Women from all over Arkansas—left out of the civil rights granted by the post–Civil War Reconstruction Amendments—took part in a long struggle to gain the primary civil right of American citizens: voting. The state’s capital city of Little Rock served as the focal point not only for suffrage work in Arkansas, but also for the state’s contribution to the nationwide nonviolent campaign for women’s suffrage that reached its climax between 1913 and 1920. Based on original research, Cahill’s book relates the history of some of those who contributed to this victorious struggle, reveals long-forgotten photographs, includes a map of the locations of meetings and rallies, and provides a list of Arkansas suffragists who helped ensure that discrimination could no longer exclude women from participation in the political life of the state and nation.
Based on extensive archival work, private paper collections, and oral history, this book includes eight of John Kirk’s essays, two of which have never been published before. Together, these essays locate the dramatic events of the crisis within the larger story of the African American struggle for freedom and equality in Arkansas. Examining key episodes in state history from before the New Deal to the present, Kirk covers a wide range of topics that include the historiography of the school crisis; the impact of the New Deal; early African American politics and mass mobilization; race, gender, and the civil rights movement; the role of white liberals in the struggle; and the intersections of race and city planning policy. Kirk unearths many previously neglected individuals, organizations, and episodes, and provides a thought-provoking analytical framework for understanding them.
The Little Rock Central High School integration crisis did not end in1957 when President Eisenhower sent a portion of the first Airborne Division to protect nine black students. The turmoil was entering its second year in 1958 when Arkansas governor Orval Faubus invoked a hastily passed state law to close the high schools rather than obey the federal court orders that would integrate them.
A group of respectable, middle-class white women, faced with the prospect of no schools as well as the further loss of their city’s good name, turned militant. Led by Adolphine Fletcher Teny, a prominent, “old family” civic leader in her seventies, the wome n quickly put together the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC), a highly effective organization that bombarded the city with ads, fliers, and statements challenging Faubus’s action. At peak membership, the WEC mustered two thousand
to their cause. Largely inexperienced in politics when they joined the WEC, these women became articulate, confident promoters of public schools and helped others to understand that those schools must be fully integrated.
Forty years later, Sara Murphy, a key member of the WEC, recounts the rarely told sto1y of these courageous women who formed a resistance movement. With passion and sensitivity, she reconstructs the challenges and triumphs of that battle, which issued from the mutual link Southern white women shared with disfranchised African Americans in their common goal for full citizenship.
This collection of essays mines the Arkansas Historical Quarterly from the 1960s to the present to form a body of work that represents some of the finest scholarship on the crisis, from distinguished southern historians Numan V. Bartley, Neil R. McMillen, Tony A. Freyer, Roy Reed, David L. Chappell, Lorraine Gates Schuyler, John A. Kirk, Azza Salama Layton, and Ben F. Johnson III. A comprehensive array of topics are explored, including the state, regional, national, and international dimensions of the crisis as well as local white and black responses to events, gender issues, politics, and law. Introduced with an informative historiographical essay from John A. Kirk, An Epitaph for Little Rock is essential reading on this defining moment in America's civil rights struggle.
Much has been written about the Little Rock School Crisis of 1957, but very little has been devoted to the following year—the Lost Year, 1958–59—when Little Rock schools were closed to all students, both black and white. Finding the Lost Year is the first book to look at the unresolved elements of the school desegregation crisis and how it turned into a community crisis, when policymakers thwarted desegregation and challenged the creation of a racially integrated community and when competing groups staked out agendas that set Arkansas’s capital on a path that has played out for the past fifty years.
In Little Rock in 1958, 3,665 students were locked out of a free public education. Teachers’ lives were disrupted, but students’ lives were even more confused. Some were able to attend schools outside the city, some left the state, some joined the military, some took correspondence courses, but fully 50 percent of the black students went without any schooling. Drawing on personal interviews with over sixty former teachers and students, black and white, Gordy details the long-term consequences for students affected by events and circumstances over which they had little control.
“Fifty years ago segregationists trying to keep black students out of Little Rock Central High inadvertently broke up one of the country’s greatest football dynasties. . . . Wait a minute. . . . Who said you can’t have a high school football team just because you don’t have a high school? Canceling football, Faubus decreed, would be ‘a cruel and unnecessary blow to the children.’ O.K. then, everyone agreed. Play ball!”
—“Blinded by History,” Sports Illustrated
“It was one of those periods that you got through, as opposed to enjoyed. It wasn’t an environment that . . . was nurturing, so you shut it out. You just got through it. You just took it a day at a time. You excelled if you could. You did your best. You felt as though the eyes of the community were on you.”—Glenda Wilson, East Side Junior High
Much has been written about the historical desegregation of Little Rock Central High School by nine African American students in 1957. History has been silent, however, about the students who desegregated Little Rock’s five public junior high schools—East Side, Forest Heights, Pulaski Heights, Southwest, and West Side—in 1961 and 1962.
The First Twenty-Five gathers the personal stories of these students some fifty years later. They recall what it was like to break down long-standing racial barriers while in their early teens—a developmental stage that often brings emotional vulnerability. In their own words, these individuals share what they saw, heard, and felt as children on the front lines of the civil rights movement, providing insight about this important time in Little Rock, and how these often painful events from their childhoods affected the rest of their lives.
Since Arkansas’s creation as an independent territory in 1819, its legislature has officially designated a wide assortment of symbols. Some of these refer to economic mainstays while others attest to the aspirations of those who saw a bright future for their extensive and varied community. This volume’s essays examine each of Arkansas’s officially designated symbols, outlining their genesis, their significance at the time of their adoption, and their place in modern Arkansas. Combining political narratives, natural history, and the occasional “shaggy dog” story, Ware makes a case for considering the symbols as useful keys to understanding both the Arkansas that has been and the one it hopes to be.
During the 2017 session, the Arkansas Legislative Assembly expanded the state’s complement of official state symbols. The second edition of this statewide bestseller includes an additional chapter on Arkansas’s newest symbol: the state dinosaur, Arkansaurus fridayi.
In It’s Official!, David Ware makes a case for considering the symbols as useful keys to understanding both the Arkansas that has been and the one it hopes to be.
History books provide the statistics and the “big picture” of the Great Depression, but what did any of that mean for a family just trying to make it through those years? A. Cleveland Harrison’s A Little Rock Boyhood provides that viewpoint in this evocative memoir as he captures what Little Rock was like for him as a child in the 1930s. The Harrison family’s experiences and those of their extended family and neighbors bring the tough economic times down to the individual level. The youngest Harrison is an able reporter, relating the memories of an observant though naive child. All was not grim, though, if you were a kid, and Harrison describes those happy times. He remembers his life in the residential neighborhoods of downtown Little Rock when a child could grow up in difficult times without becoming difficult. This book is an insightful look back at a time, a place, and a childhood.
Arkansas's Old State House, arguably the most famous building in the state, was conceived during the territorial period and has served through statehood. A History of Arkansas's Old State House traces the history of the architecture and purposes of the remarkable building. The history begins with Gov. John Pope's ideas for a symbolic state house for Arkansas and continues through the construction years and an expansion in 1885. After years of deterioration, the building was abandoned by the state government, and the Old State House then became a medical school and office building. Kwas traces the subsequent fight for the building's preservation on to its use today as a popular museum of Arkansas history and culture. Brief biographies of secretaries of state, preservationists, caretakers, and others are included, and the book is generously illustrated with early and seldom-seen photographs, drawings, and memorabilia.
In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Arkansas governor Orval Faubus viewed the desegregation of Little Rock Central High through very different lenses. The president worried that displays of rampant racism tarnished the nation's reputation as a global power and undermined efforts to thwart the spread of communism. The governor sided with his segregationist constituents to guarantee his political survival. For the nine teenagers caught in the middle, Central High was a cauldron of racial tension. These students represented the black and moderate-white community’s desire for social justice. The documents collected in this book–newspaper articles, political cartoons, excerpts from oral histories and memoirs, speeches, photographs, and editorials–help readers understand how this local, southern conflict became a national and international cause. The documents selected cover the period 1900–2006. Some have never been published before or are in out-of-print sources. Each reveals something significant about the event and its aftermath, while some offer an unconventional or unexpected perspective on the crisis and the issues it raised. A timeline, a list of key players in the crisis, and a selected, annotated bibliography are included.
Residents and visitors have an urban-outdoor haven in Little Rock: actually more than two dozen of them. They are the hiking trails, biking trails as well as the canoe and kayak-read waterways within the city and immediate area. Whether your passion is a quiet walk in the woods, a mountain-climb, fishing, bird-watching, or a quiet float, this handbook will help you find and use the trails and waterways of Little Rock.