Forum Digs Into Past And Present Of School Desegregation In Arkansas

Feb 5, 2016

Credit Arkansas Times

A forum on desegregation in Little Rock Saturday will cover past events to present-day patterns.

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is hosting the gathering as part of Black History Month. Key speakers on contemporary desegregation issues include attorney John Walker, former school board member Dr. Jim Ross, and longtime teacher Felicia Hobbs.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock Historian John Kirk will speak on the relationship between schools desegregation and neighborhoods, which he said is key to understanding the present. 

"That's kind of implicit in that story about city development and city expansion," he said.  And about "how the city has grown has influenced where school are placed," said Kirk. 

Kirk will also speak on a locally originated court case, Aaron V. Cooper, which challenged federal authority to enact school integration. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the start of the case, which began in February of 1956.

It eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and launched a series of desegregation cases that continue to today.

The event is being put on by The Black History and Arkansas History Commissions. It will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Templars building in Little Rock.