Arkansas Civil Rights

Group Commemorates Anniversary Of 1964 Civil Rights Act

Jul 3, 2014
Terrence Roberts Little Rock Nine
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR News

The Arkansas Psychological Association held a ceremony Wednesday evening to commemorate the passage of the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago, in 1964.

At the ceremony, held at Little Rock's Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, speakers discussed the link between ongoing work-place discrimination and workers' psychological health.

The Washington County clerk has resumed issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a day after a circuit judge in Pulaski County ruled that all state laws barring gay marriage are unconstitutional.

Two same-sex couples received wedding licenses shortly after the Washington County clerk's office opened Friday at 8 a.m. Clerk Becky Lewallen says a couple did stop by Thursday afternoon for a license, but she told them toreturn in the morning.

The Arkansas Literary Festival scheduled for the end of the month will feature a talk by civil rights figure Rep. John Lewis, who is to discuss his graphic novel memoir.

The festival is to run April 24-27 in Little Rock, and Lewis is scheduled to speak on the closing day.

Lewis, a Democratic congressman from Georgia, took part in sit-ins and freedom rides during the civil rights movement.

His book, "March: Book One," is the first of three planned volumes. Andrew Aydin worked as co-writer with Lewis and it was drawn by North Little Rock artist Nate Powell.

75 kids from around Central Arkansas are volunteering their time in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center hosts an annual “MLK Challenge”, teaching kids about the legacy of Dr. King’s service, as well as the work of many others.

The children, ages 12 to 18, volunteer with eight different sites around Little Rock, including the Dream Center and the Rice Depot.

Adjoa A. Aiyetoro
Malcolm Glover / KUAR

Efforts are underway to examine the criminal justice system in Arkansas and eventually come up with recommendations to improve state prisons.

UALR Bowen Law School professor Adjoa Aiyetoro is overseeing the project. She’s been working with elected officials and community leaders for nearly a year on research concerning racial disparities in sentencing and treatment at Arkansas courts and prisons.

The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission will host a series of events in the state to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

King Commission Executive Director DuShun Scarbrough says a reenactment of that historic march during Civil Rights Movement will take place in Little Rock in an effort to promote dialogue and encourage Arkansans to end violence.

At Arkansas Vigil, Calls For Racial Justice

Jul 16, 2013
Brian Chilson/ The Arkansas Times

A vigil at the steps of the Arkansas Capitol to mark the Trayvon Martin verdict changed focus after Little Rock police fatally shot a fleeing suspect.

Chants of "No justice, no peace," punctuated remarks by several speakers who called for an end to racial profiling and violence in the black community.

Little Rock resident Will McClinton said George Zimmerman's acquittal in Martin's killing is equal to "a green light" to kill black males.

New Photography Exhibit At The Laman Public Library

Jun 29, 2013
Laman Public Library

The Laman Public Library has a new photography exhibit for visitors. “Discover Greatness: An Illustrated History of the Negro Baseball Leagues” will be displayed until August 24th.

Dan Noble, spokesman for the library, says the exhibit features 90 photographs, some over 100 years old. He encourages people of all ages to come see them.

"It's just a great exhibit...people can just stop by on their lunch break or make a little afternoon out of it but I think the people of Arkansas would really be interested in seeing this," said Noble. 

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision Wednesday that a federal same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional could impact public policy in Arkansas. 

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor supported the Defense of Marriage Act and says the high court’s ruling still recognizes that marriage contracts should be left up to individual states.

“Arkansas has made the determination that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Pryor said. “I support and respect the state’s decision and my personal belief that marriage is between a man and a woman has not changed.”

Students at Little Rock’s Central High are embracing the school’s rich history and making it their own. What started out as a freshman civics assignment is now the Memory Project, an ongoing oral history compilation about social and human rights issues.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR

55 years ago, a modest home on West 28th Street in Little Rock was where the Little Rock Nine would meet to coordinate efforts to integrate Central High School.

During the days when National Guard troops kept them out of the school, it’s also where they would meet with tutors in the basement to keep up with their studies.

Today the home of L. C. and Daisy Bates is restored to the way it looked in those days and is available for tours from the National Park Service.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR

The nine African-Americans who integrated Central High School in 1957 are being featured in this week's issue of the New Yorker that looks at civil rights icons.

Standing in front of the school, the nine posed for the renowned photographer known as Platon, who has taken portraits of presidents and world leaders and was brought to Little Rock by the magazine for the assignment.

Members of the Little Rock Nine are now in their late 60s.  Only three live in Arkansas today, with the rest spread out around the world.

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