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Elaine 12 member honored with new memorial marker at grave site

"What he fought for, he never achieved until his death -- to be viewed as an equal American.”

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The history of the Elaine Massacre is too often forgotten, but it was refocused again on Friday.

A memorial honored one of the key figures to emerge from the murders on the Arkansas Delta a hundred years ago.

"It wasn't just about cotton. It wasn't about money. It was about respect,” said Dr. Brian K. Mitchell, UA-Little Rock professor.

Dr. Mitchell highlighted the Elaine 12 at the ceremony.

They are known as the dozen black sharecroppers who demanded equality in 1919.

Their push caused outrage, which led to the Elaine Massacre, a race riot which historians say was the largest mass terror lynching in US history.

"They stood up and stood in unison,” said Mitchell.

The 12 men were wrongfully convicted of murder by an all-white jury, and later freed.

"A lot of people don't realize this is one of the first victories,” said Mitchell.  

An Elaine 12 member who fought for fair wages, Frank Moore, was honored Friday.

The  Arkansas Historical Marker Program honored Moore with a memorial marker at his grave site.

"What he fought for, he never achieved until his death -- to be viewed as an equal American,” said Mitchell.  

Dorothy Neal paid her respects to Moore as well because her grandfather, Joseph E. Knox, was also an Elaine 12 member.

"He was a fighter, he was brave, he stood for right,” said Neal.

Neal said her grandfather and the rest of the Elaine 12 died heroes and she believes their fight to bridge a racial divide has made a difference today.

"Even though we have a long way to go, I don't know if we will ever be equal, but we are getting there,” said Neal.

The Arkansas Historical Marker Program highlights local history like this.

The Frank Moore marker is the 10th to be placed since the program was introduced last year.

RELATED: Newly discovered documents reveal what may have started Elaine Massacre 100 years ago

RELATED: 100 years ago, the largest mass terror lynching in US history took place in a small Arkansas town