The Bloody Red River Valley
Questions or comments? E-mail me: robin@redriverhistorian.com
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
robin@redriverhistorian.com
Between 1866 and 1930, the New South along the Red River witnessed a record number of racist
brutalizations against African Americans by white supremacists.
The Bloody Red:
Cullen Baker        Spectacle Lynching in Paris        Whitesboro Murders        Arkansas Violence
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.