Arkansas History

Robert Miller of Arkansas's chapter of the League of the South holds a Confederate battle flag and the LOS flag on Capitol grounds.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Former Ku Klux Klan leader and former Louisiana Republican state representative David Duke says the climate is right for him to seek public office once again. Duke, referencing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, announced on Friday he's running in the state's U.S. Senate race.

Historic Arkansas Museum / Historic Arkansas Museum

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola will proclaim Tuesday “Historic Arkansas Museum Day” at a celebration commemorating the museum’s 75th anniversary.

The Little Rock museum, once known as Arkansas Territorial Restoration, officially opened in July 1941. Chris Hancock, spokesman for the museum, said having a day declared as Historic Arkansas Museum Day honors both the museum and the city.

Little Rock Nine former President Bill Clinton prime minister Tony Blair Bill Clinton
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair joined former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in Little Rock Thursday, sharing concerns about growing divisiveness in the world. They spoke along with members of the Little Rock Nine to graduates of a leadership program before severe weather cut the event short.

The event was held in the auditorium at Central High School, with the former world leaders lamenting changes that have led to a hyper-partisan culture.

Bobby Ampezzan/KUAR

Former governor and senator David Pryor again helped the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies pack the Ron Robinson Theater June 8, and again opened by talking about his contemporary Dale Bumpers.  

Bobby Ampezzan/KUAR

  

  Housed deep inside Education Building Two on the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences campus is the state’s only dedicated repository for medical history, devices and photographs, and physician’s personal papers. 

This is the vaguely named Historical Research Center, and its archives and artifacts are up five stories, just beyond a wide wall of glass accessed by a thin skywalk open on either side to a leg-shattering fall. The skywalk starts at the doors of a single passenger elevator not wide enough for one fat wrestler delivering two wedding cakes.

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
Arkansas Times

On Saturday, June 18th the corner of Broadway and 9th streets in downtown Little Rock will be transformed into a block party in honor of Juneteenth, the nation’s oldest holiday commemorating the end of slavery. This year, the festivities hosted by the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock will be expanded, in large part because of the Kinsey Collection of African American art and history that is currently on display.

Majestic Hotel
Save Her Majesty: Restore The Majestic Hotel Facebook Page

A committee of the Hot Springs board of directors has settled on who should demolish the fire-damaged Majestic Hotel.

While some residents were hopeful a portion of the 90-year-old building could be saved after a February 2014 fire, City Manager David Frasher said that when he visited the hotel recently, "it was raining on every floor."

Looking down the left field line of Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

As can be expected with a baseball team in existence since 1901, the Arkansas Travelers hold a fair share of firsts and claims to fan loyalty. On Wednesday, Travelers’ marketing director Lance Restum walked those at those at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies’ Legacies and Lunch talk through the history of one of the oldest still-running minor league baseball teams.

He said the Travelers have an outsized presence compared to other minor league teams because it’s been a constant in a state where other professional sports have come and gone.

Fort Smith Southside High School's mascot Johnny Reb.
fortsmithschools.org

The head of the Fort Smith School Board says the decision of two members to abandon an effort to bring back the Rebel mascot means the district can move on from the divisive issue and she can too. Board President Dr. Deanie Mehl told Talk Business & Politics she'll step down at the end of 2017 after 12 years on the school board.

The U.S. Senate has approved a bill to name the post office in Perryville after an Arkansas native who was killed while he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

The post office would be named the Harold George Bennett Post Office under the proposal by U.S. Rep. French Hill and Sen. John Boozman.

The proposal now goes to the president for his signature.

Bennett was a native of the Thornburg community about 7 miles south of Perryville and was the first American prisoner of war killed in Vietnam when he was executed on June 25, 1965, after three escape attempts.

The Newport City Council has decided to not apply for a grant that could have turned the Blue Bridge into a pedestrian crossing.

Newport Mayor David Stewart tells Jonesboro television station KAIT that the city council decided Monday to not apply for the grant that could have transformed the historic bridge into a walking and recreational trail. The city applied for the same grant last year but didn't receive it.

Work is now underway to replace the 86-year-old Blue Bridge. The $31 million project is expected to be complete next year.

rohwer
astate.edu

A $2.8 million grant from the National Park Service will support projects planned at camps where Japanese-Americans were held during World War II.

The projects include the Rohwer and the Jerome relocation centers in southeastern Arkansas.

Goodwin Field Terminal
Preserve Arkansas

Preserve Arkansas has released its annual list of the most endangered places in Arkansas. Released Thursday, the list identifies seven locations that the group says faces threats that include deterioration, neglect, insufficient funds and inappropriate development.

The seven are:

Goodwin Field airport terminal in El Dorado

The National Guard Armory in Clarksville 

Union Chapel Community Center in Springfield

Sweet Home Chapel near Mount Ida

The Slack/Comstock/Marshall House in Uniontown

The Warren & Ouachita Depot in Warren 

The online Encyclopedia of Arkansas celebrated its 10th anniversary this weekend. The project was launched in 2006 by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies and the Central Arkansas Library System. It currently features about 4,400 entries and almost 6,000 pieces of media.

At a reception Friday at the Butler Center, the crowd resembled the encyclopedia itself: a varied range of vital forces contained in one spot. 

Former U.S. Congressman Ray Thornton.
Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Former U.S. congressman, Arkansas Supreme Court justice and university president Raymond "Ray" Thornton died early Wednesday, his former chief of staff says. He was 87. Thornton was in hospice care for lung cancer in Pulaski County.

The Conway native graduated from Yale University in 1950 and a few years later served in the Navy during the Korean War. Thornton then earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

World War I Memorial Joseph Weishaar
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A native Arkansan is leading the design of a World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. On Thursday, 25-year-old Joseph Weishaar was honored for his role in the project during a ceremony at the Arkansas State Capitol that formally established a centennial commemoration committee for the state.

Weishaar is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture who today lives in Chicago, but is preparing to move to Washington to oversee the project.

Black lawmakers are holding off on saying whether they support an effort this year to end Arkansas' practice of honoring civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day.

The Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus on Tuesday tabled a vote on ending the dual holiday. Gov. Asa Hutchinson is considering putting the proposal on the agenda for a special session later this spring. Members of the caucus said they want to see the proposed legislation in writing before taking a stance.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Birmingham Police Department

The Pulaski County Quorum Court has passed a resolution to support proposed legislation that would end the state's practice of commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same day.

The court voted 13-0 Tuesday to support ending the practice in Arkansas - one of three states to jointly celebrate the black civil rights leader and the white Confederate general on the third Monday in January.

Rosanne Cash Johnny Cash
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash took part in a fundraiser Thursday evening at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion in Little Rock to benefit the ongoing restoration of her father Johnny Cash's boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson invited her to hold the event there, calling the Cash house, which has been turned into a museum, "a great asset for the state." Arkansas State University bought the dilapidated home in 2011, carefully restoring it to how it looked when Johnny Cash lived there with his parents and siblings.

Rosanne Cash Johnny Cash
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Singer and songwriter Rosanne Cash is headlining a performance at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion to raise money for her father's restored boyhood home.

Arkansas State University announced Thursday it's hosting the event with Gov. Asa Hutchinson and First Lady Susan Hutchinson on March 3, with proceeds going to the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess.

Chris Hickey / KUAR News

Many gathered for events throughout Little Rock celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Day, from the annual "marade" organized by the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP, to a day of service at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

While Arkansas also marked Robert E. Lee Day Monday, few events around the state honored the Confederate Civil War general. Supporters, including the state chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy, say they will celebrate Lee's actual Jan. 19 birthday Tuesday.

Hot Springs will soon have a new Civil War museum that will focus on the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the 1861-1865 American conflict.

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports (bit.ly/1n4xqgu) that The Civil War Museum West is expected to open later this year and will feature a collection of artifacts, flags, photos and other items.

The museum will offer tours through 10 areas of various subjects about the war. Visitors will see collections of swords, guns, bullets, flags, and various other artifacts and Civil War relics.

Fort Smith attorney Brad Jesson, who served as Chief Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court and was one of the early political supporters of an unknown Dale Bumpers, has passed away. He was 83, and would have been 84 on Jan. 26.

David Pryor Skip Rutherford
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

In advance of Sunday's memorial service for former U.S. Senator and Arkansas Governor Dale Bumpers, his longtime colleague in the Senate shared a few stories about Bumpers during a Legacies & Lunch program, hosted by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies Wednesday at the Central Arkansas Library System's Ron Robinson Theater. The event had been scheduled before Bumpers' death and included Pryor also reflecting on his own political career.

Interior of the Arkansas State Capitol Building in December.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

The Arkansas Capitol building will once again be open on weekends following an inquiry from the governor’s office to the secretary of state. The announcement from Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office on Wednesday is a reversal of a policy announced in December.

In a news release the office made no mention of the security concerns originally cited for limited hours but a talk with the governor’s office was mentioned.

Dale Bumpers
Danny Johnson/AP / NPR

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has ordered U.S. and Arkansas flags be flown at half-staff in honor of Dale Bumpers, the former U.S. senator and governor who died last week.

Hutchinson on Tuesday ordered that the flags be lowered until sunset Jan. 10 in honor of Bumpers, who died Friday night in Little Rock. A memorial service is scheduled Sunday in Little Rock for Bumpers, who was 90.

In his order, Hutchinson called Bumpers a "beacon of civility in a time of increasing partisan strife."

Dale Bumpers
Danny Johnson/AP / NPR

A memorial service is planned for Sunday for Dale Bumpers, the former U.S. senator and Arkansas governor who died last week. He will also be discussed by a longtime colleague during a lecture Wednesday in Little Rock.

Bumpers, who was 90, died Friday night at his home in Little Rock, three weeks after falling and breaking his hip.

The memorial service will be held Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Little Rock.

Dale Bumpers
Talk Business & Politics

Arkansas has lost a political legend. Dale Leon Bumpers, a four-term U.S. Senator and two-term governor, has passed away at the age of 90 after a long illness, multiple sources have confirmed.

Bill Clinton boyhood home
KATV, Channel 7 News

Federal authorities have joined the investigation into a fire that damaged the childhood home of former President Bill Clinton in Arkansas.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Tuesday that it's investigating the Christmas morning fire at the home in Hope, along with the FBI, the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Bill Clinton boyhood home
KATV, Channel 7 News

Authorities say a fire that caused minor damage to former President Bill Clinton's childhood home in Hope, Arkansas, was apparently caused by arson.

Hope Police Department Chief J.R. Wilson says a motorist spotted flames early Friday at the Clinton Birthplace National Historic Site. Wilson says that when firefighters arrived a short time later, flames were shooting 8 feet into the air on one side of the structure.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the fire was quickly extinguished and only one interior room was damaged by flames.

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