Narratives are personal stories that help enrich the reader’s understanding of a time period, person, place, or event. These are first-person views of history taken from personal recollections, memoirs, diaries, and oral histories.

Information included in this section is not fact checked by the Encyclopedia staff. The author of the Narrative is entirely responsible for its content.

Based on my father’s description of the 1922 lynching of Hunk “Punk” Harris, which he witnessed at age 12. [Editor’s note: Edited for length.]

I believe this was the last public lynching in Hot Springs, probably by the Klan. One morning, I started home after selling papers and one of my bike tires went flat. I stopped at a hardware store on Central and several well-dressed young men came in. They ordered pistols and put them in their belts. One said: “We will go down to the city jail first.” I thought it odd, but I dismissed it and walked home. I went back downtown and a large crowd had gathered. I saw a black man standing next to a light pole with his hands tied behind him. Several men with kerchiefs around their faces (not the ones I saw in the store) put a rope around his neck and pulled it tight. The rope was then thrown over one of the heavy wires leading to the light pole. Several men took up the slack and pulled the man up. After he was about three feet off the ground, his legs began to shake. As he was drawn up higher, his head snapped to the side, I suppose when his neck broke.
The dead man hung there awhile and then was tied to the back of a flatbed truck. About this time, a Negro ambulance came flying up. Two black men jumped out with a stretcher but were not allowed to take the man.
The man in the truck drove away slowly like in a parade, dragging the body. I followed. He headed down Malvern to the black mortuary. He cut the body loose and told the owner to do what he wanted with the body.
Why was the man killed? He reportedly killed a white man during a burglary. The police brought blood hounds to sniff the trail down Quapaw to the black section of town. The dogs went directly to the home of the black man. He was found fully clothed under the bed.

Dr. Malcolm Rigsby
Arkadelphia, AR