Arkansas History

Former U.S. Congressman Ray Thornton.
Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Former U.S. congressman, Arkansas Supreme Court justice and university president Raymond "Ray" Thornton died early Wednesday, his former chief of staff says. He was 87. Thornton was in hospice care for lung cancer in Pulaski County.

The Conway native graduated from Yale University in 1950 and a few years later served in the Navy during the Korean War. Thornton then earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
Arkansas Times

A renowned traveling exhibit of art and artifacts showing the role of African Americans throughout history is now on display at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in downtown Little Rock.

Bernard and Shirley Kinsey have been amassing primary source documents, artifacts and fine art for more than 30 years. Although they live in Los Angeles, since 2007 their collection has toured the nation. It’s been visited by more than 5 million people. This is the first time it has been shown in Arkansas.  

World War I Memorial Joseph Weishaar
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A native Arkansan is leading the design of a World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. On Thursday, 25-year-old Joseph Weishaar was honored for his role in the project during a ceremony at the Arkansas State Capitol that formally established a centennial commemoration committee for the state.

Weishaar is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture who today lives in Chicago, but is preparing to move to Washington to oversee the project.

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.

Rosanne Cash Johnny Cash
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash took part in a fundraiser Thursday evening at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion in Little Rock to benefit the ongoing restoration of her father Johnny Cash's boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson invited her to hold the event there, calling the Cash house, which has been turned into a museum, "a great asset for the state." Arkansas State University bought the dilapidated home in 2011, carefully restoring it to how it looked when Johnny Cash lived there with his parents and siblings.

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.

 

Rosanne Cash Johnny Cash
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Singer and songwriter Rosanne Cash is headlining a performance at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion to raise money for her father's restored boyhood home.

Arkansas State University announced Thursday it's hosting the event with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and First Lady Susan Hutchinson on March 3, with proceeds going to the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess.

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.

Hot Springs will soon have a new Civil War museum that will focus on the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the 1861-1865 American conflict.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports (bit.ly/1n4xqgu) that The Civil War Museum West is expected to open later this year and will feature a collection of artifacts, flags, photos and other items.

The museum will offer tours through 10 areas of various subjects about the war. Visitors will see collections of swords, guns, bullets, flags, and various other artifacts and Civil War relics.

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