Arkansas History

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Work is nearing the halfway point on a nearly $70 million project to renovate Little Rock’s historic Robinson Auditorium.

Nearly everything has now been ripped out, including the stage, balcony, interior walls and floors, leaving little more than the outside shell of the building and its support beams.

The forced relocation of Native Americans is considered by historians to be one of the darkest periods for America. In a new book released this month, NPR Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep digs into the back story of what led to the 1830 Indian Removal Act, which started the process of tribes being moved to undeveloped western parts of the country.

Lee Theater
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas has identified several historical locations in Arkansas that it says are endangered. The alliance announced its findings Thursday in Little Rock.

On the list are:

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
NASA

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.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

It has 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 News

  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.

wikipedia.org

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
www.hisdreamourstories.com

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
nps.gov / National Park Service

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.

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