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Book has Harrison chapter
March 25, 2007
by Ginger Shiras of the Times Staff
The book on "the hidden history of racial cleansing in America," which includes a chapter on Harrison, is now out.

Amazon and other online book sellers are shipping Buried in the Bitter Waters by Elliot Jaspin. The Boone County Library plans to order it and Treasure House Books of Harrison can special-order it for customers.

Jaspin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for Cox Newspapers who specializes in computer-assisted reporting, started with census records and found about 260 counties in which blacks had suddenly disappeared and never returned. His book includes a dozen cases in eight states.

He also writes about another Arkansas town, Evening Shade, located between Mountain Home and Jonesboro.
"In the history of racial cleansings, Boone County is unique," Jaspin says. "It hosted two in just four years - in 1905 and 1909." He reviews what documentation is available and puts the incidents in the context of the bankruptcy of the St. Louis and North Arkansas Railroad, which left unemployed black and white rail workers drifting into Harrison.
He quotes Arkansas Governor Jeff Davis' 1904 comment that "Every time you educate a n----r, you spoil a good field hand." The governor, of course, filled in the blanks. The Harrison chapter of the book is called "All-White Diversity" and notes that the town's Task Force on Race Relations is all white.
Jaspin, whose book sprang from a series of newspaper articles, gives an interesting account on the refusal of the Atlanta Constitution, his newspaper chain's flagship paper, to acknowledge its "checkered" coverage of old and recent incidents in Forsyth, Georgia.
He writes favorably about George Holcomb's 2003 in-depth articles on the Harrison's racial history and related current affairs in the Harrison Daily Times.
An 87-minute documentary by black filmmaker Marco Williams on three of Jaspin's towns, including Harrison, was nominated for Grand Jury Prize at the Sundown Festival in January. Three members of Harrison's task force viewed the film and participated in a panel at a smaller film festival in Columbia, Mo., and have plans to show it in Harrison. No date has been set.
Williams won a television Peabody Award in 2002 for a project in which black filmmakers interviewed black residents and white filmmakers interviewed white residents of Jasper, Texas, where a black man was dragged to his death behind a truck.
Harrison Daily Times 2007
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