Arkansas Civil Rights

HRC Arkansas Director Kendra Johnson and HRC President Chad Griffin speaking at the Capitol about an ad HRC is running opposed to a so-called religious liberty law proposed in 2015.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Late this afternoon our often-slighted neighbors to the east in Mississippi are expected to send a so-called religious freedom bill to their governor. Governor Phil Bryant now faces a decision that Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson had to make last year.

Black lawmakers are holding off on saying whether they support an effort this year to end Arkansas' practice of honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day.

The Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus on Tuesday tabled a vote on ending the dual holiday. Gov. Asa Hutchinson is considering putting the proposal on the agenda for a special session later this spring. Members of the caucus said they want to see the proposed legislation in writing before taking a stance.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Birmingham Police Department

The Pulaski County Quorum Court has passed a resolution to support proposed legislation that would end the state's practice of commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day.

The court voted 13-0 Tuesday to support ending the practice in Arkansas - one of three states to jointly celebrate the black civil rights leader and the white Confederate general on the third Monday in January.

Daisy Bates Home
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Monday is Daisy Gatson Bates Day, an Arkansas state holiday. It is celebrated concurrently with Presidents Day, when government buildings are closed in observance. The holiday comes as a foundation attempting to completely restore the civil rights leader's former home continues to look for ways to raise more money and promote her life's work.

 

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (center) signs a black history month declaration while sitting beside State Sen. Linda Chesterfield (right).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson used the stature of his office to commemorate Black History month with African-American leaders and dozens of school children at the Capitol, Monday. The governor signed a declaration and lent his voice.

“It is not a time for African-Americans to celebrate your own history by yourself. It is a time that you share African-American history with everyone else,” said Hutchinson.

The Republican governor said everyone must be vigilant in protecting the gains of the past.

Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center

A report issued Friday by the Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center shows large percentages of the state's poultry workers face wage violations and workplace abuse.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Many gathered for events throughout Little Rock celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Day, from the annual "marade" organized by the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP, to a day of service at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

While Arkansas also marked Robert E. Lee Day Monday, few events around the state honored the Confederate Civil War general. Supporters, including the state chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy, say they will celebrate Lee's actual Jan. 19 birthday Tuesday.

On Monday, several events around central Arkansas are commemorating and celebrating the work and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

--At the UALR Jack Stephens Center, the state Martin Luther King Jr Commission is holding a "Mega King Fest" from 7am to 3pm. Doors Open at 6:30am. The day will start out with an interfaith prayer breakfast lasting until 8:30am. It's expected to be attended by Governor Asa Hutchinson, Senator Tom Cotton, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and others. 

Arkansas-born civil rights leader Ozell Sutton passed away in Atlanta on Saturday at the age of 90.

His accomplishments in Arkansas include helping to desegregate downtown Little Rock and serving as an advisor to former Governor Winthrop Rockefeller.

Marissa Marisa Pavan Birth Certificate certificates same-sex marrriage
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Health Department has decided to issue amended birth certificates for children of same-sex couples who can prove they were married before the child was born.

Health Department spokeswoman Meg Mirivel said Monday that the department reviewed an order from Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox and decided to amend those specific birth certificates starting last Friday. Fox issued a ruling striking down a portion of the state's birth certificate law and said Arkansas must amend the birth certificates, listing both spouses as parents.

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