Isadore Banks was a fifty-nine year on black landowner on the day he disappeared. His wife Alice, last saw him leaving the house with the intentions to pay the people who helped him on the farm.
Banks was born on July 25, 1895, a time when in Arkansas violence against blacks was on the rise. By 1900, African Americans throughout Arkansas had been cut out of the political process and were living in constant fear, with lynching quickly becoming the main form of control of black people.
Banks had made quite the life for him and his family. He was a prominent and respected leader, a Freemason, and one of the wealthiest African-American landowners in this region. At the time he owned over 1,000 acres of land.
On June 8, 1954, Banks truck was located in a wooded area outside of Marion in Crittenden County by a neighbor. Some of Banks belongings were still in the truck including his jacket and shotgun. Later that day, Banks body was discovered tied to a true. He had been mutilated beyond recognition.
The coroner found no sign of a robbery or struggle had taken place at the scene and since Banks weighed 300 pounds it would have taken several people to dispose of his body if the crime had taken elsewhere. It was also discovered that a firearm or knife had left a hole in Banks right side.
Banks murder became one of the most notorious cold cases of the civil rights era.