July 2 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Arkansas reacted with a mixture of compliance and non-compliance. In El Dorado, African Americans desegregated the Sky View Drive-In Theater, but the Old Fashioned Dairy Diner closed its doors. In Pine Bluff, a movie theater and four restaurants desegregated, but an attempt by eight African American men to gain service at Lusby’s Coffee Shop ended in a melee. In Forrest City, a number of facilities desegregated peacefully, but attempts to desegregate Forrest Lanes bowling alley led to a truck being overturned. In Fort Smith, African Americans successfully ate at Broadway Restaurant and Dinty Moore’s, but were refused service at City Barbecue. At Lake Texarkana, a race riot and six gunshot wounds resulted from attempts to desegregate the beach there. I’m John Kirk, of the UALR History Department, and this has been an Arkansas Moment.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964- Citizen Response
By John Kirk • Feb 15, 2016