An Interview with Elmer Beard: Remembrances of Black Activism, Communal Solidarity, and the Burning of Roanoke Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas
Context The oral history interview with Mr. Elmer Beard, a longtime political activist, politician, and educator, is part of a series of interviews for a study on Black church burnings, arsons, and vandalism from 2008 to 2016. Mr. Beard gives historical context to recent Black church arson with a focus on the mysterious burning of Roanoke Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on 22 December 1963. On 9 March 2018, the interview took place in Hot Springs at the current church site. The dialogue starts with biographical questions and evolves into details about Mr. Beard’s experience growing up in a racially segregated society, particularly in south-central Arkansas.