Arkansas History

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.

Majestic Hotel
Save Her Majesty: Restore The Majestic Hotel Facebook Page

Officials say the latest cleanup plan for the Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs calls for debris removal to start next month.

A large fire ripped through the historic hotel in February, prompting the city to raze part of the complex and condemn the rest. Rubble has piled along Park Avenue since the blaze.

The owner of the property, Park Residences Development LLC, sent a letter last week to the state's environmental quality department about its cleanup plan.

The people working to build a museum dedicated to U.S. Marshals are working with the Army Corps of Engineers on officially securing land on which the building will be constructed on.

Museum president and CEO Jim Dunn says the Robert Westphal family is ready to donate land along the Arkansas River to the museum. But an easement issue with the Army Corps of Engineers has to be resolved first.

Dunn says the Corps' easement was established when it was building the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.

U.S. Marshals Museum

Formal groundbreaking has been held in Fort Smith for a U.S. Marshals Museum on the banks of the Arkansas River overlooking Oklahoma.

Federal, state, tribal and local officials that included U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor and John Boozman; Rep. Steve Womack; Gov. Mike Beebe; Principal Chief George Tiger and marshals services officials were among the estimated crowd of 1,000 that turned out for Wednesday's ceremony.

The groundbreaking took place on the 225th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Oliver Stone

Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone is visiting Little Rock Saturday as part of this year’s Reel Civil Rights Film Festival. Stone will participate in a moderated discussion following the screening of an episode of his 2012 television documentary series, "The Untold History of the United States."

Part of the 60-minute episode explores the decision of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to send the 101st Airborne to Little Rock to enforce the 1957 integration of Central High.