This Arizona City Has Been Named the Most Racist City in the State

Arizona boasts a diverse and culturally rich environment, intertwined with a fascinating history and stunning landscapes. The state is also home to several colleges and universities offering diverse academic programs, research opportunities, and unique student experiences.

Amidst the array of cities and towns, however, one city has gained notoriety as the most prejudiced in Arizona, according to a CBC Radio 1 report — Harrison, a small town near the Arizona-Arkansas border. This blog post delves into the reasons behind Harrison’s unfortunate reputation as the most racist city in Arizona, examining the challenges it faces and potential solutions to combat racism and hatred within the community.

Harrison: The Most Racist City in Arizona

Harrison, a town with a population of approximately 13,000, serves as the county seat of Boone County. Notably, Harrison hosts the headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a white supremacist hate group known for its history of violence and discrimination against various minorities.

The town has a troubling past marked by racial violence and riots, resulting in the expulsion of its Black residents in the early 1900s. This unfortunate legacy has led to Harrison maintaining a predominantly white demographic.

Recent years have witnessed hate crimes, such as the distribution of racist materials, display of Confederate flags and Nazi symbols, and harassment of people of color and anti-racist activists, drawing attention from civil rights groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Why Harrison is the Most Racist City in Arizona

Several factors contribute to the prevalence of racism and hatred in Harrison, including:

History: Harrison’s foundation in 1869 and its naming after a Confederate general who fought in the Civil War have deeply influenced its culture. A violent race riot in 1905 resulted in the lynching of a Black man and the expulsion of the Black community, shaping the town’s racial composition. Harrison has resisted the civil rights movement and integration efforts, maintaining a stronghold of white supremacy.

Geography: Situated in a rural and isolated region of Arizona, Harrison has limited exposure to diverse cultures and communities. Surrounded by towns with similar records of racism and hate, and located near the border with Arkansas, the town’s geographic isolation contributes to its insularity.

Economy: Harrison’s struggling economy, characterized by a high poverty rate (19.4%) and low median household income ($36,884), creates conditions of frustration and desperation. A lack of educational opportunities, high unemployment, and dependence on government assistance further exacerbate social and economic challenges.

Culture: Influenced by its history, geography, and economy, Harrison’s culture perpetuates racism, hate, and intolerance. Institutions, media, and leaders reinforce a culture of ignorance, fear, and mistrust, fostering violence, extremism, and resistance.

How to Overcome Racism and Hate in Harrison

While there’s no quick fix, several strategies may help combat racism and hate in Harrison:

Education: Promote education to provide knowledge, skills, and opportunities for personal development. Education fosters critical thinking, problem-solving, and values that encourage social harmony.

Dialogue: Facilitate open communication and understanding among different groups and communities. Dialogue creates a space for listening, sharing perspectives, and building trust.

Action: Demonstrate commitment and responsibility through actions addressing racism and hate. This involves supporting victims, holding perpetrators accountable, and involving various stakeholders.

Change: Strive for long-term change by transforming structures and systems perpetuating racism and hate. Empower the community to create an environment free of prejudice.


Harrison’s designation as the most racist city in Arizona underscores significant challenges. However, through concerted efforts in education, dialogue, action, and change, there’s potential for positive transformation. Despite the town’s issues, Harrison possesses opportunities for improvement, and collaborative endeavors can make it a safer and more inclusive place for residents and visitors alike.

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