In this 1919 photo provided by the Chicago History Museum, armed national guard and African American men stand on a sidewalk during race riots in Chicago. Photograph: Chicago History Museum/AP. Featured Image
It came out when McClain, 58, asked his mother earlier this year about the largely forgotten mass killings in his Arkansas Delta home town a century ago, when white mobs murdered scores of African Americans, but only a dozen black men were ever prosecuted for any crime during the disturbances.
“When I got off the phone, I went back and looked at my notes, and I recognized the name: Paul Hall,” McClain said.
The Elaine Twelve were a group of black defendants sentenced to death for what transpired in the autumn of 1919, after an all-white jury found them guilty within eight minutes. Black witnesses later testified that they had been tortured into giving false testimonies and the 12 were eventually released – though no white people were ever charged for any crime.