The Arkansas General Assemblies of 1957, 1958 and 1959 passed a whole raft of pro-segregation legislation, much of it to do with school policy. The 1957 General Assembly got the ball rolling. Act 83 created a State Sovereignty Commission to protect Arkansans from the quote “encroachment [of] federal government,” at that time used as a euphemism for desegregation. Act 84 made attendance at an integrated school non-compulsory. Act 85 began an invasive surveillance program of organizations and individual citizens that were deemed in favor of desegregation. Act 86 allowed school districts to hire outside legal counsel to protect school board members and school administrators that were trying to obstruct federal orders to desegregate. These measures were but an opening salvo of legislation that would snowball in the following two years.
Segregationist General Assembley of 1957
By John Kirk • Aug 2, 2016