Arkansas History

Suffrage In Sixty Seconds: The Hamburg Debates

May 22, 2019

In July of 1871, the Ashley County Times included nine closely-printed columns detailing the arguments of the latest meeting of the Hamburg Debating Society. The topic of the debate was whether or not women should have the right to vote.

Encyclopedia of Arkansas
Encyclopedia of Arkansas

The online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture is getting a redesign. The resource is part of the Central Arkansas Library System and launched in 2006. But on Wednesday a revised, more modern version of the website was unviled. It includes new features and works on mobile devices.

Reporter Jacqueline Froelich with Fayetteville station KUAF spoke with staff at the encyclopedia about its past and what’s ahead. You can hear her report above or visit the revised site here.

Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute: Marion Noble

May 6, 2019

Marion Noble, born at Garner in White County in 1911, was one of three Arkansas men who served in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.

Noble’s father was a railroad worker known for treating black and white colleagues equally. After he lost his job, he opened a car repair business where young Marion worked as a mechanic.

Encyclopedia of Arkansas Minute: Kessler Vs. Strecker

May 6, 2019

Kessler vs. Strecker, a 1939 deportation case, reached the Supreme Court of the United States and continues to be cited in cases involving undocumented immigrants.

Hot Springs restaurant owner Joseph Strecker immigrated to the U.S. in 1912 and applied for citizenship in 1933. He was arrested for having donated sixty cents to a Communist presidential candidate the year before and ordered deported.

Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute: Clay Fulks

May 6, 2019

Born at Pearson in Cleburne County in 1880, Clay Fulks became a notable figure in the limited history of radical leftism in Arkansas.

Suffrage In Sixty Seconds: Arkansas Gazette Report On Couzins' Lecture

Apr 15, 2019

On January 3, 1870, Phoebe Couzins delivered the first public lecture on women’s suffrage in Little Rock.

The majority of the Arkansas Gazette’s report on the lecture described Couzins’ physical attributes declaring her “decidedly handsome,” and detailing her dress, her jewelry, and even her hair style. The reporter lauded Couzins for delivering her talk from memory and noted, “Some of its sentences produced an unmistakable sensation.”

Suffrage In Sixty Seconds: Phoebe Couzins Lecture Announcement

Apr 15, 2019

On January 1, 1870, the front page of the Arkansas Gazette included an invitation to Miss Phoebe Couzins to deliver a lecture to the citizens of Little Rock.

Interestingly, the invitation was signed by twenty-five men claiming “a deep interest in every movement calculated to improve and elevate the human family.”

Miss Couzins acceptance was also included in the notice and stated her belief that “the enfranchisement of women is to be the next question before the country, and that with it a very important step toward the elevation of the human family will be accomplished.”

Suffrage In Sixty Seconds: The Fifteenth Amendment

Apr 15, 2019

In March of 1869, Arkansas became the tenth state to ratify the fifteenth amendment which declared that the right to vote shall not be denied “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

While these few words, in theory if not in practice, enfranchised African Americans, including former slaves, it also appeared to implicitly allow states to deny enfranchisement based on sex.

Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute: Turney Wood Products

Apr 15, 2019

Arkansas was once home to one of the largest manufacturers of church furniture in the world. Claude H. Turney opened Turney Wood Products in his Harrison garage in 1946, building furniture for the nearby First Church of the Nazarene.

Using red and white oak harvested in the Ozark Mountains, Turney Wood Products built furniture that was going into one thousand churches annually by the mid-1960s when the firm boasted of being “the largest exclusive church furniture manufacturer in the western hemisphere.”

Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute: Peggy Sue Bosmyer

Apr 15, 2019

With her 1977 ordination at Little Rock’s Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Dr. Peggy Sue Bosmyer became the first female Episcopal priest south of the Mason Dixon Line.

Born in Helena on July 26th, 1948, Bosmyer had served as a deacon in Pine Bluff and an intern curate in Little Rock prior to her ordination. While some said women priests would “tear apart the Church” and one Episcopal leader stated that “we’ve never had a woman priest back to year one,” Arkansas Bishop Christoph Keller Jr. said Bosmyer’s priesthood emphasized “not the maleness but the humanity of Jesus Christ.”

Encyclopedia Of Arkansas: Jonesboro Church Wars

Apr 15, 2019

Actor-comedian turned evangelist Joe Jeffers brought turmoil to Jonesboro’s Baptist community, leading to brawls, gunfights and a fatal shooting.

Johnny Cash Daisy Bates
Library of Congress/ National Park Service

A proposal to replace Arkansas’s two statues in the U.S. Capitol with singer Johnny Cash and civil rights leader Daisy Bates has advanced to the state House of Representatives for what could be a final vote. The bill was passed in the Arkansas Senate last month with no one voting against it.

Suffrage In Sixty Seconds: Rights Of Woman Lecture

Mar 4, 2019

On September 28, 1869, the Arkansas Gazette published a notice from one Miss Louise F. Vickers inviting Little Rock citizens to hear her lecture on “The Rights of Woman.”

While Vickers avoids inflammatory suffrage language in her advertisement, she does say “the subject is justly creating much comment throughout the United States and will continue to exercise the minds of just men and thinking women until woman is admitted to her proper sphere in the orbit of society now unjustly withheld from her.”

Suffrage In Sixty Seconds: 1869 Arkansas Gazette Editorial

Mar 4, 2019

Even before Arkansas women began formally organizing women’s suffrage campaigns, the February 25, 1869 edition of the Arkansas Gazette ran an editorial lampooning the very notion.

It begins, “And are they serious in this movement in favor of woman’s rights?” and asks “Don’t [women] wield already the most absolute despotism on earth? .... are not all men slaves to their caprices?”

The only right of women the writer is willing to endorse is the “right to dress, to look as pretty as they please.”

Suffrage In Sixty Seconds: Letter To Susan B. Anthony

Mar 4, 2019

After attempting and failing to include women’s right to vote in the 1868 Arkansas Constitution, Arkadelphian Miles Ledford Langley wrote a letter to Susan B. Anthony, a leader of the national suffrage movement.

He told her that not only had the convention failed “to guarantee to woman her God-given and well-earned rights of civil and political equality,” his motion, he said, was met with “ridicule, sarcasm, and insult.”