A new monument will honor the victims of a century-old racist massacre. Some say it's not where it should be
Updated 2:19 AM ET, Sat September 28, 2019
(CNN)One hundred years ago, Kyle Miller's great uncles were shot and killed passing through Elaine, Arkansas, on their way home from a hunting trip.
They were among the hundreds of black people murdered in the first days of October 1919 by white mobs and government troops who poured into the small farming community on the Arkansas Delta after false rumors of an uprising by black sharecroppers.
This week, Miller and other members of the Elaine Massacre Memorial board will unveil a monument in Helena, Arkansas, to commemorate the killings.
It will be the first of its kind to honor the victims of the massacre and, its supporters hope, a first step toward acknowledging and healing from the tragedy.
"It was an ugly part of our history and it was something that most people didn't want to remember," Miller said. "I think everybody's realizing that there's more conversations that need to be had."
"This is our contribution to the story."
But as Helena's board moves forward, their new memorial has opened old wounds in the nearby town of Elaine, where the epicenter of the massacre was and where residents -- after decades of watching their story go untold -- say they should dictate how it is now shared.
"The people in Helena who are the cultural, the financial and the political descendants of the white power structure who orchestrated and lied about the massacre will now pretend to commemorate it," one critic of the memorial, Arkansas pastor and judge Wendell Griffen, said.