Arkansas History

Encyclopedia of Arkansas Minute: Quatie Ross

Mar 1, 2019

A victim of the Trail of Tears, remembered as “a noble-hearted woman,” is buried in Little Rock’s Mount Holly Cemetery. Elizabeth “Quatie” Ross was born in seventeen ninety-one in the old Cherokee Nation, now part of Georgia.

She married Cherokee chief John Ross in 1813 and after a tribal faction signed the Treaty of New Echota, ceding their rights to their ancestral lands in the southeastern U.S., she and their children accompanied him on the passage to the Indian Territory.

Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute: Mary John

Mar 1, 2019

Mary John was born a slave in the late seventeen-eighties in Louisiana but would lead a remarkable life in Arkansas.

She was sold in 1811 to James Scull, an American settler at Arkansas Post. Though she was his slave for nearly thirty years, Mary also was able to work on her own and on September 13th, 1840, she purchased her freedom from Scull for eight hundred dollars. She parlayed her reputation as an excellent cook into a business, opening a renowned hotel and tavern at Arkansas Post.

Encyclopedia of Arkansas Minute: Freda Hogan Ameringer

Mar 1, 2019

Freda Hogan Ameringer was born on November 17th, 1892, at Huntington in Sebastian County. The daughter of a founder of the state’s Socialist party, she was a dedicated socialist by her early teens.

Clinton Presidential Center Library
Wikimedia Commons

The Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock is celebrating Presidents Day with free admission on Monday. The only other day during the year that it offers free admission is in August to celebrate former President Bill Clinton’s birthday.

All temporary and permanent exhibits are open, including the recently unveiled "Mighty Mississippi: A Mosaic of America’s Growth."

Spokeswoman Rebecca Tennille says the exhibit is a great opportunity to see what the presidential library has to offer.

Many may be surprised to learn that the first recorded demand for women’s suffrage in Arkansas was made in 1868.

Suffrage in Sixty Seconds: The Declaration Of Sentiments

Feb 5, 2019

Originally, the U.S. Constitution did not specifically deny women the right to vote; instead it deferred to individual state suffrage laws, allowing each state to determine who could and could not vote. Many states, including Arkansas, defined eligible voters as “male.”

In July 1848 at a convention in Seneca Falls, New York, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony issued the Declaration of Sentiments, calling for equal rights for women. It declared, “That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.”

Suffrage in Sixty Seconds: Arkansas's 19th Amendment Ratification

Feb 5, 2019

On July 28th, 1919, Arkansas became the twelfth state to ratify the nineteenth amendment, giving American women the right to vote.

Suffrage in Sixty Seconds will celebrate the centennial of Arkansas’s ratification and recount the long journey to women’s suffrage and the state’s role in that journey. We will travel from Seneca Falls, New York to Little Rock, and finally to Washington DC. We will commemorate the lives of the courageous and determined people, both men and women, in Arkansas and beyond, whose tirelessly work gave women a political voice.

Encyclopedia of Arkansas Minute: Gladys McFadden And The Loving Sisters

Feb 4, 2019

With a sound that merged rock stylings with gospel songs, Little Rock’s Gladys McFadden and the Loving Sisters challenged traditional gospel music during the 1960s and ‘70s.

McFadden and the Loving Sisters – Jo Dumas, Ann James and Lorraine Leeks – played before a full band, unlike the stripped-down sounds of most gospel. After a 1964 Chicago performance, a listener wrote a local newspaper: “I was so ashamed of the entire program. I never expected to hear rock and roll at a religious service.”

Encyclopedia of Arkansas Minute: E. Lynn Harris

Feb 4, 2019

E. Lynn Harris was born in 1955 in Flint, Michigan, but moved to Little Rock at age three. A frequent library visitor, he fell in love with the writings of James Baldwin and Maya Angelou.

He attended the University of Arkansas, where he was the school’s first black cheerleader and yearbook editor, graduating with honors.

Harris kept his sexual identity secret, which led to depression and a suicide attempt. He found writing therapeutic, and in 1991 self-published his first book, Invisible Life, which led to a three-book deal with Doubleday.

Encyclopedia of Arkansas Minute: Elton And Betty White

Feb 4, 2019

Few Little Rock personalities of the late 1980s attracted more attention than Elton and Betty White.

Betty, born Betty Crandall in Mabelvale in 1927, and Elton, an NBA prospect born in Dumas in 1958, met in 1984 at Little Rock’s Union Rescue Mission and, Betty said, “it was love at first sight.”

Maxine Brown Russell
County Music Hall of Fame

Maxine Brown Russell, a country music singer and songwriter who performed as part of a trio with her siblings Jim Ed Brown and Bonnie Brown, died Monday in hospice care in Little Rock. She was 87.

The Browns had several hits in the 1950s and ‘60s, including "The Three Bells" which topped Billboard’s country and Hot 100 pop charts for weeks and sold more than a million copies. The group was also nominated for a Grammy. They joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1963 and were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015.

Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute: Baby Of Arts

Jan 9, 2019

A surge in non-traditional students following World War II led to a unique degree program at the Arkansas State Teachers College, now the University of Central Arkansas.

Veterans using the G.I. Bill to pay for college helped swell the student body at the Conway school to fourteen hundred after the war, and many lived with their spouses in mobile homes on the campus. As the couples began having children, college president Nolen Irby devised a program to recognize the youngsters who were growing up on campus – when the parents graduated, so would the children.

Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute: The Eureka Springs Baby

Jan 9, 2019

The Cardiff Giant, a reputed petrified man found in New York in eighteen sixty nine, spawned a smaller version in Arkansas about ten years later.

While many movies have been made in Arkansas, The White River Kid was not the most memorable. The film’s lead is Arkansas’s Wes Bentley, before his star turn in American Beauty, depicting a serial killer with a butterfly tattoo on his face.

Despite a stellar cast featuring Antonio Banderas, Swoozie Kurtz, Bob Hoskins, Beau Bridges, Randy Travis and Ellen Barkin, as well as presidential brother Roger Clinton, the movie is muddled by a series of disjointed subplots that detract from the Kid’s pursuit of a path to redemption by way of his fiance’s hillbilly relatives.

Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute: Tutt-Everett War

Jan 9, 2019

Marion County in northwest Arkansas was created in 1836, and though its population was only around three hundred, political divisions were sharp, with the Everett clan supporting the Democrats and the Tutt family backing the Whigs. Matters came to a head with an 1844 brawl at a campaign debate in Yellville, and the Tutt-Everett War began, fueled by alcohol and gunfire.