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

The Elaine Twelve

Apr 2, 2017

After the Elaine, Arkansas race massacre in 1919, in which perhaps more than 200 African Americans were killed, twelve black men were sentenced to death for their alleged role in events. The trials of the men were conducted in a local courthouse surrounded by an armed white mob; their appointed lawyers did not subpoena witnesses or allow their clients to testify; and many of the trails lasted less than an hour with the juries taking less than ten minutes to find them guilty.

W. Harold Flowers and the Wilkerson Case

Apr 2, 2017

William Harold Flowers, a Pine Bluff attorney, was a trailblazer for African American civil rights in Arkansas. Of the many cases that Flowers fought, the 1946 Wilkerson case had the most profound impact. In the case, two black men stood accused of killing two white men, an act that usually brought with it an automatic death sentence. However, Flowers managed to get their sentences commuted to jail terms. At the trial, Flowers successfully demanded that some black jurors sit in judgment on the case, the first time this had happened in the state since Reconstruction.

Raye Jean Jordan Montague

Mar 6, 2017

Raye Jean Jordan Montague was born in Little Rock in 1935. She was educated at Merrill High School and Arkansas Mechanical and Normal College in Pine Bluff. Although she wanted to study engineering, no Arkansas colleges awarded such degrees to African American women at the time, so she studied business instead. In 1956, Montague began a distinguished career with the US Navy as a digital computer systems operator.

Gertrude Hadley Jeannette

Mar 6, 2017

Gertrude Hadley Jeannette was born in Urbana, Union County, Arkansas, in 1914. She attended Little Rock’s Dunbar High School. Rather than going to Fisk University as planned, she eloped to New York City with Joe Jeanette II, a prizefighter and president of the Harlem Dusters motorcycle club.

Florence Beatrice Smith Price

Mar 6, 2017

Florence Beatrice Smith Price was born in Little Rock in 1887. She was taught piano by her mother and began composing pieces while in high school. Price went on to study at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where she received degrees as an organist and piano teacher. Upon eventually returning to Little Rock, she established a music studio, taught piano, and continued to compose pieces; however, she was denied membership in the segregated Arkansas State Music Teachers Association. Price left Arkansas in 1927 for Chicago where she found more opportunities.

Beulah “Sippie” Wallace

Jan 31, 2017

The Arkansas delta’s rich musical and cultural heritage is often overshadowed by the Mississippi delta. Yet as Jimmy Cunningham Jr. and Donna Cunningham note in their book Delta Music and Film: Jefferson County and the Lowlands, published by Arcadia, the Arkansas delta has much to be proud of. Beulah “Sippie” Wallace was born in Plum Bayou.

Miles Davis

Jan 31, 2017

The Arkansas delta’s rich musical and cultural heritage is often overshadowed by the Mississippi delta. Yet as Jimmy Cunningham Jr. and Donna Cunningham note in their book Delta Music and Film: Jefferson County and the Lowlands, published by Arcadia, the Arkansas delta has much to be proud of.

Big Bill Broonzy

Jan 31, 2017

The Arkansas delta’s rich musical and cultural heritage is often overshadowed by the Mississippi delta. Yet as Jimmy Cunningham Jr. and Donna Cunningham note in their book Delta Music and Film: Jefferson County and the Lowlands, published by Arcadia, the Arkansas delta has much to be proud of. One of its favorite sons is bluesman “Big Bill” Broonzy.

This year’s honorees on the UA Little Rock Joel E. Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity’s award-winning Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail, located in downtown Little Rock, all represent the theme of Economic Advancement:

This year’s honorees on the UALR Joel E. Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity’s award-winning Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail, located in downtown Little Rock, all represent the theme of Economic Advancement. One of the honorees is William “Sonny” Walker, head of the Arkansas Office of Economic Opportunity, which coordinated War on Poverty efforts in the state in the 1960s.

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