Arkansas Civil Rights

About 200 people gathered in the Hoxie High School gym to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the school district's integration.

Several of the black students who helped integrate the district also returned to the school for Saturday's event.

Known as the Hoxie 21, the students went to their new schools on July 11, 1955. The integration was peaceful at first, but two weeks later, white supremacists from out of town protested the move.

The struggle to integrate continued in 1957 as federal troops were called to help integrate Little Rock Central High School.

Van Buren County Courthouse.
flickr.com

Arkansas House Majority Leader Ken Bragg says there are no specific or immediate plans to respond legislatively to the US Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. Bragg’s comments to KUAR on Wednesday follow a statement last week on behalf of the House Republican Caucus that called for a new look at additional so-called religious freedom laws.

Assistant Pro Tempore 1st District Senator Eddie Joe Williams (R-Cabot).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas state Senate Republicans are working on legislation to reinforce protections for churches, religious organizations and religious schools in response to last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Mo'ne Davis and her teammates in the 2014 Little League World Series have stopped in Little Rock as part of a civil rights tour.

The Philadelphia-based Anderson Monarchs are on a 23-day tour of landmarks of the civil rights movement and has made stops in Georgia and Alabama. The tour started June 17.

The team visited Little Rock Central High School on Sunday as part of the tour. Little Rock Central High School was desegregated in 1957 when nine black students were integrated into what was then an all-white school.

Below is a collection of statements on the SCOTUS marriage ruling issued by Arkansas-related politicians and elected officials.

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson released the statement below following the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage:

Hutchinson Statement On Marriage Ruling

Jun 26, 2015

Governor Asa Hutchinson Issues Statement on Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson released the statement below following the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage

Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) on the state Capitol steps.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Governor Asa Hutchinson briefly chimed in on the subject of Confederate iconography in the hours preceding the governor of South Carolina’s call on Monday for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from its statehouse grounds.

Hutchinson said the flag does not have a place in contemporary politics but did not say it should be removed from South Carolina’s statehouse either.

The Fayetteville City Council will consider whether to send a new anti-discrimination ordinance to voters in a proposed Sept. 8 special election. Alderwoman Adella Gray, who is sponsoring the ordinance, said Thursday the new version is "very different" from a previous ordinance the city council passed last year.

Charles Zook, son of Arkansas Chamber of Commerce CEO, opposing chamber's role in LRSD state takeover.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A smattering of protestors lined the plaza of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce Wednesday at noon to denounce its support of the state takeover of Little Rock schools. Charles Zook said his family embodies what he characterizes as a suspect network of influence in the state’s 5-4 decision in late January to dissolve the locally elected school board.

Former school board member Charlie McAdoo speaking to about 75 people assembled in church in southwest Little Rock opposed to the state's role in the district.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The first 90-plus days of the Arkansas Department of Education’s role as the operator and arbiter of the state’s largest school district – the Little Rock School District – has not engendered a sense of confidence among all. 

Little Rock Nine 9
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation is planning to honor the surviving members of the Little Rock Nine with its Lincoln Leadership Prize later this month.

The foundation said Thursday that it would honor the civil rights figures on May 18 during a dinner in Chicago. Actress and playwright Regina Taylor will present the awards.

A hostile crowd confronted the nine students as they helped integrate Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957. They became known as the Little Rock Nine.

Jonesboro LGBT Protection Attempt Fails To Gain Support

May 6, 2015

Hot Springs just became the latest in a string of Arkansas cities to add sexual orientation and gender identity to a list of protected classes in city employment and contracts. However, a similar in ordinance in Jonesboro is unable to gain traction or even enough support for a vote to be held. KASU’s Jonathan Reaves reports.

Looking Down on Central Avenue in Hot Springs
wikipedia.org

Hot Springs is the latest Arkansas city at the forefront of a battle to provide legal protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The proposed ordinance, mirroring Little Rock’s recently passed measure applying to city employees and vendors, is being taken up Tuesday night.

City Director Becca Clark is leading the effort in the wake of a not-yet-in-effect state law banning local civil rights protections.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / KUAR

The healthcare experience of transgender people in Arkansas is the subject of what some laud as an unprecedented study being launched by the Arkansas Transgender Equality Coalition (ArTEC) in partnership with the UAMS College of Public Health. The community engagement based research project, funded by a $15,000 federal grant, was announced by ArTEC Tuesday.

The organization’s executive director Andrea Zekis said the award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is a new direction at both the federal and state level.

LGBTQ Flag
wikipedia.org

Authors of a measure to repeal a ban against local civil rights ordinances for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered people are gathering signatures. 51,000 signatures must be gathered within 90 days for the question to be placed on the November 2016 ballot.

Attorney David Couch with Arkansans to Protect Local Rights, said ACT 137 is hateful towards LGBT people. He said he believes there is enough support to get signatures for the ballot and overturn the law.

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