Arkansas Civil Rights

UPDATE: The Washington County Clerk's office reports that voters approved the anti-discrimination ordinance 52.8 percent to 47.2 percent. 14,593 ballots were cast out of 49,634 registered voters. 

A northwest Arkansas city is getting a second shot at banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as voters weigh whether to challenge a new state law aimed at banning such local protections.

Dr. John Kirk at KUAR in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

KUAR catches up with the new head of UALR’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity Dr. John Kirk to talk about his mission, perceptions of the state takeover of the Little Rock School District, and where Black Lives Matter fits in the narrative of the civil rights movement.

Cummins arkansas department of correction prison
Arkansas Department of Correction

Arkansas has the highest percentage of male inmates in solitary confinement in the country according to a new report.

Fayetteville's City Council in an August meeting on an anti-discrimination ordinance.
Jacqueline Froelich / KUAF

A state judge has ruled a northwest Arkansas city can vote next week on a proposal to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Washington County Circuit Judge Doug Martin on Thursday denied a motion to block next week's special election on the Fayetteville anti-discrimination ordinance.

Opponents of the ordinance had sought a temporary restraining order and had argued, among other things, that the ordinance violated a state law aimed at preventing local anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A cancer physician, a choreographer, a home-economics pioneer, and a NFL pro-bowler are among Arkansans named to the Black Hall of Fame Tuesday. Charles Stewart, the Hall of fame’s co-chair, said inductees are meant to inspire Arkansas’s African American community.

“We look for people who have Arkansas roots, who have achieved national or international acclaim in their chosen fields of endeavor. Sometimes, we will look at people who are just the salt of the earth and have made a difference here in Arkansas,” he said.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says a 2013 law allows someone to openly carry a handgun as long as they don't plan to illegally use it against another person.

The Republican said in an advisory opinion Friday that the law generally allows "open carry," but cautioned that other laws limiting handguns such as a ban on them on Capitol grounds and at schools are still in effect. She also noted that private property owners can still prohibit open carry of handguns.

As Arkansas contends with overcrowded prisons, high rates of recidivism among parolees, and the potential resumption of executions, a conference this weekend at the UALR Bowen School of Law is focusing on findings of a report by the Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System Project.

A new analysis of federal data shows Arkansas following a trend with 12 other southern states of disproportionally expelling and suspending African-American kids from public schools.

The University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education released the study Tuesday. It shows that in the 2011-2012 school year, 50 percent of children suspended and 33 percent of kids expelled were African-American, that despite Blacks making up only 21 percent of of the K-12 population in Arkansas public schools.


Susan Hutchinton Dale Charles Daisy Bates House Little Rock Nine
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The foundation that oversees the house where the Little Rock Nine coordinated efforts to integrate Central High School in the 1950s is launching a fundraising campaign. For $100 each, people can have their names and messages placed on 4x8 inch bricks that will make up a sidewalk leading to the home.

It will enable further renovations of the modest home at 1207 West 28th Street where L.C. and Daisy Bates lived during the time Mrs. Bates led efforts to allow the nine African-Americans to attend the formerly all-white school.