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  • Rev. Bradford G. Olson

Tree makes National News!


This Spring my mom, Rev. Dr. Mary Olson, planted a tree to commemorate the Elaine Massacre of 1919. On August 24, 2019 it was chopped down. Why is that such a big deal?

In 1919 Elaine was the site of one of the first and worst uprisings that started the civil rights movement. A group of share croppers were organizing to work towards fair prices for their crops. The gathering worried some white folk. There was a shot that killed a white security guard. As a result it became open season on share croppers in the area. Estimates of how many were killed range into the hundreds. It is known at the Elaine Massacre or the Red Summer.

That was 100 years ago. There is very little documentation of what happened, except for the Supreme Court records from the black men who were charged with murder. There are no graves. The only monument was recently erected 30 minutes away in Helena.

Mom is the founder and president of the Elaine Legacy Center. The Elaine Legacy Center is committed to remembering our past so it won't be repeated. In the spring a willow tree was planted as a living memorial to those who died. It seems someone would rather the whole thing be forgotten.

If you would like to know more, you can follow the following links:

The Wall Street Journal

The Washington Post

The Baptist News

Fox Memphis

USA Today

I hope you will join me in affirming that we were all created in the image of God. God must love variety, just look at us! How boring would it be if we were all the same? Yes, it is often difficult to live with others when they disagree, but we are a thoughtful and creative people who are up to the challenge.


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