This Day in History

Dec. 29, 1923: Terror Attack on African Americans in Catcher, Arkansas

Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: African American, Economics, Racism & Racial Identity

Charles Spurgeon Rucks

On Dec. 29, 1923, the Catcher “Race Riot” began, leading to the creation of another sundown town in Arkansas.

Within the span of a few days, an African American man was murdered, 11 African Americans were charged with night riding, and after serious threats to their safety, there was an exodus from Catcher of every African American family.

Two African-American men were executed (including Charles Spurgeon Rucks, 1893–1924, in the photo) while a third was given life in prison, following speedy trials that included dubious “evidence” offered by the prosecution.

The defendants were represented by Scipio Africanus Jones, a prominent attorney in Little Rock.

Learn more about this story at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

Teach about the legacy of these “race riots” with the lesson “Burned Out of Homes and History: Unearthing the Silenced Voices of the Tulsa Race Riot” by Linda Christensen from Rethinking Schools.

Find a list of other events that are called “race riots” in mainstream texts, but are better described as massacres in U.S. history.

Learn more about sundown towns in the book by James Loewen.