Arkansas Moments

Arkansas Moments is a special feature of UALR 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 UALR's Institute on Race and Ethnicity.

UALR Desegregation: 50 Years After

Jul 16, 2014

On August 10, 1964, the Little Rock University Board of Trustees voted to change article two of its constitution that read: “The purpose and objects of this corporation shall be to own, control, conduct and/or operate (but not for profit) a college, school, or schools, and to promote generally the higher education of white persons.” The term “white persons” was dropped following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 earlier that summer, which threatened to withhold federal funds from entities that did not comply with new anti-discriminatory laws.

UALR Desegregation: 50 Years After

Jul 16, 2014

In August 1964, Little Rock University (LRU, now UALR) admitted its first African American students under threat of losing federal funds if it did not desegregate following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In his annual report, President Carey V. Stabler noted: “Apparently, we shall have about a 13 per cent increase in enrollment, most of which is in the new freshmen group which increased nearly 25 per cent…Among the students are seven Negroes, three full-time and four part-time.

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.

Voting Rights In Arkansas: The 1960s

Feb 8, 2012

The 1960s witnessed a revolution in voting rights in Arkansas. In 1964, Amendment Twenty-Four to the U.S. Constitution outlawed the use of the poll tax in federal elections.

In 1965, Arkansas abolished the poll tax as a requirement for voting and introduced a permanent personal voter registration system. This required a free, one-off registration to vote that in most cases lasted a lifetime. Qualifying to vote became much easier and the number of African American and white electors rose rapidly.