Arkansas History

Port Authority Board of Directors Chairman Christopher Mathews.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Little Rock Port Authority decided Wednesday it will formally weigh-in on the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma’s attempt to turn 160 acres near the Arkansas River into trust land. That status would exempt it from local and state control and be the first designation of its kind in Arkansas.

Apollo 13 crew

Two Apollo 13 astronauts and its Mission Control flight director are to speak at the University of Arkansas about the flight, its problems and the eventual safe return to Earth.

Flight Capt. James Lovell, lunar module pilot Fred Haise and flight director Gene Krantz are to speak April 23 in Bud Walton Arena as part of the student Distinguished Lecture Series. The third astronaut on the flight - Jack Swigert - died in 1982.

Apollo 13 launched April 11, 1970, intended to be the third NASA mission to land men on the moon. But an oxygen tank exploded, crippling the spacecraft.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

One hundred and fifty years ago this week Arkansas ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Just after the conclusion of an afternoon seminar in Sturgis Hall of the Clinton School of Public Service on Tuesday, Dean Skip Rutherford asked folks to stick around and reflect on the Amendment.

“That Amendment abolished slavery and as a result over 400,000 slaves in Arkansas were freed,” he said.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Its been 30 years since a legendary Little Rock radio station changed formats, marking the end of a key chapter for Arkansas media. This past weekend, many former employees of KAAY-AM 1090 got together to share stories and reflect on changes in the industry.

Little Rock Nine 9
Michael Hibblen / KUAR

  The National Archives has digitally remastered a film about the Little Rock Nine for the anniversary of its Academy Award win for best short documentary 50 years ago.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that it's the fifth film the archives' Motion Picture Preservation Lab has restored to cinema quality.

The film will be shown at the National Archives later in the spring and is available online.

The archives says the 18-minute film, titled Nine from Little Rock, was never intended for American viewers but was shown in hundreds of cities around the globe.

The historic Delta Queen riverboat is heading for New Orleans for repairs that some hope will make it seaworthy for the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers again.

One significant hurdle remains for the vessel. A congressional exemption to the Safety of Life at Sea Act is necessary because the Delta Queen is a riverboat rather than an oceangoing vessel. A bill allowing the exemption stalled in the Senate last year.

Lee Powell, Executive Director of the Delta Caucus, is optimistic about congressional support this year.

LaVerne Bell-Tolliver

While the history of the integration of the Little Rock School District is largely overshadowed by the 1957 crisis at Central High School, 25 young African-Americans also faced daunting challenges in following years when they desegregated the city’s junior high schools.

On Saturday, many will be sharing their stories, some for the first time publicly, as part of the celebration of African American history month.

Central High School

Little Rock's Central High School would be in line for restoration money under President Barack Obama's budget.

The president's budget would set aside $50 million for work at key civil rights sites as the nation prepares to mark the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Other sites include the national historical trail from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and the Martin Luther King Jr. site in Atlanta.

President Eisenhower sent federal troops to Central High in 1957 to enforce a court order to let nine black children attend the school.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

It took workers using two excavators a little less than an hour to bring down the old Cinema 150 movie theater in Little Rock. The dome-shaped building at the corner of University and Asher Avenues ran many of the top films of its day.

Built in the late 1960s with a screen that curved at a 150 degree angle, it gave movies a big impact.  The theater was closed in 2003, considered functionally obsolete for having just one screen in an era of multiplexes. But it still had a very special place in the hearts of many who saw films there.

Three coins commemorating the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service will go on sale next month.

The Marshals Service says the coins, including a gold $5 coin, a silver dollar coin and a copper-nickel clad half dollar coin, will be available for purchase in limited quantities beginning Jan. 29. The designs for the coins were unveiled in July.