Helena and Phillips County

Bill Branch and Paula H. Oliver
History of the area
Reading With Patrick

Michelle Kuo As a young English teacher keen to make a difference in the world, Michelle Kuo took a job at a tough school in the Mississippi Delta town of Helena, sharing books and poetry with a young African-American teenager named Patrick and his classmates. For the first time, these kids began to engage with ideas and dreams beyond their small town, and to gain an insight into themselves that they had never had before. Two years later, Michelle left to go to law school; but Patrick began to lose his way, ending up jailed for murder. And that's when Michelle decided that her work was not done, and began to visit Patrick once a week, and soon every day, to read with him again...
Blood in Their Eyes

Grif Stockley In late September 1919, black sharecroppers met to protest unfair settlements for their cotton crops from white plantation owners. Local law enforcement broke up the union's meeting, and the next day a thousand white men from the Delta—and troops of the U.S. Army itself—converged on Phillips County, Arkansas, to "put down" the black sharecroppers' "insurrection." In riveting, novelistic prose, writer and Delta native Grif Stockley considers the evidence and tells the full story of this incident for the first time, concluding that black people were murdered in Elaine by white mobs and federal soldiers.
A History of Southland College

Thomas Kennedy In 1864 Alida and Calvin Clark, two abolitionist members of the Religious Society of Friends from Indiana, went on a mission trip to Helena, Arkansas. The Clarks had come to render temporary relief to displaced war orphans but instead found a lifelong calling. During their time in Arkansas, they started the school that became Southland College, which was the first institution of higher education for blacks west of the Mississippi, and they set up the first predominately black monthly meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in North America. Their progressive racial vision was continued by a succession of midwestern Quakers willing to endure the primitive conditions and social isolation of their work and to overcome the persistent challenges of economic adversity and social strife.
On the Laps of Gods

Robert Whitaker They Shot Them Down Like Rabbits . . . September 30, 1919. The United States teetered on the edge of a racial civil war. During the previous three months, racial fighting had erupted in twenty-five cities. And deep in the Arkansas Delta, black sharecroppers were meeting in a humble wooden church, forming a union and making plans to sue their white landowners. A car pulled up outside the church . . .
What happened next has long been shrouded in controversy.
In this heartbreaking but ultimately triumphant story of courage and will, journalist Robert Whitaker carefully documents–and exposes–one of the worst racial massacres in American history. On the Laps of Gods is the story of the 1919 Elaine massacre in Hoop Spur, Arkansas,
A Rift in the Clouds

Brent J. Aucoin A Rift in the Clouds chronicles the efforts of three white southern federal judges to protect the civil rights of African Americans at the beginning of the twentieth century, when few in the American legal community were willing to do so. Jacob Treiber, a Jewish man of Helena Arkansas, Emory Speer of Georgia, and Thomas Goode Jones of Alabama challenged the Supreme Court's reading of the Reconstruction amendments that were passed in an attempt to make disfranchised and exploited African Americans equal citizens of the United States. These unpopular white southerners, two of whom who had served in the Confederate Army and had themselves helped to bring Reconstruction to an end in their states, asserted that the amendments not only established black equality, but authorized the government to protect blacks.
Experiences and Prejudices

Terry F. Bowie Bowie states that what began as a personal memoir for his children and grandchildren became a journey of self-discovery as he peeled back the layers of his life. As the title implies, the book reviews the experiences and resultant prejudices of a typical late 20th century American life and explores the feelings and thoughts that ultimately formed a personality. The experiences encountered growing up in a small southern town, influenced by loving parents, shaped by formal education, the military, his church, and capped by a gratifying corporate career are brought forth in this story of an ordinary life; ordinary, but as is the case with most lives, extraordinary at the same time.
World War II
A Pilot's Experience

Robert R. Burch The men and women who were young adults in WWII have been called "The Greatest Generation". Although they were ordinary people, they accomplished extraordinary things. WW II: A Pilot's Experience tells one such story, the story of an 18 year-old boy from rural Louisiana who volunteered for service, like million of others who responded at their country's time of need. His choice was the US Army Air Force. His story provides an up-close and personal look at the details and rigors of pilot training and preparation for combat. He recounts his primary flight training experiences at Thompson-Robbins Field in Helena.
The Lion of the South

Diane Neal A man of action, determination, and decisiveness who possessed personal and physical courage, Thomas C. Hindman was hot-tempered, bold, and totally committed to triumphing over his enemies. A resident of Mississippi prior to moving to Arkansas, he entered politics at the height of his debate over the compromise of 1850. Convinced that the agreement had left the South with nothing tangible and that abolitionists would not abide by terms of the Fugitive Slave Law, he became an uncompromising advocate of Southern states' rights and defender of the peculiar institution.
The Arkansas Race Riot
Ida B. Wells-Barnett A black woman, who happened to be a Memphis newspaper owner, recalls her experiences and feelings about the 1919 Phillips County riot and the subsequent county court trial of black men accused of murdering whites during the upheaval.

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