In a small Arkansas town, echoes of a century-old massacre

ELAINE, Ark. (AP) — J. Chester Johnson never heard about the mass killing of black people in Elaine, a couple hours away from where he grew up in Arkansas.

Johnson believes his grandfather took part in the Elaine massacre, an infamous chapter in the “Red Summer” riots that spread in cities and towns across the nation.

Johnson, who is white and now lives in New York City, is co-chair of a committee overseeing construction of a memorial honoring those killed in 1919. He and others are hoping the structure about a half-hour drive from Elaine will bring attention to the massacre.

Others say plans for a monument are a folly and want commemoration efforts to focus instead on reparations to account for what they say was theft of black-owned land in the wake of the killings.

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