"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 postCivil 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.