ELAINE Launch Project


Deep in the Arkansas Delta, alive in the spirit of the Blues, lies a secret—buried for nearly 100 years.

In 1919, black sharecroppers’ decades-long efforts to challenge debt slavery in the Arkansas Delta culminated in the nation’s deadliest labor battle and racial massacre. Out of the ashes came renewed efforts at resistance, deeply-influential music and one of the most successful socialist experiments in American history.

With contemporary parallels in Ferguson, Charlotte and Baltimore, ELAINE reveals an untold but seminal story in the continuing struggle for freedom and equality. A lyrical composition of Delta voices, archival materials, and the passionate tradition of the Blues, ELAINE is a portrait of rural struggle toward emancipation, despite brutal attempts to suppress it.