This Arkansas City Has Been Named as the State’s Most Racist City

Harrison, Arkansas, a city with a population of about 13,000, has garnered the dubious distinction of being labeled the “most racist town in America.” This label is rooted in the city’s historical context, dating back to the early 1900s, which was marked by racial violence, riots, and the expulsion of Black residents.

The city’s reputation was further tarnished due to its connection with the Ku Klux Klan, particularly as the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, headquartered near Harrison, uses a post office box in the city for its mailing address​​.

Despite this troubling history, many Harrison residents feel that the city has been unfairly stigmatized. Kevin Cheri, a retired park superintendent and a resident since 2007, acknowledges the presence of racism in Harrison but believes it is no more pervasive than in many other places in the United States.

Cheri is part of the Harrison Community Task Force on Race Relations, established in 2003, which aims to dispel the town’s racist image. This task force is a key component of Harrison’s broader efforts to counter its reputation and promote a more inclusive community​​.

There is a sense of optimism among Harrison’s residents who believe in the inherent goodness of their community. The ongoing work of the task force, along with other community initiatives, reflects the city’s commitment to change.

Despite the challenges and the long journey ahead, Harrison is dedicated to rewriting its narrative and aspires to be a place where all residents, regardless of race or ethnicity, can coexist harmoniously. These efforts are a testament to the possibility of change, even in the face of deeply ingrained prejudices​