Helena screenwriter highlights little-known ‘Elaine Massacre’

Helena screenwriter highlights little-known ‘Elaine Massacre’

One of Arkansas race relation’s darkest moments brought to forefront in film

By Randy Hogan Special to the Evening Times

With a passion for music in his heart,Deangelo Manuel attended Full Sail University in Florida. His desire was to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Business. Today, Manuel, who hails from Lexa and grew up in Helena, is a professional screenwriter. His latest credit is 'Elaine 1919: America Holocaust.' The film recounts one of the lesser known but what historians have called one of the deadliest racial confrontations in U.S. history: The Elaine Race Riot of 1919.

With a passion for music in his heart, Lexa’s Deangelo Manuel attended Full Sail University in Florida. His desire was to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Business.

Today, Manuel is a professional screenwriter. His latest credit is “Elaine 1919: America Holocaust.” The film recounts one of the lesser known but what historians have called one of the deadliest racial confrontations in U.S. history: The Elaine Race Riot of 1919.

According to The Associated Press that confrontation in October 1919 left hundreds of blacks and a handful of whites dead. It took place four years before a U.S. Supreme Court decision that was pivotal in protecting the rights of blacks in the criminal justice system.

It should be noted that there is no one alive today that made any decisions or participated in any of the violence that occurred in that tragic incident.

Manuel, in his early 20s, grew up in Helena, just a few miles from Elaine where the events took place almost a century ago. His family owned a lucrative bail bonds company in Helena. He was co-owner of Eastern Arkansas Diabetic and Medical Supply with his father.

As a young man, Manuel’s father took him to several sites significant in the Civil Rights movement of the 60s.

According to a press release, Manuel’s films are not only based on historical events but contain some biographical information as well. His list of screenwriting credits include “I-40 Bounty Hunting Stories”, “Confederate Charge”, and “Radical Recruit” as well as “Elaine 1919: American Holocaust.” All are scheduled for release in October. Full Sail University is located near Winter Park Florida. The school was originally founded in 1979 in Dayton, Ohio as Full Sail Recording Workshop.

Raised in a small community, Manuel says, “God has blessed me to see so many places such as many major cities like New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami and many more. I was fortunate to see places outside the United States such as Mexico, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.”

Manuel relates that over the years black parents have talked to their children about the violent history of racism in America.

Many others have heard through history books and movies the bigoted treatment of African Americans.

Manuel hopes that in these relevant times, his films will get the attention they deserve. He says that these untold stories are important to not only blacks but to all races so that we can all come together and say, “Never Again!”

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