Arkansas Moments

Arkansas Moments is a special feature of UA Little Rock's Public Radio that explores the history of the civil rights movement in Arkansas with Dr. John A. Kirk, George W. Donaghey Distinguished Professor of History and director of UA Little Rock's Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity.

jakirk@ualr.edu

MLK Assassination and Gov. Rockefeller 1

Mar 4, 2018

On April 4, 1968, fifty years ago this month, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Black anger at the assassination immediately spilled out onto the streets and there was racial unrest in many American cities. On April 7, Arkansas governor Winthrop Rockefeller held a memorial service on the steps of the state Capitol Building, the only southern governor to make such a gesture of mourning and reconciliation.

MLK Assassination and Gov. Rockefeller 2

Mar 4, 2018

On April 4, 1968, fifty years ago this month, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Black anger at the assassination immediately spilled out onto the streets and there was racial unrest in many American cities. On April 7, Arkansas governor Winthrop Rockefeller held a memorial service on the steps of the state Capitol Building, the only southern governor to make such a gesture of mourning and reconciliation. Despite invitations none of Arkansas’s congressmen attended. Over 3,000 people did turn out to a service that lasted 90 minutes.

MLK Assassination and Pine Bluff

Mar 4, 2018

On April 4, 1968, fifty years ago this month, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Black anger at the assassination immediately spilled out onto the streets and there was racial unrest in many American cities. In Pine Bluff, on the night of April 5, five instances of arson were reported, the windows of downtown businesses were broken, and a gun battle took place between local blacks and white policemen at the Gala nightclub. Three black people were shot and wounded by the police and another 320 were detained.

Reconstruction and the Razorbacks

Mar 4, 2018

One hundred and fifty years ago this month, Arkansas ratified its fourth constitution, beginning an era of Reconstruction following the Civil War. Although Arkansas appears to have developed an historical amnesia about Reconstruction, jumping as swiftly as it has from sesquicentennial commemorations of the Civil War to the centennial of World War I, Reconstruction was arguably more important than both of those events. One of the key achievements of Reconstruction was the establishment of a state university. The University of Arkansas first opened its doors in 1872.

Reconstruction and Public Education

Mar 4, 2018

One hundred and fifty years ago this month, Arkansas ratified its fourth constitution, beginning an era of Reconstruction following the Civil War. Although Arkansas appears to have developed an historical amnesia about Reconstruction, jumping as swiftly as it has from sesquicentennial commemorations of the Civil War to the centennial of World War I, Reconstruction was arguably more important than both of those events. One of the key achievements of Reconstruction was the establishment a free public schools system in Arkansas.

Reconstruction and Racial Equality

Mar 4, 2018

One hundred and fifty years ago this month, Arkansas ratified its fourth constitution, beginning an era of Reconstruction following the Civil War. Although Arkansas appears to have developed an historical amnesia about Reconstruction, jumping as swiftly as it has from sesquicentennial commemorations of the Civil War to the centennial of World War I, Reconstruction was arguably more important than both of those events. One of the key achievements of Reconstruction was an experiment with racial equality.

MLK Day 2018

Jan 9, 2018

This year, for the first time, Arkansas will celebrate civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday as a standalone holiday. Speaking at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, King said: “I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin...the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society.

Silas Hunt @ UofA

Jan 9, 2018

Seventy years ago, in February 1948, the University of Arkansas became the first major public university in the South to voluntarily admit a black student without a lawsuit when it enrolled World War II veteran Silas Hunt in its Law School. Although Hunt was accepted, it was under a strict regimen of segregation. He was forced to study in a segregated classroom on his own in the basement of the law building. Hunt’s one-on-one tuition annoyed some of the white students who were crammed into an overcrowded lecture theater above him, and they began to sneak into his classroom.

The "Six Pioneers" @ UofA

Jan 9, 2018

Seventy years ago, in February 1948, the University of Arkansas became the first major public university in the South to voluntarily admit a black student without a lawsuit. Silas Hunt was the first of “Six Pioneers” that desegregated the university. The others were Wiley Branton, who later became Dean of the Law School at Howard University in Washington, D.C.; George Haley, who later became one of the first blacks elected to the Kansas Senate; George Howard, who later became the first black person appointed to the Arkansas Supreme Court; Christopher C.

Edith Mae Irby @ UAMS

Jan 9, 2018

Seventy years ago, in February 1948, the University of Arkansas became the first major public university in the South to voluntarily admit a black student without a lawsuit, when it enrolled Silas Hunt in its Law School. This paved the way for the desegregation of the university’s Medical School in fall 1948 when it accepted the application of Edith Mae Irby. At that time, the Medical School was in the same building that the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law now occupies.

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