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White Man's Heaven: The Lynching and Expulsion of Blacks in the Southern Ozarks, 1894 - 1909 Hardcover – October 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"What Harper has done in this book is to throw open an ugly history that many people in the region would be content to leave forgotten, even though it is still there in local memory and hushed folklore. Harper's book is an important contribution for specialists in the field, but is also essential reading for anyone who lives in the southern Ozarks. The story she tells of 'a dark mark upon the land yet to be removed' demands a reckoning." --Jarod Roll, Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Summer 2011

"An invaluable work ... supports and importantly expands on recent studies of sundown towns and racial cleansing by James W. Loewen and Elliot Jaspin." --John William Graves in the Journal of Southern History, Feb. 2012

"This is required reading for researchers interested in how lynching and expulsion are indispensable for understanding an important but oftentimes unacknowledged phenomenon in US History." --Choice, July 1, 2011

White Man's Heaven is a "well-written and creatively researched work. . . . The author movingly documents 'a dark mark upon the land yet to be removed.'" --The Journal of American History, Dec. 2011

"Harper contributes significantly to the history of race relations, demography, and mob violence in the Ozarks." --H-Net, January 2011

From the Inside Flap

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557289417
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557289414
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,369,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
WHITE MAN'S HEAVEN: THE LYNCHING AND EXPULSION OF BLACKS IN THE SOUTHERN OZARKS, 1894-1909 uses court records, newspaper articles, letters and diaries to investigate the systematic lynching and expulsion of Afro-Americans in the Ozarks in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, exploring events to show how post-Civil War violence escalated in the region. Though some whites tried to stop events, the end result was a region changed by the violence. History provided is lively, not dry, and provides a quick, easy understanding of all the social and political issues involved in a pick for any college-level racial studies collection; especially those focused on regional American experiences in general and Southern experience in particular.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Muckala on July 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent social and local history on the racial tensions and lynchings in SW Missouri in the early 1900s. The author takes a close look at the lynchings in Pierce City, Joplin and Springfield, Missouri, and the expulsion of African-Americans in Harrison, Arkansas. Ought to be required reading in the schools in the area. Unfortunately, the communities have neglected this part of their history and tried to forget that it ever happened.
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