On September 30, 1919, local law enforcement in rural Phillips County, Arkansas, attacked black sharecroppers at a meeting of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. The next day, hundreds of white men from the Delta, along with US Army troops, converged on the area “with blood in their eyes.” What happened next was one of the deadliest incidents of racial violence in the history of the United States, leaving a legacy of trauma and silence that has persisted for more than a century. In the wake of the massacre, the NAACP and Little Rock lawyer Scipio Jones spearheaded legal action that revolutionized due process in America.
The first edition of Grif Stockley’s Blood in Their Eyes, published in 2001, brought renewed attention to the Elaine Massacre and sparked valuable new studies on racial violence and exploitation in Arkansas and beyond. With contributions from fellow historians Brian K. Mitchell and Guy Lancaster, this revised edition draws from recently uncovered source material and explores in greater detail the actions of the mob, the lives of those who survived the massacre, and the regime of fear and terror that prevailed under Jim Crow.
This project was funded in part by a grant from the Black History Commission of Arkansas
Introduction to the Revised Edition
Introduction to the First Edition
Chronology of Events
Chapter 1 – Charles Hillman Brough’s Midnight Train Ride
Chapter 2 – The Law of the Delta
Chapter 3 – The Boys from Camp Pike
Chapter 4 – A Committee of Seven
Chapter 5 – More Than One Version
Chapter 6 – Little Rock and New York
Chapter 7 – The Trials Begin
Chapter 8 – Colonel Murphy for the Defense
Chapter 9 – The Retrials of the Ware Defendants
Chapter 10 – The Changing of the Guard
Chapter 11 – Affidavits from Unlikely Sources
Chapter 12 – Moore v. Dempsey
Chapter 13 – Scipio Jones Takes Charge
Conclusion – On the Larger Meaning of Elaine
A Note on Sources
“This expanded edition of Blood in Their Eyes: The Elaine Massacre of 1919 is a valuable resource for coming to grips with one of the most significant episodes of racial violence in Arkansas and US history. Building on Grif Stockley’s pathbreaking first edition, Stockley, Mitchell, and Lancaster offer further analysis that incorporates newly uncovered sources, subsequent historical scholarship, and other recent developments in the efforts to excavate what occurred in Phillips County, Arkansas, in 1919. Their thoughtful, essential scholarship draws from a deep and probing knowledge of Arkansas and southern history. Their book is one of the best local studies of American racial violence that I have read.”
—Michael J. Pfeifer, author of Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society, 1874-1947
The first edition of Blood in Their Eyes won the 2002 Booker Worthen Literary Prize and the 2003 American Association of State and Local History Award.