Entries - Entry Type: Event - Starting with L

Logan County Lynching of 1874

aka: Sarber County Lynching of 1874
Brothers William G. Harris and Randolph Harris and their brother-in-law Robert Skidmore were lynched in the early morning hours of August 6, 1874, after a mob took them from the jail in Roseville (Logan County), where they were being held for stealing horses. William Harris, age twenty-four, led a gang that had terrorized the area for several years. He had been arrested for the May 2, 1872, murder of a man named McCoy and McCoy’s son who had recently moved to Arkansas from Alabama; a contemporary newspaper article reported that “the trouble was about a saddle blanket, and was unprovoked by the McCoys.” Harris was freed on $10,000 bond, owing to “the flexible conscience of the judge and prosecuting attorney …

Longview, Skirmish at

aka: Skirmish at Easling's Farm
  Longview, situated in the northwest corner of Ashley County on the Saline River, was an important transportation hub for antebellum Arkansans. When the Civil War broke out, it became even more important due to both armies’ desperate need of transportation routes for military operations. River routes were especially important in Arkansas, which had only thirty-eight miles of railroad tracks at the start of the war, the fewest of any Confederate state. By 1864, Union forces had captured the northern two-thirds of Arkansas, and the bulk of the remaining Confederate troops in the state had retreated to camps near Camden (Ouachita County). A Confederate pontoon bridge built over the Saline River at Longview made the town a crucial link between Confederate forces in …

Lonoke County Lynching of 1910

On April 4, 1910, Frank Pride and Laura Mitchell were lynched near Keo (Lonoke County) for allegedly murdering Pride’s wife and Mitchell’s husband, Wiley. The lynch mob was composed entirely of African Americans, one of a number of such lynchings in Arkansas. According to historian Karlos Hill, such lynchings were the result of African Americans’ lack of faith in the white judicial system. The lynchings often occurred in close-knit plantation societies and were an attempt to enforce community morals. Most, as in this case, occurred in domestic situations. There is almost no information available on Frank Pride or Laura and Wiley Mitchell. Newspaper accounts indicate that Pride was fifty years old, and Laura Mitchell ten years younger. Frank Pride was …

Lonoke County Race War of 1897–1898

The situation in Lonoke County was dire for African Americans during the latter half of 1897 and early 1898. In June 1897, a black normal (teacher-training) school was ransacked and one of the teachers severely whipped. In September, that same teacher was found dead. In December, Oscar Simonton, an African-American merchant, was attacked and his store ransacked. In February the following year, notices were placed on the doors of black residents warning them to leave the county on pain of death. This was closely followed by the burning of black homes and schoolhouses. Trouble had flared up several times in the county dating all the way back to Reconstruction. Many of the reports on the 1898 events refer to a …

Lost Year

“The Lost Year” refers to the 1958–59 school year in Little Rock (Pulaski County), when all the city’s high schools were closed in an effort to block desegregation. One year after Governor Faubus used state troops to thwart federal court mandates for desegregation by the Little Rock Nine at Central High School, in September 1958, he invoked newly passed state laws to forestall further desegregation and closed Little Rock’s four high schools: Central High, Hall High, Little Rock Technical High (a white school), and Horace Mann (a black school). A total of 3,665 students, both black and white, were denied a free public education for an entire year which, increased racial tensions and further divided the community into opposing camps. …

Louisiana Purchase

In 1803, the United States government purchased over 800,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River from France in what would become the largest land acquisition in American history, also known as the Louisiana Purchase. Named “Louisiana” after the French “sun king,” Louis XIV, the territory comprised most of the present-day western United States, including Arkansas. The Louisiana Purchase allowed the U.S. government to open up lands in the west for settlement, secured its borders against foreign threat, and gave the right to deposit goods duty-free at port cities (mainly New Orleans). In Arkansas, the Louisiana Purchase signaled an end to French and Spanish dominance as Americans filtered into the area. Between 1686 and the 1790s, the French …

Louisiana Purchase Survey

The purchase of the vast Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 practically doubled the size of the United States, yet little of it was marked off by the American land survey method, which divides land into square tracts, an orderly prerequisite for land ownership in the nineteenth century. The survey of this vast, new American West began in what would later become the state of Arkansas and is commemorated at Louisiana Purchase State Park on U.S. Highway 49 between Brinkley (Monroe County) and Helena (Phillips County). Since Arkansas was first, the survey enabled early sale of land that contributed to Arkansas’s being the third state admitted into the Union west of the Mississippi River (after Louisiana and Missouri). The survey …

Lowery, Henry (Lynching of)

The January 26, 1921, lynching of Henry Lowery stands out for its barbarism, as well as the national and international attention it received, happening at a time when the U.S. Congress was debating anti-lynching legislation. The brutal murder of Lowery was used in a national campaign to pass such legislation, though this proved unsuccessful. Henry Lowery was an African-American tenant farmer in Mississippi County. Lowery is reported to have disputed a matter of payment with a local planter named O. T. Craig, whose land was adjacent to that of Lee Wilson, owner of the largest cotton plantation in the South. On Christmas Day of 1920, Lowery, forty years old at the time, became intoxicated, according to reports, and decided to …

Lunenburg, Skirmish at

By the winter of 1863, much of Izard County was overrun by lawless bands of bushwhackers and guerrillas. Late that year, Union colonel Robert Livingston, commanding the First Nebraska Cavalry, was dispatched to Batesville (Independence County), having been commanded to bring some order to northern Arkansas. On January 19, Livingston dispatched a force of approximately forty-four troopers of the Fourth Arkansas Mounted Infantry Volunteers (US), led by Captain Taylor Baxter, to seek out and engage the Missouri cavalry of Colonel Thomas Freeman, which was known to be operating in the region. (Baxter was the brother of future governor Elisha Baxter.) The next day, Baxter’s force attacked Freeman’s forces camped in the Copper Valley near Lunenburg (Izard County). After a brief …

Lynching

Lynching was an extra-legal form of group violence, performed without judicial due process. Scholars enumerating cases of lynching consider only those cases in which an actual murder occurs, though some states had laws against the crime of “lynching in the second degree,” in which death did not result to the victim. Lynchings, especially in the American South, have typically been perpetrated on marginalized groups—predominately African Americans, but also Jews, immigrants, gays and lesbians, and labor movement members, often on the basis of allegations of criminal misdeed. In his 1999 dissertation on lynching, Richard Buckelew documented 318 lynchings in Arkansas, 231 of which were directed against black victims, but additional research since then has increased the number. According to the traditional …