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

Winthrop Rockefeller on Muslims

Oct 7, 2016

Fifty years ago this November [2016], Winthrop Rockefeller was elected Arkansas’s first Republican governor in almost a century. In the oil business in the 1940s, he spent time in the Middle East. He later reflected: “I know it is difficult for us not to think of ourselves as superior to people who are as different from us in culture, background, customs and religion as the Moslems….[But] it is up to us to work together to bring about that rapport which will enable us to live together in peace and mutual respect.

Segregationist General Assembley of 1959

Aug 2, 2016

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. Act 236 of the 1959 General Assembly reinforced the state’s position that no student should have to attend a desegregated school. It allowed the parents of a student to directly petition the State Board of Education for a grant to cover the cost of sending their child to a segregated school in another school district or to a private school.

Segregationist General Assembley of 1958

Aug 2, 2016

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. Acts 4 and 5 of the 1958 General Assembly worked in concert to try to undermine public school districts by transferring public money to private schools. Act 4 allowed the governor to close integrated schools. Act 5 provided for the transfer of funds from an integrated public school district to a segregated school district or to a private school. In 1959 a federal district court ruled both acts unconstitutional.

Segregationist General Assembley of 1957

Aug 2, 2016

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.

A Case of Mistaken Desegregation: Schools

Jun 12, 2016

In August 1957, under court order, Van Buren peacefully desegregated its high school. However, after violent resistance to school desegregation in September 1957 in the state capitol of Little Rock, Van Buren decided that its desegregation had been a mistake. When the school opened in 1958, whites copied Little Rock in holding angry protests, student strikes and trying to intimidate black students into withdrawing. “If it hadn’t been for Little Rock, we wouldn’t have this trouble now,” one school official said.

A Case of Mistaken Desegregation: Politics

Jun 12, 2016

In 1954, Hot Springs elected its first African American alderman in modern times by mistake. Fred W. Martin was a bathhouse attendant at the Arlington Hotel. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision, Martin decided a new era of black freedom had begun. When he ran for election in the fall of 1954, whites did not expect it. There was a white man running for alderman in another ward called Clifford Martin. When Fred Martin was elected, white voters insisted that they had intended to vote for Clifford Martin instead.

A Case of Mistaken Desegregation: Buses

Jun 12, 2016

In 1956, sixty years ago this year, Little Rock, North Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, and Fort Smith, all desegregated their public transportation systems by mistake. The complicated case of South Carolina Electric and Gas Company v. Flemming was misreported in the national press as heralding the end of bus segregation. A number of southern cities abandoned segregated buses because of this. Even after discovering their mistake, a number of bus companies, including Little Rock’s, decided to keep buses integrated anyway.

Brown II- Bentonville

Feb 15, 2016

Sixty years ago, in May 1955, the United States Supreme Court handed down its school desegregation implementation order, widely known as Brown II. This followed the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision a year earlier. Brown II gave guidelines for how school desegregation should proceed. In 1954 and 1955, four school districts successfully desegregated in Arkansas. The Bentonville School District in northwest Arkansas had only one African American high school student called Carl Stewart.

Brown II- Hoxie

Feb 15, 2016

Sixty years ago, in May 1955, the United States Supreme Court handed down its school desegregation implementation order, widely known as Brown II. This followed the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision a year earlier. Brown II gave guidelines for how school desegregation should proceed. In 1954 and 1955, four school districts successfully desegregated in Arkansas. In the summer of 1955, the Hoxie school board voted for financial reasons, out of a legal obligation, and because it was “morally right in the sight of God” to desegregate.

Brown II- Fayetteville

Feb 15, 2016

Sixty years ago, in May 1955, the United States Supreme Court handed down its school desegregation implementation order, widely known as Brown II. This followed the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision a year earlier. Brown II gave guidelines for how school desegregation should proceed. In 1954 and 1955, four school districts successfully desegregated in Arkansas.

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