Arkansas Civil Rights

Arkansas League of the South Chair R.G. Miller (right) in Batesville in 2015 working alongside the loosely defined heritage movement to restore a Confederate Flag on a courthouse lawn.
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The modern day white Southern secessionist movement in Arkansas spent most of Saturday at the Conway Public Library. It wasn't just the thousands of publicly supported books and assorted educational materials that drew in the Southern nationalists, it was the first state conference of the Arkansas League of the South.

As a former civil rights attorney and now as a legal scholar and historian, Gloria Browne Marshall is no stranger to the restrictions American voters have faced in Southern states and elsewhere. Marshall is a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York and  she is the author of The Voting Rights War: The NAACP and the Struggle for Justice.

Marshall spoke Friday evening in Little Rock about the state of voting rights and voter suppression past and present. 

Judge Wendell Griffen at Truthful Tuesday on the steps of the state Capitol in 2014.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

Judge Wendell Griffen is calling some of Little Rock’s most prominent black leaders “enablers” of a “deeply racist” system following a failed vote to require police officers to live in the city they have pledged to protect. The Little Rock City Board of Directors voted down a residency requirement on Tuesday along racial lines but approved a package offering incentives for living in the city to new hires across all the city’s departments.

(from left) Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Mervin Jebaraj, assistant director of the Center for Business and Economic Research; Sherman Tate, state Urban League board chair; and Ken Wade, executive director of the Urban League of the State of Arkansas.
Steve Brawner / Talk Business and Politics

Poverty rates increased for African Americans in Little Rock from 2010-13 while median incomes for all races dropped in Fort Smith over that time period, according to a report released Thursday (Sept. 1) by the state’s Urban League chapter.

Secretary interior Sally jewell transportation secretary Anthony Foxx National Park Service Ranger Jodi Morris
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Two members of President Obama’s cabinet visited Little Rock Tuesday, getting a firsthand look at the historic Central High School. It was part of a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

A federal lawsuit alleges twelve percent of the city of Sherwood is being funded through predatory practices of a bad checks court system.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas partnered with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to file the case against the city and Pulaski County.  

Attorney Bettina Brownstein says the city imposes a ceaseless punishment of jail time and escalating fines for those who write bad checks and can’t cover the cost of an initial court fine.

A view of the Jefferson County Courthouse in Pine Bluff from inside the historic, but crumbling Hotel Pines.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Nine Pine Bluff police officers returned their Medals of Valor on Thursday after the city council directed scrutiny over why they were awarded. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman spoke with council member Thelma Walker about a police shooting and the death of a 107-year-old man.

Sec. of State Mark Martin (R)
sos.arkansas.gov / Secretary of State's Office

The Democratic Party of Arkansas has retained the Rose Law Firm for a potential Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office.

Talk Business & Politics reports party officials also plan to make other FOIA requests, and with allied groups, are considering hiring an Atlanta-based voting rights litigation specialist and suing the office in federal court.

Early voters
Sarah-Koditschek / KUAR

The Democratic Party of Arkansas says the Secretary of State’s office has promised to turn over documents related to 7,730 voters it recommended county clerks remove from voting rolls.

Party legal counsel Chris Burks says Mark Martin’s office did not respond within the required three days to a Freedom of Information Act Request for information.

He says the documents could show why Martin's office requested outdated voter rolls from the state's Crime Information center and distributed them to county clerks.  

A year after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, some Arkansas congregations are embracing unions they have traditionally excluded.

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