|The Bloody Red River Valley
|The 1893 lynching of Henry Smith was the beginning of what scholars call "Spectacle Lynching" - a vigilante execution where the lynchers are
known by name, and in which the lynching is attended and condoned by thousands of spectators, city leaders, and private industry. (LOC)
After the Civil War, the people who had been enslaved didn't suddenly enjoy full freedom. Most people who have power - and especially
people who did not earn it but simply inherited it - do not give up their advantages easily. In the United States, money equals might; in the
American South, that wealth was counted in land, enslaved people, and white racism. American capitalism was founded on cruelty, and
freedom after the Civil War didn't change that. What made the incredible cruelty in the years between 1866 and 1960 in the Red River Valley
so much more noticeable than before the Civil War was that after 1866, violence became a public act reported in the newspapers rather
than an undocumented act in the confines of plantations.
The following articles document several instances of post-Civil War violence that whites inflicted on blacks soley because of their race.
Almost exclusively, prominent white men (i.e., town leaders, bankers, planters, doctors, etc) accused black men of raping white women and
children, or murdering their employers/debtors. These accusations were often not met in a court of law. Instead, they resulted in brutal
public, extra-legal executions. The white men in the lynching mobs were easily recognizable to their fellow citizens, and newspapers
explained their crimes in great detail. However, NOT ONE of the white men ever faced criminal charges after carrying out heinous acts that
included genital and bodily mutilation and torture.
The examples of racial violence in the Reconstruction and Post-Reconstruction periods along the Red River Valley are not an exhaustive
list. I will be adding more histories as time and research allow.
Do you have information to share? Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Between 1866 and 1930, the New South along the Red River witnessed racist brutality against African
Americans by white supremacists.
|Geography of crime: the areas circled in red are where Cullen Baker lived and conducted his crimes; this give the reader the perspective of
Baker's negative influence in the region. This is Cass County in 1937 and the inset is Bowie County in 1921. (US Bureau of Chem & Soil)
After the Civil War, Ku Klux Klan dens infiltrated the Red River Valley. The purpose of these dens was terroristic - they meant to undermine
the Reconstruction government, stop freedmen from voting, and intimidate African American people into states of quasi-slavery again.
Although local historians have pretended these dens were secret, they were not. The men who belonged to them tended to be prominent
and embedded members of their communities, and all of them were former Confederates; of course the names of the Klansmen were
known to their families, but they won't talk.
Cullen Baker, originally from Tennessee, was like a Klansman in all the methods except that his own family disavowed him. His racism,
supremacism, and wanton cruelty were exceptional in a time period of exceptional violence - he killed over 200 people in southwestern
Arkansas and northeastern Texas in the Reconstruction period. He wasn't simply a killer. He was a mass murderer who targeted African
Americans, caravans, soldiers, and Reconstructionists.
Baker was drafted into the confederate army and then deserted his regiment during the Civil War. Apologists say that he had been
wounded, but considering violent proclivities towards women and having killed at least two men prior to his enlistment, it's safe to say his
problem was a violent disdain for authority and a grandiose sense of self. During his brief time as a Confederate soldier, he didn't impress
with any valor. Instead, he shot an African American woman in Sevier County, Arkansas simply because he wanted to. He shot an African
American boy to death near the Sulphur River. In 1864, Baker joined the Union Army in Little Rock and was put in charge of a contingent of
African American workers. He shot one of the workers to death and then fled to Perry County in northwestern Arkansas.
Desertion was actually a fairly common practice for both Southern and Northern soldiers. When the young deserters came back to their
home territories, they congregated into vigilante gangs that proposed to ferret out "draft dodgers" but in reality, simply existed to
terrorize, rob, and rape whomever they chanced upon (Quantrill's Guerillas are another good example). Baker belonged to a gang that
styled themselves as "Independent Rangers." In October of 1864, Baker and the gang stopped a wagon train of men, women, and children
(both races) who were leaving Perry County, Arkansas due to the gang violence. The gang stopped them at the Saline River crossing and
proceeded to massacre the civilians.
Baker and his gang mostly hid out in the Sulphur River bottoms near his father's house in Cass County, TX (styled as Davis County during
the Civil War in honor of Jefferson Davis) and occassionally, in the Red River bottom in Lafayette County, AR. He and his second wife (the
first one, with whom he had a daughter that he abanonded, died young) lived in a house at Line Ferry along the Sulphur River in Miller
County. When she died in 1865, Baker tried to marry his wife's sister Bell Foster, but she was a smart woman and refused him. She instead
married Thomas Orr, a school teacher. Baker sought to kill Orr on multiple occassions thereafter, but in a twist of fate, Orr wound up killing
According to Orr's 1870 book, Cullen Baker had a reputation as a "negro killer." Doc Quinn, a freedman from Texarkana, explained that after
he saved Cullen Baker from drowning at Fulton, Quinn received protection from Baker. Quinn returned the favor by helping Baker
massacre black men on the pretense of forming "a colored militia to catch Cullen Baker and his gang." Once gathered, the freedmen were
shot to death - according to Quinn, Baker and his gang shot 53 at Homan, 86 at Rocky Comfort, six at Ogden, 62 in Jefferson, 100 in
northern Louisiana, and 73 at Marshall. Thomas Orr described a massacre at Howell Smith's plantation by the Sulphur River, where Cullen
Baker and his gang shot and stabbed to death a whole family of freedmen.
The incredible violence that Baker displayed towards African Americans was not an aberration. Texas and Arkansas were soaked in the
blood of freedmen during the Reconstruction period as well as afterward. White southern men killed, maimed, and raped blacks with
impunity. The Freedmen's Bureau in Sherman listed so many atrocities committed by whites that the federal soldiers became nearly
despondent. That Baker could kill over 200 people and never face trial or punishment is testament to the complicity of the whites that
surrounded him. Historians aptly named this period an all-out race-war that was meted out exclusively by whites, who protected each other.
To unrepetant Confederates, Cullen Baker became, in Thomas Orr's words, the "yankee killer" and "Bowie County hero" who was the sole
survivor of the South's "lost cause."
Baker, however, was also a murderer of white men. While white Confederates didn't chase him for killing blacks, they did so for killing
whites. Citizen militias formed in places like Rondo and Bright Star. Union troops placed a substantial bounty on his head. Baker finally met
his violent end in 1869 when a posse, led by Thomas Orr, showed up at Baker's father-in-law's house in Bloomburg and shot him to pieces.
The posse then dragged the body to Jefferson (Marion County, TX), where Thomas Orr collected the reward.
Cullen Baker was a truly despicable man. The complicity of whites and Doc Quinn, who helped him commit his horrendous acts, was not
|Paris, Texas and the heinous lynching of Henry Smith
|Myrtle Vance, daughter of a Lamar County deputy sheriff, became the victim of a horrendous assault and murder, for which Henry Smith, a
black man, was accused. (The facts in the case of the horrible murder of little Myrtle Vance and its fearful expiation at Paris, Texas, February
1st, 1893. Published by Paris News. LOC)
Paris, the New South
In the early 1890s, Paris, Texas was a busy and fairly prosperous town. The financial panic that hit in the period dealt the city with some
uncertainty, but overall, Paris saw itself growing. Horse-drawn street cars, hotels, restaurants, numerous churches, cotton compresses,
seed oil mills, substantial public buildings, two major railroads, and a silk-stocking district along South Main and Church streets attested to
the city's economic progress.
Many laborers from outside of the city flocked to Paris in this period to find work. One of them was Henry Smith, who traveled with his wife
from his home in Ozan (Hempstead County, Arkansas) to Paris. Smith did not have steady employment, and apparently was an alcoholic.
According to his wife, Sue Smith, he had beaten her and attempted to rape their daughters. Henry Vance, a deputy police officer, had
arrested and clubbed Smith for public intoxication. According to Vance, Smith had begun to harass him after the incident. In late January of
1893, Vance's daughter, three-year-old Myrtle, went missing. Her mutilated body was found in a park in the southeast part of town.
Examination determined that she had been raped and "literally torn in twain." The violence perpetrated against her little body had been so
extreme that her perineum had been torn, which led her to bleed to death.
Understandably, the Vance family and all of Paris were outraged by the incredible violence endured by this child. Crowds of white men
milled outside the courthouse, waiting for word on a suspect. Black men met at the courthouse, condemning the crime in an official
statement. It became obvious rather quickly that a black man was to be singled out as the culprit - Henry Smith, the man who had sworn
vengeance against Henry Vance and who was now nowhere to be found. Several witnesses claimed that they had seen him carry the girl
through town, and a hat similar to Smith's was found at the crime scene. (Interestingly, at least one account of Smith's arrest stated that
Smith was found to be wearing his hat.)
By this time, Henry Smith had left Paris. If he did so because he was actually guilty of the crime, or because he simply wanted to remove
himself from the impending explosion of mob violence in Paris, is not known.
Citizen's militia and the sheriff's office formed several posses, comprised of both black and white men, to find Henry Smith. The posses
were led by James T. Hicks, B. B. Sturgeon, and G. W. Crook. The Texas & Pacific Railroad and the St. Louis & San Francisco Railway both
offered free rides to the posses. The posses followed Smith's trail to Clow (near Hope) in Hempstead County, Arkansas, where Constable
Robinson, an African American man from Ozan, arrested him. Smith was captured but adamantly denied culpability. Area newspapers widely
reported his arrest, but also that something very sinister was in the works: a headline in the Austin Weekly Statesmen portended that
"unless all signs fail the horrible murder of the little girl will be speedily avenged."
James Hogg, the Texas governor, was concerned about mob violence. His telegrams to D. S. Hammond, the county's sheriff, implored him
to place Henry Smith into custody so that he could face trial; Hogg even ordered that Smith not be brought to Paris to avert mob violence.
The Sheriff and county attorney responded that they were "helpless" against "an enraged public."
The posse took Henry Smith back to Paris on the Texas & Pacific passenger train. Here, surrounded by the armed posses, Henry Smith
confessed to the crime. His confession was by then already moot, because the posse was convinced they had the correct culprit, and knew
that the citizens of Paris were planning for vengeance. Thus, they deliberately showed Smith at every town along the town's path. It took a
week to bring Smith to Paris, with a violent frenzy building among the whites throughout North Texas. The whites in Paris - including law
enforcement officers, bankers, business owners, and other prominent individuals - erected a scaffold on the prairie behind the town's
Texas & Pacific Depot. Newspapers reported that Smith was to face a public execution for his crime. People from as far away as Sherman,
Greenville, and Dallas came to Paris to witness what was to become the first "spectacle lynching" in the United States.
The term "spectacle lynching" was coined by historians after Smith's brutal murder. I call what happened to him a "murder" because this
was not a legal execution; Smith never received a trial. Instead, upon his arrival into Paris, white town folk paraded him on a float through
downtown, men placed a cardboard crown mockingly on his head, and they drove him to the scaffold they had hastily built on the south side
of town. This parade passed by the manicured lawns and genteel homes along Church Street in the afore-mentioned silk-stocking row,
where thousands lined up to jeer the doomed man, then follow him to his final destination.
The county judge, J. C. Hodges, addressed the crowd, saying that the "people of Lamar county and their neighbors had assembled to
discharge one of the most solemn duties ever executed by a people, whether in their own right or by the arm of law... Here the people,
horrified at a crime so atrocious... had resolved upon a punishment commensurate to the offense."
Myrtle Vance's family - father Henry, her fifteen year old brother, and her uncle, James Pleasant - awaited Smith on the make-shift platform
on which the word "JUSTICE" had been painted. They tied him to a stake. A pail of hot coals heating branding irons stood at Smith's feet.
Vance read the confession Smith had given, then proceeded to torture him. The men took the branding irons and burned the soles of
Smith's feet, then rolled the irons along his body until they reached his eyes, and gouged them out. Smith's tongue was cut off, and the
men sliced off his genitalia. Using cotton bolls soaked in oil, the men lit Smith, who was still alive, on fire. The fire's intense heat burned his
lower extremities first, so that Smith was aware of his immolation throughout the ordeal. At one point, his ropes burned off and his
mutilated arms tried to wipe his sightless eyes. The scaffold collapsed, and Smith attempted to escape the flames, but the crowd pushed
him back with their feet. James Pleasant, one of the murderers, surmised in his book on the "Paris Horror" that Smith must have been
possessed, as he "clung to his unhallowed life." The slow burning of a human body who continued to wail across the prairie on this cold
February at the southern entrance to the city was attended by fifteen thousand people.
After the spectacle, souvenir hunters picked through the charred remains to find bones, and professional photographers took
photographs to sell as postcards.
While the newspapers along the Red River Valley condoned this "grim spectacle," newspapers in larger cities condemned the "barbaric"
eye-for-an-eye retaliation. The New York Herald even asked independent sources to verify accounts as they couldn't deem such
"increditable" eye witness testimony possible. The Indianapolis Journal wrote that the "father of the child, the leader in the desire for
revenge, and his conduct proved he was imbued with the Spirit of a Demon." Many Texans lamented that this execution was uncivilized,
atrocious, and inhuman. Governor Hogg demanded that the men responsible for the lynching be arrested, but this never happened. Lamar
county citizens simply called Hogg's demands "political horse play." A rumor circulated that "2,500 negroes" were to overrun Paris, but this
was a lie, of course. The white supremacist overtone of the lynching can be summarized in a letter sent by a New Yorker to Henry Vance
after the lynching: "On behalf of thousands of New York City thoroughbred men... permit me to commend and applaud in the highest
possible way, the action of yourself and friends. New York... will stand should to shoulder with Texas... in wiping such devils from the earth."
The Paris News argued in an editorial from Feb 5, 1893 that the lynching of Henry Smith was simply a response to Reconstruction, a period
which allowed the suppression of whites. This projectionism drew a number of convoluted conclusions and outright generalizations: "The
time has come when the moral and law-abiding must resolve that, come what may, they will no longer submit to be dominated by ignorance
and brutality." To the editors of the Paris News, the crime against Myrtle Vance was not committed solely against Myrtle Vance, and the
crime was not solely perpetrated by Henry Smith. Instead, the raping of Myrtle Vance stood for the violation of white supremacy by the
people freed from slavery. A former Confederate soldier from Gainesville, TX likened the lynching to an act of God, "meted... through the
instrumentality of the people." Paris lawyer J. W. Ownby explained that the rape of Myrtle Vance constituted the besmirching of all white
womanhood by black, Indian, and Mexican savages - thereby perpetuating the South as a mythic place of virtue while ignoring the
thousands of rapes committed against minority women by white men during this period. An editorial in the Memphis Commercial defended
the actions of the white mob in Paris because "the crimes by negroes keep the people of every southern community in a perpetual
condition of suppressed terror and rage." This "southern community" that garnered the newspaper's sympathies, by the way, were
comprised of the same people who owned almost all of the property in the city, who held all of the city's power positions, whose
generational wealth continued to grow, and who had ready access to high schools and colleges.
As there are no other sources to go by from this period except the newspapers, historians have to assume that Henry Smith raped and
killed Myrtle Vance in one of the most gruesome ways possible. His arrest was definitely warranted. But, historians also have to recognize
the circumstances surrounding the capture of Henry Smith, his confession, the extra-legal mob violence meted out to him, and the
editorializing after the lynching. It's the duty of historians to consider not just the primary sources, but interpret the era when the event
ocurred. The 1890s was a period of overt white supremacism that was bouyed by a growing body of literature that suggested race was a
scientific fact. White supremacism and racism became cannon in white churches, universities, and in politics. Any affront to their power
often led to horrific consequences. The spectacle lynching of Henry Smith in February of 1893 is testament to all of this.
|The murders of Bessie Caldwell and Abe Wildner
|The scene in downtown Paris on the day of the lynching - thousands of people came out to watch Henry Smith paraded in a mock celebration on
the way to his death (The facts in the case of the horrible murder of little Myrtle Vance and its fearful expiation at Paris, Texas, February 1st,
1893. Published by Paris News. LOC).
|Photographs were taken throughout the grim procession as it made its way to the depot, where Smith was lynched; this photograph shows the
courthouse in the background. (The facts in the case of the horrible murder of little Myrtle Vance and its fearful expiation at Paris, Texas,
February 1st, 1893. Published by Paris News. LOC)
|The moment of torture endured by Henry Smith; notice the crowd is comprised of only men, mainly white and a few African American faces.
(The facts in the case of the horrible murder of little Myrtle Vance and its fearful expiation at Paris, Texas, February 1st, 1893. Published by
Paris News. LOC)
|The lynching site was just south of the Texas & Pacific Railway depot (in this image, to the right). Henry Smith and the posse arrived on the west-
bound T&P train. The posse paraded him around the square, starting at South Main Street and returning on Church Street. (The facts in the case
of the horrible murder of little Myrtle Vance and its fearful expiation at Paris, Texas, February 1st, 1893. Published by Paris News. LOC)
|The men who arrested Henry Smith, and then gave him over to the mob, were never held accountable for their complicity. (The facts in the case
of the horrible murder of little Myrtle Vance and its fearful expiation at Paris, Texas, February 1st, 1893. Published by Paris News. LOC)
|The murder of Bessie Caldwell occurred in the Sanborn Ranch community between Whitesboro and Southmayd in Grayson County.
(1910 US Soil Map)
Murder outside of town
The Sanborn Ranch community in Grayson County, east of Whitesboro, was made up of a loose conglomeration of houses that were
situated near the headquarters of Henry Sanborn's ranch. Sanborn, originally from Illinois, was Texas's first distributor of barbed wire. In
late August of 1901, a young woman named Bessie Bullard Caldwell, a newly-wed who lived between the Sanborn Ranch Community and
Southmayd, was found raped and murdered in her own home, in broad daylight. According to her husband, he had left for Whitesboro and
discovered his wife's body in the root cellar when he returned two hours later.
Suspicion fell onto Abe Wildner, a black man who, according to the husband, had eaten a lunch made by Ms. Caldwell earlier that day.
Wildner had a previous robbery conviction, which the newspapers ensured readers knew. Within a few days, the county constable, Ben
Davenport, traced Abe Widener into Indian Territory, where he was arrested near Mud Creek in the Chickasaw Nation.
Within hours after the murder, a white mob had formed - and this mob's numbers kept growing. The men weren't just agitated about the
murder, but also because the Texas governor had called out state militias (Denison Rifles, Denton Light Guard, and Company K, Fourth
Infantry) to prevent a lynching and ensure that laws be obeyed. Posses had fanned out all over North Texas and southern Indian Territory,
arresting and hounding several black men as they searched for Wildner before the militias took him into custody. When word spread that
Constable Ben Davenport had captured Abe Wildner, the mob, instead of waiting for the Constable to return to Whitesboro with the
accused man, drove out to Dexter in Cooke County to meet the Constable and Wildner.
The lynching of Wildner was apparently a foregone conclusion - the mob that drove to Dexter had chains and barbed wire ready. According
to the Sunday Gazetteer (Denison, August 25, 1901), the mob in Whitesboro was comprised of "several thousand people... eager for the
sacrifice." Led by J. M. Caldwell, the murdered woman's husband, this large group of men overpowered Constable Davenport and
grabbed Wildner. They tied him to an elm tree "on Bill Nelson's ranch" and lit a fire beneath him. While partially on fire, Wildner stated he
was willing to confess. According to Davenport, when the fire was pushed away, Wildner "closed his mouth like a clam and would not utter
a word." The fire was re-lit and Wildner slowly roasted to death. It took almost an hour for him to die. Afterwards, a resident of Dexter took
Wildner's heart as a souvenier; his burned eye was sent to a McKinney council member as a "joke," and his ears were cut off to be kept as
According to the Sunday Gazetteer, "two or three accounts of the confession of Wildner" were given, but the one that the newspaper
decided to print was from Snyder Omohundro, "reputable citizen" whose account was "probably correct." Omohundro claimed that Wildner
struggled with Mrs. Caldwell, then hit her, raped her, and slashed her throat with an axe in the root cellar. This, of course, was the official
recounting of the crime scene as well, although the Bastrop Advertiser (August 24, 1901) stated that Mrs. Caldwell was found in a room
inside the house, not the cellar. The Bastrop Advertiser also related that Wildner confessed to other assaults in Whitesboro, but these
crimes were recounted by the Sunday Gazetteer, which only linked the crimes to Wildner as a possiblity. It is interesting and a bit
disconcerting that Davenport's account of the events differs from Omohundro - Omohundro claimed that Wildner "confessed fully at
Dexter" but Davenport said that Wildner confessed only briefly along Mud Creek in Indian Territory.
White men like Caldwell, the victim's husband, were spared any scrutiny. His statement of the events was apparently taken at face value.
Perhaps he was the perpetrator, and his accusation against Abe Wildner was a convenient way to alleviate suspicion? With the lynching of
Wildner, which Caldwell led, no investigations took place afterwards, and no trial for Bessie Caldwell's murder was held.
The posse left Wildner's boy hanging on the elm tree for two days. Every newspaper that recounted the story showed itself sympathetic to
the mob - "Justice is Done" (Honey Grove Signal) "Burned the Black: Food for the fiery flames" (Decatur News). The Weekly Herald
(Weatherford) added that "All negroes who do not own property or have a good, established character, have been warned to leave
Whitesboro." According to the Brenham Daily Banner, "not less than 15,000 visited the scene of the torture." The crime against Bessie
Caldwell was brutal, but so was the crime against Abe Wildner. He was not afforded a trial, and his murderers, whose names were known to
all in teh community and even appeared in the newspapers, were never brought to justice. District Judge Sam Bell Maxey ordered a grand
jury investigation, but it went no where. The murders of of both Caldwell and Wildner prove that in the early 20th century, a white man's
word superseded any other authority.
|Southwestern Arkansas violence
|Downtown Hope, Arkansas in 1919. (LOC)
The Old South in the New South
Hope has always been an upstart town in southwestern Arkansas. A child of the Cairo and Fulton Railorad, Hope was founded around 1873
when the town-buildinig arm of the company sold the first lots. Quickly, Hope became the largest city in Hempstead County. It was a
progressive place, too. In 1895, Henry Yeager founded the Shover Street School, a college founded for future African Americans teachers.
By 1938, voters designated Hope the new county seat, leaving old Washington behind in an embrace of the modern era.
However, even though Hope had no ties to the old planter families and didn't even exist before or during the Civil War, hundreds of whites
in the town proved themselves defenders of the Old South, which the completely unjustified lynching of Browning Tuggle in 1921 attested.
A history of violence
A native of Hope, Browning Tuggle had a wife, a daughter, and drove a jitney (an early kind of taxi) from the train depot to local places that
passengers requested. When an unnamed white woman accused a black man of assaulting her after she had previously talked to Tuggle
about hiring him, he was targeted as the perpetrator even though he did not fit the description. Police arrested him and allowed the mob to
take over. On March 15, Tuggle was hanged on a scaffold attached to the town's water tower, the highest spot in town. His body was then
riddled with bullets, and he remained on the water tower all day and night, pointed directly at the "black part of town."
A month later, the town of Rodessa, Louisiana - about 70 miles south of Hope - witnessed a lynching itself. Like Hope, Rodessa was a new
town. It was founded along the Kansas City Southern line as Frogtown. Then, after oil was discovered in the region, the town was renamed
for the daughter of a railroad official.
On April 15, 1921, Tony Williams was shot by a white vigilante posse after being accused of raping a white woman. There is not much
information about this murder except in the NAACP's annual list, which was entered into the Congressional Record in late 1921.
The area north Shreveport was never a kind place to African Americans, though this was home to a predominantly African American
populace. An incredible amount of violence happened against whole families in the region, and no white men were ever prosecuted for
their participation the violence. When a preacher who lived near Mira, was found hanged, a grand jury convened to condemn the act but
yet did not indict... although the names of the perpetrators were known.
A number of the lynchings in the area were related to labor unrests. Both black and white workers sought better wages and working
conditions in the sawmills, lumbermills, railorads, and coal mines. But the labor unions were dominated by white men who refused to let
black men join. So, when unions decided to strike, companies employed scab labor, who more often than not were black men. This led to
racial violence meted out not just by the rich and powerful, but also by the white working class against the black working class.
In January the very next year, the Dyer Anti-lynching act, championed for years by the NAACP, was passed by the U.S. House of
Representatives. Using figures compiled by the NAACP, supporters of the Bill listed 52 lynchings that occurred in 1921, and wrote that "In
the 30 years from 1889 to 1918, 3224 persons were lynched, of whom 2,522 were negroes, and of these 50 were women.... We must set our
faces agains lawlessness within our own boder. Whatever we may say about the cause for our entering this war, we know that one of the
principal reasons was the lawlessness of the German nation - what they have done in Belgium and northern France... For us to tolerate
lynching is to do the same thing that we are condemning in the Germans." The bill, however, failed to pass in the Senate when the
Southern Democrats blocked its progress with a filibuster.
An anti-lynching bill and resolution was finally passed by both the House and Senate in 2018. Thankfully, it passed (nearly) unanimously.
|Not all of the incredible violence in the Red River Valley perpetrated against African Americans was
documented; often, these acts were so commonplace as to avoid much mention in the newspapers of the day.
This website will continue to collect the histories of these acts because historians have the obligation to
remind citizens to remember.