Tree planted in honor of Elaine massacre victims cut down

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FILE – In this June 15, 2019, file photo, men work near a monument under construction honoring victims of the Elaine Massacre that sits across from the Phillips County courthouse in Helena, Ark. Officials are investigating after someone cut down a willow tree that was planted to honor the victims of the 1919 Elaine massacre in eastern Arkansas. The Elaine Legacy Center says the tree was chopped down at its base last week and a memorial tag was stolen.(AP Photo/Noreen Nasir, File)

ELAINE, Ark. (AP) — Officials are investigating after someone cut down a willow tree that was planted to honor the victims of the 1919 Elaine massacre in eastern Arkansas.

The Elaine Legacy Center says the tree was chopped down at its base last week and a memorial tag was stolen. Memphis, Tennessee, television station WMC reports that police and state parks officials are investigating.

The tree was planted in April in remembrance of the victims of the massacre, which was one of the largest racial mass killings in U.S. history. It occurred during the summer of 1919, when hundreds of African Americans died at the hands of white mob violence during the “Red Summer.”

Events are planned for later next month to mark the 100th anniversary of the massacre in Arkansas.

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