Voting Rights In Arkansas Since The 1970s

Feb 9, 2012

By 1972, Arkansas had ninety-nine African American elected officials, the second highest number of any southern state.

Throughout the state African Americans won elective offices as state legislators, aldermen, mayors, justices of the peace, school board members, city councilors, city recorders and city clerks.

By 1976, some estimates put Arkansas’ voting age registered African Americans at 94 percent, the highest of any state in the South. But African American voting strength had peaked. The percentage of the state’s African American population has declined.

Congressional districts have split the remaining African American vote almost equally between them, preventing any concentration of influence.

As Arkansas currently commemorates the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, it remains the only former confederate state to have never elected an African American to a statewide office either as governor, U.S. congressman, or U.S. senator.