though the previous mob had taken its victim to Stuttgart (Arkansas County) to be murdered. The exact identity of Dodd is difficult to determine, however. In the 1910 census, there is an African-American man named Frank Dodd living in Drew County with his wife, Isabella, but by the following census year she is living with her family and going by her maiden name; he apparently disappears from the record. According to the Arkansas Gazette, Dodd …

Dollar, William, and “Fed” Reeves (Murders of)

In October 1868, a white deputy named William J. Dollar and an African-American man named “Fed” Reeves were allegedly killed by the Ku Klux Klan in Drew County. Most sources indicate that the murders occurred on October 16, but an October 18 article in the Arkansas Gazette references an article about the murders published in the Monticello Guardian on October 10, so the killings may have happened earlier. William G. Dollar appears several times in public records. In 1850, he was thirty-five and living in Cumberland County in North Carolina. Living with him were his wife, Louisa, and three children with ages ranging from one to six. In 1856 and 1859, he received land patents totaling 120 acres in Drew County, …

Donnelly, Robert (Lynching of)

Robert Donnelly, an African-American man, was lynched in Lee County on June 29, 1892, by a mob of more than 200 other African Americans. His alleged crime was the repeated assault of a twelve-year-old black girl. While black-on-black lynchings were rare, historian Karlos Hill asserts that many of those that occurred shared a number of similarities. Most of the victims were young, married males who worked as farm laborers. Many of the victims were also connected with plantation societies, communities where everyone knew each other and which were inclined to punish their own criminals. Many of the thinly populated areas in the Arkansas Delta were similar to frontier areas, where violence was rampant and white officials were unresponsive, especially to …

Dove v. Parham

Dove v. Parham was a federal desegregation lawsuit filed in the fall of 1959 in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas. The suit was filed by attorney George Howard Jr. on behalf of three African-American students who were denied transfer to the all-white Dollarway School District. The lawsuit would eventually reach the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The saga of Dove v. Parham began in 1954 when a member of the Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), William Dove, along with a small group of African-American citizens, requested that the Dollarway School District desegregate. The group’s request was denied. In 1957, Dove repeated his request to transfer his five …

Drag Shows

Arkansas has a long history of cross dressing, often called dressing in “drag.” Drag shows in the state have their roots in rural folk dramas often used as fundraisers for community institutions. Starting in the latter half of the twentieth century, drag in Arkansas became more professional in nature and is closely linked with LGBTQ+ communities across the state. Before World War II, typical drag productions were staged as part of folk plays or farcical beauty contests. These were advertised as “womanless weddings” or “womanless beauty pageants” designed to serve as fundraisers for community institutions such as churches or schools. Of these, the womanless wedding was by far the favorite in many small towns and hamlets across Arkansas. The wedding …

Drought of 1930–1931

Arkansas’s worst drought of the twentieth century took place in 1930–1931. Twenty-three states across the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys and into the mid-Atlantic region were caught in its grip. The severest drought centered upon eight Southern states, with Arkansas sixteen percent worse than the other states based on weather statistics. Agrarian blight became a precursor to corollary social, political, and disaster relief issues, which escalated and attracted national attention. The devastating Flood of 1927, financial upheaval from the 1929 stock market crash, and killer tornadoes preceded the drought that struck Arkansas in the spring of 1930. Rainfall during June and July 1930 was the lowest on record—thirty-five percent below rainfall in 1929. July temperatures, typically in the nineties, reached …

Dudley Lake, Skirmish near

aka: Scout from Brownsville (December 15–18, 1864)
The December 16, 1964, Skirmish near Dudley Lake took place during a routine scouting expedition by men of the Third Michigan Cavalry Regiment from the Union base at Brownsville (Lonoke County). Seventy-five men of Companies E, F, and G, Third Michigan Cavalry, under Captain James G. Butler of Company F, rode out of Brownsville on December 15, 1864, on a scout into what is now Lonoke County. After crossing Bayou Meto at Eagle’s Ford, they camped at Smith’s Mill, having traveled sixteen miles. The next morning, Butler dispersed his men along three different roads heading south. The troops converged before reaching Flyn’s farm near Dudley Lake, south of present-day Coy (Lonoke County). There, they ran into a small party of …

Dugan, William (Lynching of)

A white man named William Dugan was lynched in St. Charles (Arkansas County) on October 17, 1875, shortly after the Arkansas Supreme Court granted him a new trial for a murder he had allegedly perpetrated the previous year. In the fall of 1874, William Dugan was arrested on a charge of having murdered Ahib Inman near St. Charles. There is a William Dugan recorded as residing in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on the 1870 census, where he is listed as twenty-two years old, a native of Ireland, and working as a store clerk. According to an October 21, 1875, article in the Arkansas Gazette, the two men had apparently quarreled a few months previously, and “Inman had eloped with and …

Dumas (Lynching of)

On August 5, 1874, an African-American man, identified only as Dumas in newspaper reports, was killed in Greenwood (Sebastian County). His killing was in response to his alleged “murderous assault” on Jacob Greiner and then his escape from jail after his arrest. According to the Weekly New Era of Fort Smith (Sebastian County), several weeks earlier Dumas had allegedly assaulted Greiner in an effort to rob his store. He was arrested and housed in a “stout log-house or pen” with a murderer named Walls or Wall. According to the Era, the prisoners were accessed by a stairway or ladder that ran through a hole with an iron door; it was by this means that food was delivered. On August 12, 1874, …

DuMond, Wayne Eugene

aka: Wayne Dumond Affair
Wayne Eugene DuMond was a serial rapist and killer whose crimes and efforts to gain his freedom from prison vexed the political careers of three Arkansas governors: Bill Clinton, Jim Guy Tucker, and Mike Huckabee. Suspecting that DuMond might have been framed for the rape of a Forrest City (St. Francis County) woman because DuMond’s accuser was a distant cousin of Clinton, who was by then president of the United States, Governor Huckabee arranged his parole to Missouri in 1999. DuMond was convicted soon thereafter of the rape and murder of a Missouri woman and was suspected of raping and killing another woman. When Huckabee ran for president in 2007–08, DuMond’s parole and subsequent crimes became a major detriment because …