White Man’s Heaven: The Lynching and Expulsion of Blacks in the Southern Ozarks, 1894-1909

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White Man's Heaven is the first book to investigate the lynching and expulsion of African Americans in the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Kimberly Harper shows how an established tradition of extralegal violence and the rapid political, economic, and social change of the New South era combined to create an environment that resulted in interracial violence. Even though some whites tried to stop the violence and bring the lynchers to justice, many African Americans fled the Ozarks, leaving only a resilient few behind and forever changing the racial composition of the region.



Drawing on court records, newspaper accounts, penitentiary records, letters, and diaries, White Man's Heaven is a thorough investigation into the lynching and expulsion of African Americans in the Missouri and Arkansas Ozarks in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Kimberly Harper explores events in the towns of Monett, Pierce City, Joplin, and Springfield, Missouri, and Harrison, Arkansas, to show how post-Civil War vigilantism, an established tradition of extralegal violence, and the rapid political, economic, and social change of the New South era happened independently but were also part of a larger, interconnected regional experience. Even though some whites, especially in Joplin and Springfield, tried to stop the violence and bring the lynchers to justice, many African Americans fled the Ozarks, leaving only a resilient few behind and forever changing the racial composition of the region.

About the Author

Kimberly Harper is the Associate Editor of the Missouri Historical Review at the State Historical Society of Missouri. She received a M.A. from the University of Arkansas. White Man’s Heaven is her first book.

Product Specifications

Published by the University of Arkansas Press, paperback, 2012.