After the Elaine, Arkansas race massacre in 1919, in which perhaps more than 200 African Americans were killed, twelve black men were sentenced to death for their alleged role in events. The trials of the men were conducted in a local courthouse surrounded by an armed white mob; their appointed lawyers did not subpoena witnesses or allow their clients to testify; and many of the trails lasted less than an hour with the juries taking less than ten minutes to find them guilty. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People oversaw the appeals, with Little Rock black attorney Scipio Jones playing a pivotal role. Six of the men subsequently had their convictions overturned by the Arkansas Supreme Court; the remaining six were eventually freed under indefinite furloughs.
The Elaine Twelve
By John Kirk • Apr 2, 2017