Race and Ethnicity: African American - Starting with H

Hackett, Nelson

Nelson Hackett was an Arkansas slave whose 1841 escape to Canada (then a colony of Great Britain) led to a campaign by his owner to have him extradited to the United States on charges of theft as a way of getting around the legal sanctuary that Canada provided to fugitive slaves. Hackett’s extradition aroused the ire of abolitionists on both sides of the border and ultimately resulted in a limitation of the 1842 Webster-Ashburton Treaty’s extradition provision. Nelson Hackett enters the historical record in June 1840 when he was acquired by Alfred Wallace, a wealthy Washington County plantation owner, storekeeper, and land speculator. Hackett was described as “a Negro dandy” of about thirty years of age. Slaves in the Arkansas …

Hadley, Nat (Reported Lynching of)

Beginning in the 1880s, and increasingly as Jim Crow laws were instituted across the South, newspapers across the United States began to increase 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 Tuskegee Institute in Alabama began to keep annual lists of lynchings. Further examination of some newspaper accounts, however, shows that subsequent articles later corrected some lynching accounts to indicate that no lynching had indeed happened. False or questionable reports of this kind are often repeated on lynching lists published on the internet. This is the case with the supposed lynching of Nat Hadley (identified in one article as Newt Bradley). According …

Haley, George Williford Boyce

George Williford Boyce Haley was a U.S. ambassador, politician, civil rights activist, attorney, and policy analyst. He was one of the first African-American students to attend the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) since Reconstruction. He was also one of the first African Americans elected to the Kansas Senate. George Haley was born to Simon Haley and Bertha Haley in the small western Tennessee town of Henning on August 28, 1925. He had two brothers, one of whom, Alex, wrote the bestselling book Roots. His mother died when he was six years old. The family later moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), where, in 1939, Haley’s father accepted a position as head of the agriculture department at AM&N …

Haley, Loy (Lynching of)

Loy Haley, an African-American man, was lynched on June 15, 1915, likely near Lewisville (Lafayette County), for allegedly murdering Roy Lester, owner of a plantation in Lafayette County located in the Red River bottoms. Probably the earliest report on the violent chain of events was a June 13, 1915, article in the Arkansas Gazette. Though titled, “Lynching Near Lafayette County,” the article does not, in fact, describe a lynching but rather reports on the intended lynching of Loy Haley. According to the report, Roy Lester had remained on his plantation despite flooding on the Red River that had left his farm entirely surrounded by water, and made him “the only white man on the place.” No details of Lester’s murder …

Hall-Trujillo, Kathryn

Kathryn Hall-Trujillo is a public health expert and advocate who focuses on healthcare for African-American women. Best known for founding Birthing Project USA, “Mama Katt,” as she has been affectionately called, was named a 2010 hero by the CNN television network for her work with at-risk mothers and babies. She is a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Kathryn Hall-Trujillo was born on July 19, 1948, in Moscow (Jefferson County), a small town near Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Her mother’s name was Corrine. She has said that her grandmother was her mentor. She said of her childhood, “Even though I came from a family that was poor, I came from a very good family; we loved one another …

Hall, David

David Hall was an African-American pioneer who was part of a free black community that existed in Marion County prior to the Civil War. David Hall left no diaries or letters, but a document trail of tax records, censuses, and folk stories reveal details about his life. He was born in North Carolina in 1783, and sometime prior to 1805, he married a woman named Sarah (called Sallie), a free woman of Tennessee. Hall arrived at Bull Shoals (Marion County) in 1819 from Bedford County in central Tennessee. He and his wife settled on the White River with the two sons they already had, Absalom and David. They would later have five more children: Willoughby, Joseph, James, Margaret, and Eliza. …

Hall, Frank (Execution of)

Frank Hall was an African American man hanged in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on December 9, 1881, for murder, although he proclaimed his innocence up to his death. Frank Hall, also known as Lewis Hall, was born enslaved in Rowan County, North Carolina. Described as five feet ten inches tall and “when walking swaggers and is loose-jointed,” Hall was recruited to come to Arkansas as a laborer, finding work in Monroe County. The Arkansas Democrat reported that he soon became known as a “desperado,” suspected of murdering a man after moving to Lonoke County. He spent three years in prison for stealing money from a child and left Lonoke County after his release. He moved to a community about eight …

Hall, William Sterling

William Sterling Hall was a prominent Black psychologist. Hall’s career spanned five decades, during which he produced numerous published scholarly articles and books focusing upon several areas of psychology, including language development, cognitive development, developmental neuroscience, and neuroanatomy. William Hall was born on July 6, 1934, in Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke counties) to Joseph William Hall, who was a housing developer, and Mattie Brock Hall, an educator. Hall had two siblings, brother Joseph Lesley Hall and sister Bessie Ruth Hall Perry. Hall attended Scipio A. Jones High School in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) and graduated in 1951. Education and religion were both very important in Hall’s home; many members of his family were ministers and educators. After high school, …

Hallelujah

Hallelujah (1929), one of the earliest Hollywood feature films shot on location in Arkansas, was innovative in several ways. It was the first talking picture made by popular director King Vidor and one of the first Hollywood pictures with an exclusively African-American cast. It also introduced an early form of sound dubbing. Vidor had wanted to make a movie with an all-black cast for many years, but studio chiefs at Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) rejected the idea until Vidor suggested making a musical. Even then, Vidor had to defer his usual $100,000 directing salary against any of the film’s profits. Hallelujah tells the story of a young sharecropper-turned-preacher who must fight the temptations of a beautiful city girl. The musical …

Hamilton, Lawrence Olivier

Lawrence Olivier Hamilton was a Broadway star who appeared in such shows as Porgy and Bess, The Wiz, and Jelly’s Last Jam. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame in 2005. Lawrence Hamilton was born on September 14, 1954, in Ashdown (Little River County), one of seven children of Oscar Hamilton and Mae Dell Neal-Hamilton. He later lived in Foreman (Little River County). He attended Foreman Public Schools and took piano lessons from a woman who had been a friend of ragtime composer Scott Joplin. He studied music education (as well as piano and voice) at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia (Clark County), receiving a bachelor’s degree. In …

Hampton Lynching of 1872

On March 12 or 13, 1872, a jailed African-American man alleged to have assaulted a white man named Tom Tatum was killed by a mob that stormed the Hampton (Calhoun County) jail and set it on fire. As is often the case, reports are conflicting, and it is hard to sort out the facts. On April 6, an account in the Memphis Daily Appeal, which references the March 28 edition of the Magnolia Flower, reported that “several weeks ago” an unidentified Black man attempted to kill Tatum. The alleged assailant fled, and a group of African Americans captured him near Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). He was put in jail in Hampton pending trial. According to the Appeal, “an enraged set …

Hampton Race War of 1892

aka: Calhoun County Race War of 1892
The Hampton Race War (also referred to as the Calhoun County Race War in many sources) occurred in September 1892 and entailed incidents of racial violence all across the southern part of the county. While many sources have attributed the events in Calhoun County to Arkansas’s passage of the Election Law of 1891, with provisions that vastly complicated the voting process for illiterate citizens of all races and effectively kept them from voting, it seems that the trouble in the county started prior to the early September election. Racial unrest was widespread in Arkansas in the 1890s, especially across the southern counties. Incidents increased after the state began passing Jim Crow legislation that limited the rights of its black citizens. (According …

Hampton, Sybil Jordan

Sybil Jordan Hampton has served as a higher education administrator, leader in philanthropy, and political advisor during her career. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2005. Sybil Jordan was born on September 1, 1944, in Springfield, Missouri, to Leslie W. Jordan and Lorraine H. Jordan. Her mother was a longtime educator, and her father was a World War II veteran who worked for the U.S. Postal Service. Jordan grew up in Little Rock (Pulaski County) under the Jim Crow system of racial segregation, drinking from “colored” water fountains and attending segregated schools. After the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision ruling that racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional, Little Rock …

Handy, Delores

Delores Handy became an award-winning African-American journalist, reporter, and news anchor. In a career spanning over four decades, Handy won four Emmy awards for her television work in Washington DC and Boston, Massachusetts. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2009. Delores Handy was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on April 7, 1947, to the Reverend George G. Handy Sr. and his first wife. She is the oldest of fourteen children—nine girls and five boys. George Handy Sr. pastored a Baptist church in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Handy attended Horace Mann High School, with her interests including flag football and track and field. She graduated in 1965 and began college in the fall at …

Harris, E. Lynn

aka: Everette Lynn Harris
Everette Lynn Harris was a bestselling author of novels about African-American men in gay and bisexual relationships. In his nine novels, which have sold more than three million copies, the gay characters are “on the down low,” or have not publicized their sexuality. Harris, a Black man, endured years of abuse at the hands of his stepfather and for years denied his own homosexuality. E. Lynn Harris was born on June 20, 1955, in Flint, Michigan, to Etta Mae Williams and James Jeter, who were unmarried. When Harris was three, he moved with his mother to Little Rock (Pulaski County), where she worked as a housekeeper. She soon married Ben Odis Harris, who helped raise Harris until he was thirteen, …

Harris, Ernest James

Ernest James Harris was an accomplished entomologist known for his work on breeding Biosteres arisanus, a species of wasp that parasitizes fruit fly eggs. Thanks to the work done by Harris, B. arisanus has been bred on a large scale for the purposes of pest eradication. More than twenty nations have adopted use of the “Harris strain” of the wasp for fruit fly eradication. Harris was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1999. Ernest J. Harris was born on May 24, 1928. His parents had a farm in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), where Harris’s interest in insects first developed. After graduation, he attended Arkansas AM&N (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). There, he majored …

Harris, Frank (Lynching of)

On August 18, 1871, an African-American man named Frank Harris was lynched at Wittsburg (Cross County) for allegedly murdering a twelve-year-old white girl named Isy Sanders, the daughter of Isaiah Sanders. According to the 1870 census, farmer I. Sanders was living near Wittsburg with his wife K. Sanders, their daughter S. J. (age twelve), and two sons, I. L. G. (age eleven) and M. C. (age five). That same year, a twenty-five-year-old African-American farm laborer identified as F. Harris was also living with his wife near Wittsburg, only two households away from the Sanders family. In addition, there was another African American named Frank Hare living not far away near Wittsburg with his wife M. Hare and four children between …

Harris, George (Lynching of)

On February 23, 1892, an African-American man named George Harris was lynched by a mob near Varner (Lincoln County) for allegedly murdering E. F. Parker (sometimes referred to as S. F. Parker) the previous September. According to newspaper accounts, Parker was a “peaceable and inoffensive citizen of Lincoln County.” He had previously lived in Drew County, where he married Mary McCloy of Monticello in 1882. There is no official record of a man named George Harris in either Lincoln or Drew counties, but the Arkansas Democrat noted that he had formerly lived on Steve Gaster’s plantation in Drew County. At the time of the 1880 census, there was a Steve Gaster living in Ferguson (Drew County) with his mother-in-law, Rachel …

Harris, Gilbert (Lynching of)

On August 1, 1922, a mob of as many as 500 people broke into the Hot Springs (Garland County) jail and, brandishing guns, forcibly took a man and lynched him at the triangle in front of the Como Hotel located at the intersection of Central and Ouachita avenues. In his memoirs, Roswell Rigsby (1910–2001), an eyewitness to the lynching, stated, “I believe this was the last lynching in Hot Springs, at least in public.” There are some conflicting reports as to the first name of the man lynched. There are references to his first name being Punk, Bunk, and Gilbert; however, all accounts list his last name as Harris. Accounts of the hanging appeared in newspapers as far away as …

Harris, Jack (Lynching of)

On June 25, 1903, an African American man named Jack Harris was lynched in Clarendon (Monroe County) for allegedly attacking his employer, planter John A. Coburn. In 1900, Harris, a twenty-six-year-old bachelor, was living with his mother Ann in Monroe County and working as a farmer. The 1880 census indicates that Coburn, born in Searcy County in 1866, was living with his parents Arthur J. and Mary Elizabeth Hixon Coburn in White County. By 1894, he was in Monroe County, where he married Sallie D. Knight. Apparently on June 21, 1903, Harris rode one of Coburn’s mules without his permission. When Coburn asked him for an explanation, Harris allegedly struck him with a piece of timber, breaking one of his …

Harrison Race Riots of 1905 and 1909

Though nowhere near as murderous as other race riots across the state, the Harrison Race Riots of 1905 and 1909 drove all but one African American from Harrison (Boone County), creating by violence an all-white community similar to other such “sundown towns” in northern and western Arkansas. With the headquarters of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) located nearby, Harrison has retained the legacy of its ethnic cleansing, in terms of demographics and reputation, through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. The U.S. Census of 1900 revealed a black community in Harrison of 115 people out of 1,501 residents. This constituted a vibrant community that, despite its poverty, had a cohesive culture and deep roots. By all accounts, …

Harrison, John Henry (Lynching of)

On February 3, 1922, an African-American man was lynched in Malvern (Hot Spring County) for allegedly harassing white women and girls. While a number of newspaper accounts, as well as a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) annual report, identify him by the name of Harry Harrison, and the Arkansas Gazette identified him as John Harris, research conducted in large part by the Hot Spring County Historical Society indicated that his name was John Henry Harrison. Harrison was living in Malvern at the time of the 1920 census; he was thirty-eight years old, married, and worked as a laborer in a lumber mill. He was a native of North Carolina and could both read and write. According …

Hartman, Ena

Ena Hartman is an unsung trailblazer of Hollywood whose smaller roles in 1960s media productions helped create a path for African Americans in film and television. African-American actresses working in the 1970s benefited from the trail Hartman helped blaze. Ena Hartman was born on April 1, 1935, in Moscow (Jefferson County). The daughter of sharecroppers, she was raised by her grandparents. At age thirteen, she moved to Buffalo, New York, to live with her mother. She dropped out of high school to open a restaurant, handling the duties of cook and waitress as she tried to earn money to go to New York City to become a model. She was discovered by a photographer in the lobby of a modeling …

Hathaway, Isaac Scott

Isaac Hathaway was an educator and artist most known for creating more than 100 busts and masks of prominent African Americans. Hathaway taught at what is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) for more than twenty years as the first chair of the department of ceramics in the college’s art department. Isaac Scott Hathaway was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on April 4, 1872, to Elijah and Rachel Hathaway. He and his two sisters were raised by their father and grandparents, as their mother died in 1874. Hathaway attended Chandler Junior College and the New England Conservatory of Music’s art department, pursuing his childhood dream of sculpting busts of “famous Negroes.” Hathaway spent two years at the Conservatory …

Havis, Ferd

aka: Ferdinand Havis
Ferdinand Havis was born a slave but became an alderman, state representative, assessor, and county clerk, and was called the “Colored Millionaire” of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Ferd Havis was born in Desha County on November 15, 1846, the son of John Havis, a white farmer, and a slave mother. In 1859, Havis’s father moved his operations to Jefferson County. Havis received a little common school education and learned the barbering trade. Later, he owned a profitable barbershop on West Court Street in Pine Bluff. The shop later moved to Barraque Street. Havis married three times. His first wife, Dilsa, died childless in 1870. His second wife, Geneva, died on August 4, 1886; they had one child, Ferda. He married …

Hawkins, Edwin Luther, Sr.

Edwin Luther Hawkins Sr. was an African-American educator in Little Rock (Pulaski County) who served as principal of Dunbar High School, where he was involved with the students who desegregated Little Rock Central High School. A few years after the Central High Desegregation Crisis, Hawkins became the first Black principal of Central High. Born on December 2, 1914, to Joseph B. Hawkins and Gertrude Hawkins, Edwin L. Hawkins grew up in Denton, Texas. He received a BA in education from Texas College in Tyler in 1938. A few years later, he received an MA in chemistry from Indiana University in Bloomington. In addition, he completed some graduate work at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He married …

Hayden, Bud (Lynching of)

On June 3, 1898, Bud Hayden was lynched in Texarkana (Miller County) for allegedly assaulting twelve-year-old Jessie Scott, the daughter of the late James V. Scott, former circuit clerk. Although Hayden claimed to be twelve years old at the time, the authorities estimated his age to be at least eighteen. The Arkansas Gazette’s reports of the lynching were carried in newspapers across the country, including the Atlanta Constitution, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Herald. At the time of the 1880 census, J. V. Scott was living in Cut Off Township in Miller County. He was a twenty-four-year-old farmer living with his wife, Talitha, who was twenty. There was only one African-American family named Hayden in the county. …

Hayes, Morris Kevin

Arkansas native Morris Hayes is a talented musician, producer, and band leader. As a keyboardist, Hayes has worked with superstars such as Prince, George Clinton, Elton John, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder. He was one of the 2013 inductees into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Morris Kevin Hayes was born on November 28, 1962, in the small town of Jefferson (Jefferson County), just outside Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). He was inspired by the religious music he heard in church as a child. He majored in art at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). When a rhythm and blues (R&B) band on campus lost its keyboard player, Hayes—who had learned to play a bit in high school—offered to …

Haygood Seminary

Haygood Seminary in Washington (Hempstead County) was established in 1883 as one of the first schools for African Americans funded by the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) in Arkansas. Its mission was to prepare preachers and teachers for their vocation so that they could help with the education and development of other African Americans. Haygood Seminary was one of the first five educational institutions in the South supported by the CME Church in the late nineteenth century. Haygood Seminary, also known as Haygood Academy, was organized in March 1883 by former slave John Williamson in Washington. His former master was the Reverend Samuel Williamson of the Presbyterian Church in Washington. John Williamson was a member of the CME congregation in …

Haynes, George Edmund

George Edmund Haynes, the first African American to earn a PhD from Columbia University, was a pioneering sociologist, a social worker, a policy expert, and cofounder of the National Urban League. George Haynes was born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on May 11, 1880, to Louis and Mattie Haynes. His father was a laborer and his mother a domestic worker. He graduated from the Richard Allen Institute and, in 1903, earned a BA in sociology at Fisk University. He earned an MA in the same field at Yale University a year later and continued his studies at the University of Chicago, the New York School of Philanthropy, and Columbia University. Meanwhile, he was employed by the Colored Men’s Department of the …

Hellom (Lynching of)

In late September 1903, an African-American man named Hellom was hanged by a black mob in Mississippi County for allegedly assaulting two young girls. Census records for the year 1900 reveal that there were three black men in Mississippi County who might have been the victim of the mob. All lived in nearby households in Fletcher Township, and all had a similar surname. The first was Oscar Hullum, age twenty-five, who was working as a farm hand and boarding with Brady and Mary Randolph. The second was Will Hellum, age twenty-three, a farm worker who was living nearby with his wife, Lucy, and their son, Jonathan. Living with them was a brother-in law, Arthur Hullum, age twenty-two, and three other …