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Elaine 12 Defendants to Be Added to Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail

Elaine

Twelve new names will be added to the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail in November.

On Nov. 5, the Elaine 12 – the exonerated defendants of the 1919 Elain Massacre – will be added permanently during the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s annual Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail Induction Ceremony. The event is set for Nov. 5, at 10 a.m., at UA Little Rock’s downtown site, located at 333 President Clinton Ave.

The 12 individuals are Alfred Banks, Ed Coleman, Joe Fox, Albert Giles, Paul Hall, Ed Hicks, Frank Hicks, Joe Knox, John Martin, Frank Moore, Ed Ware, and William Wordlaw.

Following the Elaine Massacre, these individuals – black sharecroppers from Phillips County in southeastern Arkansas – were convicted of murder and sentenced to death by all-white juries. In 1923, the Supreme Court overturned the wrongful convictions for six of the Elaine 12 members.

During the induction ceremony, local leaders, including UA Little Rock Chancellor Christina Drale; U.S. Congressman French Hill; Lenora Marshall, a member of the Elaine Quorum Court, Kwami Abdul-Bey, co-convenor of the Arkansas Peace and Justice Memorial Movement; and Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott will will speak. In addition, UA Little Rock history professor Dr. Brian Mitchell and students will read the names, birth places and places of death for all of the Elaine 12 defendants.

Founded in 2011, the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail was designed to “acknowledge the sacrifices and achievements made by those wo fought for racial and ethnic justice in Arkansas,” according to the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage website. New individuals who have had an impact on the civil rights movement in Arkansas, as well as an impact on racial equality in the state, are added to the trail every year.

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