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December 2012

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In This Issue

  • Who We Are
  • The Basic Story
  • Upcoming Events

“An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and impossible to be silent.” – Edmund Burke

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The LR 1927 Project

Friends and Colleagues,

Many thanks for your interest in our joint projects about the 1927 Little Rock lynching of John Carter. We’ve started this e-newsletter as a means of keeping everyone up to date on our progress and plans. We are happy to hear about any ideas, connections, or photos you may have. Simply reply to this email to contact us.

Thank you,
George Fulton Jr. and Stephanie Harp

 

Who We Are

George Fulton Jr. is  the great-grandson of John Carter. For 15 years he worked for the Albuquerque, New Mexico, Water Department, repairing and installing water lines. In 2003, he began to wonder about the family stories he’d heard about what had happened to his great-grandfather. When he started researching and asking questions, he found that the “official” accounts did not match what he knew from his family. In 2008, he enrolled in the Art Institute of Phoenix in order to make a documentary from his family’s point of view, a version that differs from the official record.

Stephanie Harp is the great-granddaughter of one of the deputy sheriffs who was involved in the lynching. In her family, she’d heard stories about her great-grandfather and about the lynching, though many years passed before she knew of the connection between the two. A writer with a master’s degree in U.S. history, she is at work on book about the lynching and about her family’s link to it. She lives in Maine.

In August of this year, George and Stephanie each independently contacted John A. Kirk, George W. Donaghey Professor and Chair of the History Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, who put us in contact with each other. We immediately agreed to work together to help bring this 85-year-old event to light. We both hope that folks of all backgrounds, in Little Rock and elsewhere, will be encouraged by our cooperation and will help us work toward racial healing and progress.

 

The Basic Story

Many of you receiving this newsletter already know about the events of April-May-June 1927. For those who don’t, here’s a very brief summary.

In the midst of that spring’s Great Mississippi Valley Flood, 11-year-old Floella McDonald disappeared in Little Rock. Three weeks later, her body was found in the belfry of First Presbyterian Church. The church’s janitor Frank Dixon and his teenage son Lonnie were arrested. Police took Mr. Dixon and his son out of town to safety, to avoid mobs that were storming the jail and state penitentiary in search of them.

Three days later, Mrs. B.E. Stewart and her daughter Glennie were driving a wagon on a country road near the city. A man approached the wagon — and here the stories differ about his reason. The women screamed, Mrs. Stewart broke her arm in a fall, and a passing car took them to Little Rock. A sheriff’s posse formed to find the man.

Hours later, searchers seized John Carter, whom Glennie Stewart identified. The mob hung him from a telephone pole, and shot him. They dragged his body to town behind a car, and set it on fire at the corner of Ninth and Broadway, in the heart of the African American business district. Rioting lasted for hours until Gov. John Martineau called out the National Guard.

In June, a jury convicted Lonnie Dixon of murdering Floella McDonald, and he was executed in the electric chair.

You may read a more detailed account of the official version of events on the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

 

Upcoming Events

George and Stephanie are making plans to meet in Little Rock in mid-February for joint research, filming and interviewing. We are interested in meeting and talking with anyone who has a connection to the lynching — in family memories or letters, or as descendants of officials, participants, and white or African American community leaders. Please contact us with any ideas or connections you may have by posting a comment at the bottom of this page, or sending an email HERE.

If you know of other folks who may like to receive this occasional update, please let us know and we’ll be happy to add their email addresses to our list. We promise never to rent or sell the names, and anyone on the list can always Unsubscribe by clicking the link at the bottom of each email, or by completing the form below.

Thank you for your interest.

In peace and hope,
George and Stephanie

 

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Copyright ©2012 Stephanie Harp and George Fulton Jr. for The LR 1927 Project. All Rights Reserved.
Photos may not be reproduced without permission.