Bradford, AR, located in White County, has a rich history that dates back to the early 1800s. Over the years, the town has witnessed several significant historical events that have shaped its landscape and the lives of its inhabitants. Here are seven notable historical events that have taken place near Bradford, AR.
1. The Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears is a tragic event in American history where thousands of Native Americans were forced to relocate from their ancestral homelands to designated Indian Territory. Several Native American tribes, including the Cherokee, were forced to pass through Arkansas during the relocation process. In 1838, the Cherokee Removal began, and the suffering people were made to cross the White River at Des Arc (about 24 miles southeast of Bradford) and then traverse the Ozark Mountains. The Trail of Tears played a significant role in the history of Bradford and surrounding areas.
2. Civil War Battles
Arkansas played a significant role in the Civil War, and several battles were fought within its borders. One of these battles was the Battle of Whitney's Lane, which took place a few miles from Bradford in August 1864. It involved Union soldiers under the command of Major General Frederick Steele, who were attempting to cut off Confederate forces from other areas of Arkansas.
3. The Searcy Race Riots
The Searcy Race Riots were a series of violent confrontations that took place in Searcy, AR, about 17 miles southeast of Bradford, in 1906. The riots were fueled by racial tensions and economic struggles facing the community. The events unfolded over the course of two days, resulting in the death of a black man, several injuries, and property damage.
4. The Titanic's Lost Souls
The Titanic's sinking in 1912 was a tragedy that shook the world, and it has a connection to Bradford. One of the lost souls, Henry Birkhardt Harris, was born in Bradford in 1866. He was on the Titanic as a second-class passenger and was one of the passengers who did not survive the disaster.
5. Reduction in Cotton Production
Cotton has played a crucial role in the history of Arkansas, and at one time, it was the state's main cash crop. However, in the 1920s and 1930s, the boll weevil infestation drastically reduced the cotton production in Arkansas, leading to a shift in the agricultural landscape. Bradford and surrounding areas transitioned to more diversified farming, including poultry, cattle, and other crops.
6. Integration of Schools
The integration of schools in Arkansas was a significant milestone in the history of civil rights. The Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 declared segregation in schools unconstitutional. In Arkansas, Governor Orval Faubus resisted the integration of schools, leading to the Little Rock Nine crisis. The events of the Little Rock Nine in 1957 were a major part of Bradford's history, as students from the town were involved.
7. Tornado Outbreak
In April 2011, several tornadoes touched down in Arkansas, including one that traveled through the Bradford area. The EF2 tornado damaged several homes and businesses in the area but ultimately caused no fatalities. The tornado outbreak was the most significant disaster to affect Bradford in recent history.
In conclusion, Bradford, AR, has a rich and diverse history with several significant historical events that are a part of the town's legacy. From the Trail of Tears, Civil War battles, and the Searcy Race Riots to the integration of schools, the town has played a vital role in the history of Arkansas and the country. The events mentioned above have shaped the town and the lives of its inhabitants, ultimately contributing to the town's cultural and socio-economic fabric.
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