Arkansas Moments

Arkansas Moments is a special feature of UA Little Rock's Public Radio that explores the history of the civil rights movement in Arkansas with Dr. John A. Kirk, George W. Donaghey Distinguished Professor of History and director of UA Little Rock's Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity.

jakirk@ualr.edu

Sixty years ago this month, the Arkansas General Assembly convened a special session to pass a whole raft of prosegregation legislation. Act 4 allowed the governor to close any school district that was under threat of integration. Act 5 allowed student funding to be transferred from closed public schools to private schools. Act 6 allowed students to transfer from a closed public school to a private school. Act 7 gave white students the right not to be taught in a classroom with black students. Act 10 ordered all public school teachers to disclose any group memberships.

Sixty years ago this month, the Arkansas General Assembly convened a special session to pass a whole raft of prosegregation legislation. Act 10, introduced by Attorney General Bruce Bennett, ordered all public school teachers to disclose group memberships. The intent was to harass and intimidate members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, which the state blamed for school desegregation. Some teachers refused to divulge the information. These included Little Rock teachers B. T. Shelton and J. O. Powell, as well as University of Arkansas professor Max Carr.

Sixty years ago this month, the Arkansas General Assembly convened a special session to pass a whole raft of prosegregation legislation. Act 17 created new punishments for disturbing the peace in a public place, an express attempt to circumvent any sit-in demonstrations in the state. Although the lunch counter sit-ins did not sweep across the South until early 1960, there had been several isolated attempts at such demonstrations in Kansas and Oklahoma in the summer of 1958. Little Rock’s first sit-ins came in March 1960 led by Philander Smith students.

NAACP @ 100 #1

Jun 5, 2018

On July 4, 1918, one hundred years ago this summer, the forms were filled out to found Arkansas’s first branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), based in the state capital of Little Rock. Fifty people signed the “Application for Charter,” and J. H. McConico, who lived at 2216 Cross Street and listed his occupation as an auditor, was nominated as branch president.

NAACP @ 100 #2

Jun 5, 2018

On July 4, 1918, one hundred years ago this summer, the first Arkansas branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was organized in the state capital of Little Rock. A year later, one of the national NAACP’s earliest legal victories was achieved in the state. After the Elaine massacre in 1919, when possibly hundreds of black men, women and children were gunned down by a white mob when black sharecroppers sought to unionize, twelve black men were handed the death sentence for their alleged role in events.

NAACP @ 100 #3

Jun 5, 2018

On July 4, 1918, one hundred years ago this summer, the first Arkansas branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was organized in the state capital of Little Rock. One of the NAACP’s most famous moments in the state came forty years later. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision, state NAACP president Daisy Bates, who was elected in 1952, spearheaded efforts to desegregate Arkansas schools.

NAACP @ 100 #4

Jun 5, 2018

On July 4, 1918, one hundred years ago this summer, the first Arkansas branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was organized in the state capital of Little Rock. The NAACP has always been an important incubator for black leadership and advancement in the state. In 1961, Pine Bluff attorney George Howard succeeded Daisy Bates as NAACP state president. Howard went on to blaze a legal trail as the first black person appointed to the Arkansas Court of Appeals, the Arkansas Supreme Court, and as a judge in an Arkansas federal court.

Poor People's Campaign

Jun 5, 2018

The Poor People’s Campaign has recently seen a revival led nationally by North Carolina’s Rev. William Barber. This follows in the footsteps of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign fifty years ago that sought to bring together a multiracial and multiethnic coalition of the poor across the United States to fight for social and economic justice. The Arkansas Poor People’s Campaign is today’s state affiliate of the national organization. Back in 1969, it was Forrest City native and factory worker Cato Brooks, Jr.

"Freedom of Choice"

Jun 5, 2018

Fifty years ago the U.S. Supreme Court labeled so-called “freedom of choice” school desegregation plans as inadequate. One of the test cases, Raney v. Board of Education, originated in Gould, Arkansas. “Freedom of choice” theoretically allowed all students to choose which school to attend. In practice, the school choice agenda meant that whites got to choose to go to white schools while blacks were more often than not denied that choice on the grounds that white schools were full. For blacks, it turned out that school choice was in fact no choice at all.

Education: 15th Annual Racial Attitudes Survey

Jun 5, 2018

The Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity recently released its 15th annual Racial Attitudes in Pulaski County survey.

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