UA Little Rock students investigate Arkansas's 'Other Trail of Tears'
A University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor and his students are shedding light on Arkansas's history as the first and only state in the country to legally evict its entire free black population.
In 1859, the state passed legislation that required all free blacks and mulattos to leave the state by Jan. 1, 1860. Any who chose to stay would be captured and sold into slavery.
Dr. Brian Mitchell, professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, refers to the forced migration of free blacks and mulattos as "Arkansas's other Trail of Tears."
"It's an interesting piece of Arkansas history that we know very little about," Mitchell said. "Most people know about forced migration in Native American history, but very few people know that there was a forced migration of free blacks. Arkansas has its own homegrown African-American Trail of Tears that nobody talks about."
Mitchell's research was aided by EAST Scholarship Program students, including Evan Alden, Larry Dicus, Ian Thompson, and Cheyenne Shelton. The project is an effort by EAST Scholarship Program students and the College of Arts, Letters and Sciences to highlight the use of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the humanities.