Arkansas History

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.

Arkansas-Born Civil Rights Activist Ozell Sutton Dies At 90

Dec 21, 2015

Arkansas-born civil rights leader Ozell Sutton passed away in Atlanta on Saturday at the age of 90.

His accomplishments in Arkansas include helping to desegregate downtown Little Rock and serving as an advisor to former Governor Winthrop Rockefeller.

Saline Old River Bridge
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A $500,000 grant will allow work to begin restoring the second-oldest bridge still standing in Arkansas, which crosses the Saline River in Benton. It's hoped it will eventually be part of an extensive cycling and pedestrian trail between Little Rock and Hot Springs.

Built in 1891, the Old River Bridge today is little more than a rusted metal frame.

David Monteith / KUAR

Arkansas’ three living survivors of the bombing of Pearl Harbor were honored at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. The ceremony also served to welcome the newest addition to the museum, the ex-US Navy tugboat Hoga.

“The survivors from Arkansas who were in Pearl Harbor will be cutting the ribbon to allow access to the general public to the main deck of the Hoga today,” said Allison Hibblong, the museum's Director of Operations.

Milton Pitts Crenchaw
Butler Center For Arkansas Studios

A memorial service is set for Tuesday at the Arkansas state Capitol for former Tuskeegee Airman Milton Crenchaw. He died November 17th at the age of 96.

A native of Little Rock, Crenchaw was among the last surviving instructors of the group, which included the first African-Americans to fly combat missions in World War II.

The service begins at 1:30 p.m. in the first floor Rotunda and will include the unveiling of a portrait by Crenchaw’s family members.

Hoga
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

The Hoga, a World War II tugboat, became the newest addition to the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum Monday, two weeks before the 74th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Ship horns greeted the arrival of the boat, officially classified a Navy yard tug. “That is our honorary submarine welcoming our lovely tugboat,” said Allison Hibblong, the museum’s director of operations.

Milton Pitts Crenchaw
Butler Center For Arkansas Studios

Milton Pitts Crenchaw, a flight instructor who trained many of the U.S. military's Tuskegee Airmen, has died in Georgia. He was 96.

Crenchaw's daughter, Dolores Singleton, said he died Tuesday at Piedmont Henry Hospital near Atlanta after battling cardiovascular disease and pneumonia.

Singleton said her father, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, was among the last surviving instructors of the Tuskegee Airmen. They were the first African-Americans to fly combat airplanes in World War II.

A Confederate flag merged with the flag of the League of the South flag.
LOS

Tens of thousands of Southerners rallied this year in defense of an identity they believe is under assault: a veneration of a Confederate heritage. It’s difficult to parcel through just who comprises this movement but some say extremists within it are finding a voice.

A committee has chosen a new mascot for a Fort Smith high school after the school board voted to phase out the Rebels mascot.

KHBS-TV reports the committee voted for the Mavericks as the new Southside High School mascot. The moniker received 25 votes, while Patriots received three votes.

The committee met Monday to consider the top names picked by students. The Mavericks and Spartans were the top two vote-getters among students.

First Ladies (left to right) Susan Hutchinson, Ginger Beebe, Janet Huckabee, Betty Tucker, Gay White, and Barbara Pryor.
www.oldstatehouse.com

Six of Arkansas’s First Ladies hosted supporters of the Old State House Museum’s Inaugural Gown exhibit Tuesday on the lawn of the Governor’s Mansion. KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman compiled this audio post-card of the first ladies and their gowns. 

Funds are being raised to restore gowns dating back to 1889 and to expand the First Ladies exhibit beyond the garments at the Old State House.

Anne Frank Tree
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former President Bill Clinton will be back in Arkansas to speak Friday at the opening of a permanent installation at his presidential library which invokes the spirit of a young Jewish girl who hid with her family from the Nazis during World War II.

A young sapling called the Anne Frank Tree will be unveiled. It comes from an original white horse chestnut tree that stood outside the building in Amsterdam that housed her family and which Frank wrote about in her now famous diary.

Arkansas Entertainers Hall Of Fame Honors ‘True Blood’ Author

Sep 8, 2015
Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame
Arkansas.com

Tickets are on sale now for the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The Class of 2015 will be honored September 29 at Noah’s Event Center in Little Rock. The Hall honors individuals with Arkansas connections who have made significant contributions to the entertainment arts. The exhibits commemorating the members are permanently housed on display in the Pine Bluff Convention Center.

This year’s inductees include:

Dr. John Kirk at KUAR in Little Rock.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

KUAR catches up with the new head of UALR’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity Dr. John Kirk to talk about his mission, perceptions of the state takeover of the Little Rock School District, and where Black Lives Matter fits in the narrative of the civil rights movement.

Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Attracts Thousands From Around The World

Aug 17, 2015
Johnny Cash House Dyess, Arkansas
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

It has been one year since the official opening of the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home and the Dyess Colony. Executive Director of Arkansas State University’s Heritage Sites program Dr. Ruth Hawkins says this past year has been very busy.

Susan Hutchinton Dale Charles Daisy Bates House Little Rock Nine
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The foundation that oversees the house where the Little Rock Nine coordinated efforts to integrate Central High School in the 1950s is launching a fundraising campaign. For $100 each, people can have their names and messages placed on 4x8 inch bricks that will make up a sidewalk leading to the home.

It will enable further renovations of the modest home at 1207 West 28th Street where L.C. and Daisy Bates lived during the time Mrs. Bates led efforts to allow the nine African-Americans to attend the formerly all-white school.

Jacob Trieber
Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture

The U.S. Senate has approved legislation co-sponsored by Republican Arkansas Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton to name the federal building in Helena-West Helena after federal Judge Jacob Trieber.

Trieber was appointed by President William McKinley and served from 1900 to 1927 as the federal judge for the U.S. Circuit Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. He was the first Jewish federal judge and also served on the Helena City Council and as Phillips County treasurer.

Dustin McDaniel
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The city of Osceola has retained former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to look into the actions of Mississippi County over the city possibly losing its historic courthouse.

County Judge Randy Carney and several quorum court members are leading an effort to consolidate the county's two courthouses, located in Blytheville and Osceola, into one larger courthouse in Blytheville. The county has purchased land intended for a new courthouse, and has hired an architectural firm to begin drafting plans.

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