Three Lynchings that Shaped a Region
Due to economic and geographic constraints, the Ozarks was not a large slave holding region and after the Civil War the majority of Ozarks counties marked a decrease in Black residents. Though there was a small minority of African Americans, the Ozarks was not immune to the fear and hatred that infected most of the United States in the early 1900s. Three nationally reported and locally scarring race riots and public lynchings took place in three major Ozarks cities in the first decade of the twentith century.
The lynchings in Pierce City, Joplin, and Springfield, Missouri shook the African American community of the Ozarks to its core. In the aftermath of these violent, tragic events, huge numbers of African Americans left the region, leaving very few behind.