John A. Hibbler: Pioneer Attorney Known For Defending Blacks in the Race Riots Near Elaine, Arkansas

1 Posted by - July 15, 2020 - Black History, BLACK MEN, History, LATEST POSTS

John A. Hibbler was an attorney who was admitted to practice before the state supreme court on June 30, 1919. He was admitted earlier in the circuit court, as he was listed as an attorney in the Little Rock City Directory (Pulaski County, Arkansas) in 1916.

Hibbler was born in Arkansas in 1878. He first appeared in politics as part of the group of Blacks who protested the 1891 passage of the “separate coach” bill that would segregate railway cars. Hibbler later joined Scipio Jones and other Blacks in fighting the segregationist whites within the Arkansas Republican Party, to the extent of holding their own state conventions in 1914 and 1916. When the Republicans held their 1920 state convention in a segregated hotel, he and Scipio Jones, J.R. Booker, W.A. Singfield, and W.L. Purifoy attended and refused to leave until the lights were turned off. They then held their own separate convention.

Hibbler worked with Scipio Jones in defending Black defendants arrested following the “race riots” near Elaine, Arkansas, in 1919. In 1917, he is listed in partnership with attorney Winfield F. Clark. He was an early member of the first Arkansas branch of the NAACP in Little Rock in 1924. In 1930, he joined with Scipio Jones and the firm of Booker & Booker to represent the Arkansas Negro Democratic Association to sue the Democratic City Central Committee for the right to vote in primary elections.

Hibbler’s name appeared as attorney of record in at least 23 cases appealed to the state supreme court. In 1938, Hibbler was a member of the Wonder State Bar Association, a Black lawyers group. Hibbler died in 1962.




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