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Welcome to the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas

The CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas is a free, authoritative source of information about the rich history, geography, and culture of Arkansas. It is updated regularly to ensure the people of Arkansas have an accurate and accessible resource to explore our heritage. It will also benefit people outside the state who are seeking information about Arkansas. We invite you to browse our text entries and media galleries to learn more about the people, places, events, legends, and lore of the 25th state. The CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas is a work in progress. We are continually adding new entries, photographs, maps, videos, and audio files, so check back frequently to see what’s new.

Photo Of The Day
Lottie Shackelford

In 1987, Lottie Shackelford, a graduate of Philander Smith College in Little Rock (Pulaski County), became the first woman and the first African American elected mayor of Little Rock. Active in local and national politics, she has served on the Little Rock Board of Directors; is a former secretary, vice chair, and chair of the Arkansas State Democratic Committee; and was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 to the board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. For many years, she served as a vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

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This Day in Arkansas History
January 21, 1883

A fire swept through Washington (Hempstead County), destroying a number of businesses. The Cairo and Fulton railroad line had become the new economic artery, and rather than rebuilding in Washington, most businesses moved to Hope (Hempstead County), thus precipitating the decline of Washington. In the late 1870s, Hope began to promote the idea that the county seat should be relocated from Washington to Hope. For sixty years, and through several elections, Hope tried to gain the county seat. Unethical behavior abounded on both sides, consisting of lies, cheating, mud-slinging, and election fraud. Finally, the Arkansas Supreme Court intervened and, in a ruling in May 1939, declared Hope as the county seat of Hempstead County.

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