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Calvin White and Michael Pierce: “Race, Labor, and Violence in the Delta”

CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies Presents LEGACIES & LUNCH

Speaker: Calvin White and Michael Pierce

In September 2019—on the 100th anniversary of the Elaine Massacre—a group of scholars met in Little Rock to share research on the ways that labor and racialized violence have intersected in the Delta since the Civil War. The purpose was not to distract attention from the Elaine Massacre but to historicize it, showing that it was not an isolated incident but one deeply rooted in the cotton economy and the region’s commitment to white supremacy. The research also demonstrated that the conditions that led to the massacre at Elaine persisted for decades afterward and continue to shape life and politics in the region. This research was published in Race, Labor, and Violence in the Delta: Essays to Mark the Centennial of the Elaine Massacre by the University of Arkansas Press. Calvin White will provide an overview of the project, while Michael Pierce will give an in-depth dive into one of the essays.

Michael Pierce is an associate professor of history at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of Striking with the Ballot: Ohio Labor and the Populist Party. Since moving to Arkansas, he has specialized in Arkansas history, with essays appearing in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, the Journal of Southern History, and several edited volumes. Pierce is currently working on a book project examining the ways that a coalition led by trade unionists and Black activists brought New Deal–style liberalism to the state and exploring why the state’s most prominent Democrats, including Bill Clinton, rejected that type of liberalism for one more friendly to corporate interests.

Calvin White Jr. became an associate dean of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences in July 2018. With a PhD in history from the University of Mississippi, he joined the university in 2007 as an assistant professor of history and was promoted to associate professor in 2013.

White’s administrative experience includes tenures as chair of the Department of History and director of the African and African American Studies Program. White served as a fellow in the SEC Academic Leadership Program and has been recognized for his commitment to his students, teaching, and diversity.

His areas of study are the U.S. South with a concentration on the African American experience. His book The Rise to Respectability: Race, Religion, and the Church of God in Christ was released in October 2012. Currently, he is working to complete a forthcoming biography of Oscar Stanton De Priest, the only African American to serve in Congress from 1929 to 1934.

Copies of Race, Labor, and Violence in the Delta will be for sale in the Galleries & Bookstore at Library Square in the CALS Roberts Library on the day of the event.

Register for Webinar

Legacies & Lunch is a hybrid program—offering participants the opportunity to attend either in person or virtually via Zoom. To participate in person, join us in Room 124 of the CALS Roberts Library (401 President Clinton Ave). Parking is available in the surface lot south of Roberts or the CALS Parking Deck across Rock Street. Parking will be validated. Bring your lunch; we will provide drinks and cookies. To participate virtually, register for the webinar using the button above.

This program will be live-streamed to YouTube and the recording will be available immediately following the event.


About Legacies & Lunch

Legacies & Lunch is a free monthly program of CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies about Arkansas-related topics.

Past Legacies & Lunch Events