Entries - Starting with J

Jonesboro Municipal Airport

The Jonesboro Municipal Airport is located three miles east of the Jonesboro (Craighead County) central business district in the northeastern part of Arkansas. It is a mixed-use airport, with the overwhelming majority of usage coming from general aviation. In 2015, it provided 284 jobs in the Jonesboro area and had a local economic impact of over $40 million. In January 1934, the Civil Works Administration (CWA) granted $13,000 to the city of Jonesboro to build an airport near the community of Nettleton (Craighead County). Originally covering 190 acres, the airport was little more than a dirt runway by 1935, due to disputes over the leasing of the land. The board of City Water and Light voted in April 1935 to …

Jonesboro, Lake City and Eastern Railroad

The Jonesboro, Lake City and Eastern Railroad (JLC&E) was chartered in 1897 and operated in northeastern Arkansas until being sold to the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway Co. (SLSF), better known as the Frisco, in 1925. The company provided a vital service to the people of the region for over twenty-five years and was crucial to the area’s development. Although there were several railroad lines in northeastern Arkansas by the 1880s, they had not ventured into the sunken lands created by the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811–1812. However, the expanding timber business demanded a better way to transport its product to sawmills. In the East Bottoms of northeastern Arkansas before 1895, the logs were conveyed by oxen pulling broad-wheeled wagons along …

Jonesboro, Skirmish at

In 1862, Jonesboro was a small hamlet and the Craighead County seat on Crowley’s Ridge. Captain Mitchell A. Adair, fresh from the Battle of Shiloh and the Battle of Corinth, was sent home to Jonesboro (Craighead County) with some of the Twenty-third Arkansas Infantry for rest and relaxation. Memphis, Tennessee, fell into Union hands in June 1862, and Adair and his men were not able to rejoin the Twenty-third Arkansas on the east side of the Mississippi River. As there was no local Confederate force to protect local property and citizens, Adair and the men of Craighead County volunteered and helped form Company I of the Thirtieth Arkansas Infantry on July 2, 1862, at Jonesboro. They were assigned to the …

Jonquil Festival

The Jonquil Festival takes place the third weekend of March each year at Historic Washington State Park in Washington (Hempstead County). Along with people from surrounding communities, it attracts visitors from Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma who are eager to see the flowers, the crafts, and a culturally significant historic park covering the period from early settlement to Reconstruction. In 1966, a small tour around town during the March blooming of the jonquils (a type of daffodil) was started. In 1967 or 1968, the tour was established for one weekend and named the Jonquil Trail. What was then called Old Washington Historic State Park was established in 1973, and the park took over what had, by then, become the Jonquil Festival. …

Joplin, Scott

Known as the “King of Ragtime,” Scott Joplin composed more than forty ragtime piano pieces, including “Maple Leaf Rag” (which sold more than a million copies) and “The Entertainer” (which was used in the 1973 film The Sting). He spent his formative years in Texarkana (Miller County), and his major opera, Treemonisha, is set in the plantation area of Rondo (Miller County) north of Texarkana. Scott Joplin was born on November 24, 1867 or 1868, near Marshall, Texas. His father, Giles, was a former slave, and his mother, Florence, was a freed woman from Kentucky. The family moved to Texarkana early in Joplin’s life so that his father could obtain work on the railroad. Joplin showed an early interest in …

Jordan, Bob (Lynching of)

In August 1892, an African-American man named Bob Jordan was shot by members of a mob near Camden (Ouachita County) for allegedly insulting a white woman. According to the Arkansas Gazette, a Constable Wright had arrested Jordan and was en route to Camden with his prisoner on the night of August 8. Along the way, six miles from town, a group of masked men intercepted them. The men told the constable to leave and then shot Jordan. The incident was reported in a number of newspapers across the country, with the Postville, Iowa, Graphic reporting that Jordan had attempted to assault a woman. Historian Kenneth C. Barnes, in his book Journey of Hope, noted that the incident was indicative of …

Jordan, Lena Lowe

Lena Lowe Jordan was an African-American registered nurse and hospital administrator who managed two institutions for African Americans—a hospital for the care of “crippled” children, which later became a general hospital. In addition, she began a unique training program for young black women who wanted to become practical nurses. Lena Lowe was born on April 6, 1884, in Georgia, to Hollin and Martha Lowe. She spent her childhood in Georgia and then trained as a nurse at the Charity Hospital of Savannah. She moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) from Cordele, Georgia, in the 1920s and began her career as a registered nurse in Arkansas as head nurse at the Mosaic State Templars Hospital in 1927. In 1920, she became …

Jordan, Louis Thomas

Louis Thomas Jordan—vocalist, bandleader, and saxophonist—ruled the charts, stage, screen, and airwaves of the 1940s and profoundly influenced the creators of rhythm and blues (R&B), rock n’ roll, and post–World War II blues. Louis Jordan was born on July 8, 1908, in Brinkley (Monroe County). His father, Dardanelle (Yell County) native James Aaron Jordan, led the Brinkley Brass Band; his mother, Mississippi native Adell, died when Louis was young. Jordan studied music under his father and showed promise in horn playing, especially clarinet and saxophone. Due to World War I vacancies, young Jordan joined his father’s band himself. Soon, he was good enough to join his father in a professional traveling show—touring Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri by train, instead of …

Jordan, Wilbert Cornelius

Wilbert Cornelius Jordan started the Oasis Clinic in Los Angeles, California, in 1979. This clinic treated some of the first patients who suffered from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), before the disease had even been clinically observed. Over the next two decades, Jordan treated more than 3,000 clinically diagnosed HIV/AIDS patients. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2000. A Los Angeles native, Wilbert C. Jordan was born on September 11, 1944, and grew up in Arkansas. He attended Marian Anderson High School in Brinkley (Monroe County) before entering Horace Mann High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) for his final year, graduating in 1961. He graduated from Harvard University in …

Josenberger, Mame Stewart

Businesswoman and activist Mame Stewart Josenberger started her career as an educator but, after her husband’s death, assumed control of a variety of businesses. She also served as president of the Arkansas Association of Colored Women and was on the advisory board of The Crisis, the renowned publication of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in addition to involvement with a variety of local, state, and national organizations. Mame Stewart was born on August 3, 1872 (although some sources say 1868), in Owego, New York, to Virginia natives Frank Stewart and Mary Elizabeth Turner Stewart. After attending the Owego Free Academy in New York, Stewart earned a BA in education at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, …

Joseph Taylor Robinson House

aka: Foster-Robinson House
The Joseph Taylor Robinson House at 2122 Broadway in Little Rock (Pulaski County), a two-and-a-half-story Craftsman-style structure, was the home of a prominent Arkansas politician when he was at the top of his career. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 28, 1975, and designated a National Historic Landmark on October 12, 1994. The house at 2122 Broadway was built for Harry H. Foster and his family. Foster was born on March 15, 1857, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. After finishing school, he entered the lumber business with his father, Edward Augustus Foster, before venturing into other opportunities on his own. Foster moved to Arkansas in 1901 to run the Wisconsin and Arkansas Lumber Company, based in …

Joshua, Ernest Parnell

Ernest Parnell Joshua Sr. was an entrepreneur and founder of J. M. Products, Incorporated, which grew to become the largest black-owned company in Arkansas. The multimillion-dollar manufacturer of ethnic haircare products was one of the largest in the country. Joshua was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994. Ernest P. Joshua was born on November 3, 1928, in northern Pulaski County. He was the son of Morris “Mars” Joshua and Mable Byrd Joshua. His mother died during his early teen years, and he was raised by his father. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1946 at Jefferson Barracks in Missouri and was discharged in 1949. He married Thelma Lee Ready, a childhood acquaintance, that same year. …

Joutel, Henri

Henri Joutel was a French soldier and explorer who served in the last expedition commanded by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. Joutel kept a detailed journal of his time in North America, including his experiences in what would become Arkansas. Henri Joutel was born in Rouen, France, the hometown of La Salle, around 1643. Joutel’s father worked for La Salle’s family as a gardener. Joutel spent more than fifteen years in the French army and signed on as a member of the expedition that departed France on July 24, 1684. The third expedition organized by La Salle, it consisted of four ships and was tasked with establishing a colony along the Gulf Coast. Almost 300 soldiers and …

Joyner, Alfredrick Alphonso (Al)

Alfredrick Alphonzo (Al) Joyner is a track and field star who won the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles for the triple jump, the first American in eight decades to win the event and the first African American. He attended Arkansas State University (ASU), where he later returned as a coach, and was the winner of the prestigious Jim Thorpe award, honoring the best American field athlete at the Olympics. He married track legend Florence Griffith, who came to be known as “Flo Jo” after her marriage to Joyner. Al Joyner Jr. was born on January 19, 1960, in East St. Louis, Illinois, to Alfred and Mary Joyner, both then in their teens. Alfred Joyner Sr. worked …

Judd Hill Plantation

The Judd Hill Plantation in Poinsett County has epitomized the evolution of agriculture in that portion of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, or Delta, during the twentieth century. Changes there in the land, economy, and labor force have reflected those throughout the region. The Judd Hill Plantation received its name from its founder, Orange Judd (O. J.) Hill, a wealthy Kansas City, Missouri, banker and businessman. Hill bought the 5,800-acre tract south of Trumann (Poinsett County) in 1925 as a source of wood for his barrel-making operation in Springfield, Missouri. Even after the purchase, Hill continued to spend most of his time in Kansas City with his wife, Lina, and their adopted daughter, Esther Jane. In 1930, Hill persuaded Esther and …

Judiciary, State

The judiciary of Arkansas comprises men and women in government who exercise or have exercised various forms of judicial power of the state and territory of Arkansas. The purpose of the judiciary is to decide cases and controversies between parties that come before it. Judicial power has best been defined by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. in the case of Prentiss v. Atlantic Coast Line as that power which “declares and enforces liabilities as they stand on present or past facts and under existing laws.” Judicial power is distinguished from legislative power in that the latter looks forward and tries to remedy problems growing out of changing societal conditions. The Arkansas Supreme Court has adopted the Prentiss definition of “judicial …

Judson University

Judson University was a short-lived institution of higher education in Prospect Bluff—present-day Judsonia (White County). The institution stimulated the migration of Northern families to the area, thereby significantly increasing the population and refining the social atmosphere of this typical, mid-nineteenth-century river town. Judson University began as the dream of Professor Martin R. Forey of Chicago, Illinois. Forey was a professor at Chicago University and had established Chowan Female Institute in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. He believed it was his calling to establish Christian schools and, in 1869, traveled to Arkansas to found a Baptist college in the South. His first stop in Prairie County was met with hostility, but he received a lukewarm welcome in White County. Forey returned to Chicago …

Judsonia (White County)

Judsonia is a historic community in White County on the lower Little Red River. The town’s history includes the settlement of immigrants from the North after the Civil War, the growing importance of strawberries, and the 1952 tornado. Some scholars hypothesize that this is the site of the Mississippian Palisima, a Native American village mentioned in documents from the Hernando de Soto expedition. Late prehistoric pottery has been found in the area, created either by ancestors of the Quapaw or by other groups who lived in the area before the Quapaw arrived. Early Statehood through the Civil War Judsonia is on the first highland on the north bank of the White River. The south half of the modern town of …

Julian, Patricia Roberts (Patti)

Patti Julian was a representative from North Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the Eighty-ninth Arkansas General Assembly, representing House District 38 from 2013 to 2014.  Patricia Roberts was born in 1955 in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to Marion “Mickey” Knowles Roberts, who was a homemaker, and David Earl Roberts, a real estate agent and businessman. She attended public schools in North Little Rock, graduating from North Little Rock Northeast High School in 1973. Attending the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), she received a BSBA in accounting in 1977 and a JD in 1980.   Roberts married fellow attorney Jim Julian in 1980. After graduation from law school, her first job was with Touche Ross CPAs in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1983, she returned to Arkansas and worked for one year at the Arkansas Securities Department and then five years as a governmental affairs attorney for Arkansas …

Jumping Bristletails

aka: Archeognatha
aka: Microcoryphia
The Archaeognatha (formerly Microcoryphia) are an order of apterygotes belonging to the Superclass Hexapoda, Class Insecta, Subphylum Labiata, and Phylum Arthropoda. They are known by various common names, such as jumping bristletails. The order is cosmopolitan and includes about 500 species (thirty-three species within twelve genera are Nearctic) in two families (Machilidae and Meinertellidae). None are currently evaluated as being a conservation risk. Little is known about the archaeognaths of Arkansas, as only Machiloides banksi and Pedetontus gershneri have been reported from the state, both from Mount Magazine (Logan County). Among extant arthropod taxa, they are some of the most evolutionarily primitive insects. The fossil record of Archaeognatha is sparse and often represented by fragmentary material. They first appeared in …

Junction Bridge

The Junction Bridge is a lift-span bridge crossing the Arkansas River between downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County) and North Little Rock (Pulaski County). One of six bridges linking the two downtowns, the Junction Bridge was originally constructed as a railroad bridge in 1884; it was rebuilt in 1970, then converted to serve as a pedestrian bridge in 2008. Its southern end rests upon the geological feature that gave the city of Little Rock its name. The Little Rock, Mississippi River and Texas Railroad and the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad created a partnership in the early 1880s, envisioning a route that would stretch from the Gulf Coast to the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). A new bridge across the Arkansas …

Junction City (Union County)

Junction City is the southernmost city in Arkansas. Straddling the state line with Louisiana, Junction City has two city governments and exists in Union County, Arkansas; Union Parish, Louisiana; and Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. Junction City was created by the Arkansas Southern Railway Company, which was formed by the directors of the South Arkansas Lumber Company. Both businesses were incorporated in August 1892, and the railroad began building a line from El Dorado (Union County) south to the state line. It reached the state line in 1894, and Junction City was platted at that time. Lots were auctioned at a public barbecue. Many of the successful bidders were from the town of Blanchard Springs in Union County; when their homes and …

June Sandidge House

The June Sandidge House is an English Revival–style home located in Gurdon (Clark County). Constructed in 1935, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 25, 1993. Gurdon was founded in 1880 on the Cairo and Fulton Railroad. The town grew as more rail lines were constructed in the area and large-scale timber operations began. June Sandidge worked as a signalman on the railroad and resided in Gurdon with his wife, Beatrice Sandidge, and their six children. The family name also appears as Sandedge in some records. Originally from Missouri, the family resided in Illinois before moving to Arkansas. Sandidge purchased four lots in the Wright’s Park Addition in 1935 and began construction on the house …

Juneteenth

Juneteenth is a celebration held during the month of June in Arkansas and throughout the nation to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. The celebration originated in Texas in 1865 to mark the date when the emancipation of slaves could finally be enforced by the Union army at one of the last outposts of formal chattel slavery. Although President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the actual emancipation of the slaves came on different dates in different regions. In Galveston, Texas, for instance, it was on June 19, 1865, that a regiment of Union soldiers arrived and were able to enforce the freedom of enslaved peoples. June 19 became a day of celebration in …

Just Communities of Arkansas (JCA)

With its roots in preceding organizations, Just Communities of Arkansas (JCA) is a social justice and equity organization based in Little Rock (Pulaski County) that educates individuals of all ages on the value of diversity. The organization’s mission is to create “a place where every person is valued, every voice is heard, and everyone has a fair chance to succeed.” Over time, its focus has expanded from fighting religious and racial bigotry, with recent work increasingly centered on issues such as immigrant and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights. After a quarter century of efforts, the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ) organized a field office in Little Rock in 1964. To match its broadening mission, in the mid-1990s, the …