Entries - Starting with A

Arkansas Capital Corporation

aka: First Arkansas Development Finance Corporation
Arkansas Capital Corporation (ACC) is a private, not-for-profit company that provides financing for economic development throughout the state. It is an uncommon example of cooperation among private citizens, business organizations, and government institutions. It was created under a 1957 statute authorizing development finance companies. In its early years, it made term loans for industrial projects to increase or preserve employment, but beginning in the mid-1980s, it expanded and formed affiliates that, under the ACC umbrella, provided additional types of financing. These included Small Business Administration (SBA) loans as well as working capital, fixed asset, and venture capital financing. ACC is non-political, and it cooperates with local banks and institutions rather than competing with them. Since its inception, this award-winning organization has …

Arkansas Career Training Institute

aka: Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center
aka: Army-Navy Hospital
The Arkansas Career Training Institute (formerly known as Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center—HSRC), run by Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, began its existence as the first combined general hospital for both U.S. Army and Navy patients in the nation. This joint services hospital was created ahead of the Navy Hospital Corp and over twenty years before the founding of the now-infamous Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The facility in Arkansas was quite an economic and social plum for rural Arkansas in the eyes of America and remains an imposing presence on the local skyline, regularly featured in pictures of the community. In the early 1800s, people believed that bathing in mineral waters had therapeutic value, which brought many people to the town of …

Arkansas Catholic

The Arkansas Catholic is the official newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock. It began publishing in 1911 as the Southern Guardian at the request of Bishop John B. Morris with Monsignor John Michael Lucey as editor. Bishop Morris intended the newspaper to be the “official organ” of the Catholic Diocese for the 22,000 Roman Catholics then living in the state at the time. The newspaper began as a weekly eight-page broadside newspaper with an annual subscription rate of $1.50. It was renamed the Guardian when “Southern” was dropped from the title in 1915. In 1986, the newspaper became the Arkansas Catholic. The paper has been associated with the Catholic News Service since 1923. Editorship changed several times over the …

Arkansas Centennial Commemorative Half Dollars

The United States Mint issued two silver half dollars commemorating the 1936 centennial of Arkansas’s statehood. These coins are currency of the United States authorized by acts of Congress on May 14, 1934, and June 26, 1936. The first coin was issued beginning in 1935 and features the profiles of an Indian chief of 1836 and a young woman of the 1930s, the archetype of Lady Liberty. The second coin, released after the first, features a profile of Senator Joseph T. Robinson. Both coins feature an eagle and an Arkansas flag motif. More than 100,000 coins (including both designs) were minted. On July 27, 1934, Charles Moore, who was serving on the United States Commission of Fine Arts, in a …

Arkansas Certified Development Corporation (ACDC)

In 1989, the Small Business Administration (SBA), a Federal government agency, asked the Arkansas Capital Corporation (ACC) to manage the operations of its 504 loan program for the state. As a result, the ACC formed the nonprofit affiliate Arkansas Certified Development Corporation (ACDC) to meet this need. The ACDC, as of 2006, is a member of the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, an association of six agencies which increase availability of capital for Arkansas businesses. They are, in addition to ACC and ACDC, the Arkansas Capital Relending Corporation, Diamond State Ventures, Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (the educational arm of the group), and Commerce Capital Development Corporation. The parent ACC was organized to ease the shortage of capital funds available to businesses …

Arkansas Chamber Singers

The Arkansas Chamber Singers (ACS) is vocal ensemble dedicated to performing and promoting classical and contemporary choral repertoire. Membership in the nonprofit group is by audition. The ACS began when Bill Clinton, elected as the state’s governor in 1978, appointed Massachusetts resident Paul Levy to head the Arkansas Department of Energy. Levy’s wife was Barbara Abramoff Levy, director of the Newton Choral Society and the conducting assistant to the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, an adjunct to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She wanted to continue her involvement in music, and in 1979, with the support of the Bill and Hillary Clinton, she joined the faculty of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) and organized a new chamber ensemble named the …

Arkansas Chapter of the Sierra Club

aka: Sierra Club
The Arkansas Chapter of the Sierra Club was established in 1982 as the state chapter of the national Sierra Club. Its mission is to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out those objectives.  The Arkansas Chapter of the Sierra Club traces its origin to the Ozark Headwaters Group (OHG) of the Ozark Chapter of the Sierra Club in Missouri. In 1972, Barry Weaver, then the chair of the Highland Chapter of the Ozark Society, proposed that Arkansans with Sierra Club membership form …

Arkansas Children’s Colony

aka: Conway Human Development Center
Dedicated on October 4, 1959, the Arkansas Children’s Colony was a state-supported center that served Arkansas’s mentally handicapped children. The colony, set on a little over 400 donated acres in Conway (Faulkner County), provided a school and a home away from home for as many as 1,000 developmentally disabled, school age children. Governor Orval Faubus lobbied strongly for funds to build a facility to serve the state’s mentally challenged children. On January 25, 1955, the Arkansas General Assembly created Act 6, which engendered Arkansas’s first facility to serve such children. Arkansas was the forty-eighth state to open such an institution. A donation of $1,200 was made to the facility, and workers began construction in 1958. Less than two years later, …

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH)

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH), with facilities in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and Springdale (Washington and Benton counties),is the only pediatric hospital in Arkansas and is among the ten largest children’s hospitals in the United States. Pediatric specialists routinely treat patients from other states and occasionally other countries. Prior to becoming an independent children’s hospital, ACH was an orphanage. In February 1912, Horace Gaines Pugh of Little Rock helped establish the organization that would become Arkansas Children’s Home Society. Pugh, an Illinois native, moved to Little Rock in 1896, where he worked in real estate and eventually opened his own printing house, H. G. Pugh & Company. Pugh’s early mission was to found a haven for children who were orphaned, neglected, or …

Arkansas Christadelphian Bible School

The Arkansas Christadelphian Bible School was founded in Martinville (Faulkner County) in 1923 as a two-week summer Bible school for Christadelphians. The organizers were Ben Scroggin and S. O. Jones of Biscoe (Prairie County), Oscar L. Dunaway and Charles Martin of Conway (Faulkner County), and J. S. Martin and J. R. Frazer of Little Rock (Pulaski County). The purpose of the school was Bible study for Christadelphians, their children, and interested friends, in tandem with recreation and fellowship. The school was established upon land donated by James Daniel Martin, a Christadelphian. In 1885, Martin erected a pavilion on his land at Cadron Cove (Faulkner County) for the purpose of holding Christadelphian gatherings. The community was renamed in 1887 for Martin …

Arkansas City (Desha County)

Arkansas City is a small town with a population of fewer than 400 people, as of the 2010 Census. Located in southeast Arkansas, it is nestled against a levee that protects it from the Mississippi River. However, before the Flood of 1927, Arkansas City was a major trade and cultural center and was one of the most important ports on the Mississippi River. European Exploration and Settlement At the time of the Marquette-Joliet Expedition, there were four Quapaw villages along the lower Arkansas River and the Mississippi River. Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet spent two days in these villages around 1673. They were the first recorded Europeans in the area. In 1682, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and Henri …

Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993

aka: Act 962 of 1993
The Arkansas Civil Rights Act (ACRA) was the first civil rights act in Arkansas covering discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, gender, or the presence of any sensory, physical, or mental disability. The passing of this act, Act 962 of 1993, was the culmination of the work of the Governors’ Task Force on Civil Rights, which was formed in 1991 by Governor Bill Clinton. The legislation was sponsored in the Arkansas Senate by Senator Bill Lewellen. In the early 1990s, most Arkansans reportedly did not feel that it was necessary to have a civil rights bill. However, Arkansas was one of only a few states at the time lacking such a law. Consensus was that the bill was passed …

Arkansas College

Arkansas College was founded in Fayetteville (Washington County) in late 1850 by pastor Robert Graham of the Disciples of Christ. On December 14, 1852, the Arkansas General Assembly approved an act allowing the college “to confer the degree of Doctor…and other academical degrees,” making it the first degree-conferring institution chartered by the state to open. Graham was born in Liverpool, England, on August 14, 1822, but later moved to the United States. He apprenticed as a carpenter in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and after indenture went to Bethany, Virginia (now in West Virginia), to help construct buildings at Bethany College, a Disciples of Christ school that Graham then attended. Upon graduation, he accepted a mission from the college to travel among Disciples …

Arkansas Colored Auxiliary Council of Defense

President Woodrow Wilson and the U.S. Congress established the Council of National Defense on August 29, 1916, with the purpose of coordinating “industries and resources for the national security and welfare” of the country in the event that the United States became involved in World War I. This national council oversaw investigations of infrastructure, troop movement, supply mobilization, production and distribution of propaganda, organization of civilian population, and the nation’s capability to produce materials, all with the intention of supporting a war effort. To facilitate the national council’s efforts, the whole of the United States had to be broken down into smaller groups to mobilize local communities’ civilian populations. Smaller councils were established at the state and county level, including …

Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts

The Arkansas Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts is composed of a group of well-connected Arkansas women who work to support female Arkansas artists. The committee focuses upon primarily visual art done by noted female artists in the state, though it also sponsors writers, poets, and songwriters. Learning about the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) while on a visit to Washington DC, Ed Dell Wortz, a member of the Wortz family, and Helen Walton of the Arkansas Walton family called together a group of Arkansas women interested in the arts on February 1, 1989, to develop plans for a state committee. The Arkansas Committee of the NMWA was organized in Little Rock (Pulaski …

Arkansas Community Foundation (ARCF)

Arkansas Community Foundation (ARCF) is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to helping generous individuals, families, civic groups, and businesses financially support charitable causes throughout Arkansas. One of more than 700 community foundations nationwide, ARCF is the only foundation in Arkansas through which individuals and corporations can create endowment funds for the public benefit of the entire state and its communities. With assets of more than $250 million as of 2016, the foundation has provided millions in grants to charitable organizations since its founding. Arkansas Community Foundation was established in 1976 exclusively for charitable, benevolent, scientific, religious, and educational purposes to benefit the people of Arkansas. The fledgling organization was championed by Mary McLeod, a charitable advisor to Governor Winthrop Rockefeller, …

Arkansas Confederate Home

The Arkansas Confederate Home was opened late in 1890 in a small remodeled residence on some sixty acres near Sweet Home (Pulaski County) through the efforts of the Ex-Confederate Association of Arkansas. This organization, composed of a group of philanthropic-minded Confederate veterans, founded the home to care for indigent Confederate veterans, along with their widows and orphans, in Arkansas. At its peak, it housed over 200.  On May 21, 1890, the Sweet Home site, consisting of sixty acres and a frame building, was purchased by the association for $3,000. The legislature made its first appropriation of $10,000 for the upkeep of the home in 1891. At that time, the facility included the original frame structure and two buildings referred to as …

Arkansas Conference College (ACC)

Arkansas Conference College (ACC) was founded in Siloam Springs (Benton County) in 1899. Though short-lived, ACC provided an academically rigorous education, primarily for the benefit of Arkansans. As a school that emphasized classical studies along with practical skills (such as typing), ACC challenges stereotypes about early twentieth-century rural Arkansas. ACC was established by the Methodist Episcopal Church of Arkansas. Its founding president, Dr. Thomas Mason, had helped to found Philander Smith College (PSC) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the late 1870s. Like Fisk University in Tennessee, where Mason’s wife had taught, PSC was started in the post–Civil War era to help freed slaves and their children become part of mainstream society. By contrast, in some of ACC’s early promotional …

Arkansas Constitutions

aka: Constitutions of Arkansas
State constitutions serve as the foundation for statutory laws, rules and regulations, and government for a state. These documents also serve as historic and cultural indicators of significant events and impacts. In 1836, the state constitutional convention drafted a document to qualify Arkansas for statehood; this first constitution was brief, flexible, general in language, and relatively lenient in terms of power. In 1861, the state needed a new constitution as it left the Union. Very few other substantive changes were made. In 1864, a third constitution was needed to bring Arkansas back into the Union. In 1868, the state adopted its constitution, which endured throughout the Reconstruction Era, with Arkansas being basically an administrative unit of the national government, overseen …

Arkansas Council of Defense

The Arkansas Council of Defense was the governor-appointed group tasked with coordinating propaganda and promoting activities in the state to support the war effort during World War I. Congress created the Council of National Defense in August 1916 to advise the president and other national leaders on how to coordinate the United States’ resources during a time of war. When the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, Governor Charles Hillman Brough created the Arkansas Council of Defense and appointed a dozen men to the council; the group would grow to thirty-three, with Ida Frauenthal of Conway (Faulkner County) as the only female member. Adjutant General Lloyd England was elected chairman and director, Major Durand Whipple became …

Arkansas Council on Human Relations (ACHR)

A key facilitator in the desegregation of public schools and businesses in the state, the Arkansas Council on Human Relations (ACHR) was formed in December 1954 out of the reorganization of the board of the Arkansas branch of the grassroots organization, the Southern Regional Council. Initial funding came from a grant, via the Southern Regional Council, from the Ford Foundation, as well as the assistance of Fred K. Darragh Jr., a noted Arkansas agribusiness leader and philanthropist. In the wake of the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision, Nat Griswold, the first director, recognized two basic problems hampering efforts to desegregate Arkansas’s public facilities: white opposition to integration and political disunity among African Americans. The …

Arkansas Country Doctor Museum (ACDM)

The Arkansas Country Doctor Museum (ACDM) in Lincoln (Washington County), in rural northwest Arkansas, is located in an eleven-room combined house, office, and four-bed clinic used successively by three physicians from 1936 until 1973. It features numerous examples of vintage medical equipment and a Hall of Honor highlighting notable pioneer-area physicians and their contributions to patients and the community. A carriage house and an educational building are also part of the museum. Dr. Harold Boyer, son of the last doctor to use the clinic, established the ACDM in 1994 to honor his father and other country doctors and the values they embodied. Herbert L. Boyer graduated from the University of Arkansas Medical Department, now the University of Arkansas for Medical …

Arkansas County

Arkansas County, located in southeast Arkansas, has two county seats—DeWitt and Stuttgart. It is one of the state’s original counties and lies in the Delta. Arkansas County is an agricultural county; rice and soybeans are the main crops. European Exploration and Settlement Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto traveled the Mississippi River from 1541 to 1543. At one point, he and his party reached Anilco, a village on the Arkansas River that may have included the Menard-Hodges Site in the southeast corner of Arkansas County. On the same river were the villages of Cayas and Utiangue. In 1682, the La Salle expedition reached Kappa, the largest village of the Quapaw Indians; it stood on the west bank of the Mississippi River. …

Arkansas County Courthouse, Northern District

  The Arkansas County Courthouse in Stuttgart (Arkansas County) is a Classical Revival–style, brick building designed by J. B. Barrett and constructed by the Barrett and Ogletree firm in 1928. The courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 1992. Arkansas Post was the original Arkansas County seat after statehood, but, as Arkansas Post’s population waned, citizens wanted a more central location for the seat. DeWitt was chosen and served as the sole county seat until the early 1920s, when Stuttgart’s rapid growth, due to the railroad and the increase in rice and soybean production, brought additional civic and legislative responsibilities to the community. After several court hearings, it was decided that Stuttgart would be a secondary county seat, …

Arkansas County Courthouse, Southern District

The Arkansas County Courthouse for the Southern District in DeWitt (Arkansas County) was designed by Little Rock (Pulaski County) architect H. Ray Burks and constructed by E. V. Bird Construction Company. Built in 1931, this three-story building is a prime example of the Art Deco style used in many Arkansas buildings constructed during this time period. Located at 101 Court Square, the current Arkansas County Courthouse is the fourth courthouse built in DeWitt. First, three log courthouse buildings were built in 1855 by Colonel Charles W. Belknap, approximately one block from the current site. One building was for a courtroom, another for the clerk’s and sheriff’s offices, and the third for a jury room. This set of buildings was replaced …

Arkansas Court of Appeals

The Arkansas Court of Appeals (ACA) serves the state as its intermediate appellate court. For a large number of cases, however, it functions as the final court of review. Parties to lawsuits in Arkansas do not have a right to appeal beyond the Court of Appeals, and the Arkansas Supreme Court generally hears only appeals raising unique questions of law. Thus, for most cases in which the law is settled, the Court of Appeals serves as the parties’ only opportunity for review of lower court decisions. The ACA is composed of twelve judges and primarily hears appeals from Arkansas Circuit Courts and the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission. Created by constitutional amendment in 1978, the Court of Appeals was established to …

Arkansas Craft Guild

The Arkansas Craft Guild, a cooperative of Arkansas craft artisans, seeks to promote excellence in both traditional and contemporary handmade crafts. Since its incorporation in 1962, the guild has been widely recognized as one of the most significant forces in the revival and preservation of pioneer crafts practiced by Arkansans. Originally incorporated under the name Ozark Foothills Handicraft Guild, the organization’s initial aim was to provide supplemental income for the people in the north-central Arkansas foothills. In 1960, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service representative, Leo Rainey, along with officials in Stone County, began exploring ways to bring cottage industry into the area. Soliciting crafters to exhibit at local craft fairs, they found the members for the proposed guild. …

Arkansas Creed

The germ of the Arkansas Creed was contained in House Concurrent Resolution 2 of 1969, introduced by state representative Roscoe Brown of Jonesboro (Craighead County). The resolution was approved, and the state historian, Dr. John Ferguson, was officially appointed head of the Creed Commission on March 3, 1970. The committee first met on June 10 of that year. It included Ferguson, Maurice Dunn of Hot Springs (Garland County), Dr. Claude Babin of Monticello (Drew County), Education Commissioner Arch Ford, as well as Representative Brown himself. In December, the committee issued rules for a creed-writing contest. They solicited entries of 250 words, editable to eighty words or less. The deadline for submissions was initially February 1 but was later reset to …

Arkansas Darter

aka: Etheostoma cragini
Arkansas darter (Etheostoma cragini) populations are scattered among some small, spring-fed tributaries of the Arkansas River basin in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas. This fish species is rare in Arkansas, being found only in a few spring runs in the Illinois River basin of Benton and Washington counties. The small streams occupied by Arkansas darters are characterized by slow current and silt substrates. The darters shelter in watercress and other aquatic plants, overhanging or flooded terrestrial vegetation, and even in the loose silt of the stream bottom. In some places, they have been observed to move down into larger streams, but this has not been so in Arkansas. They grow to a maximum size of around two inches and …

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state’s largest newspaper, is based in Little Rock (Pulaski County), with a separate northwest Arkansas edition. After the Arkansas Democrat bought the assets of the Arkansas Gazette in October 1991, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was born. It is the only statewide newspaper, offering home delivery in all parts of Arkansas. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has its roots in the Reconstruction era. A newspaper first called The Liberal became The Journal and then The Chronicle. Finally, it became The Evening Star, having passed through several owners and editors by 1875. On April 11, 1878, Colonel J. N. Smithee acquired the newspaper and renamed it the Arkansas Democrat. Smithee, who had served in the Confederate army, immediately launched an attack …

Arkansas Department of Agriculture (ADA)

The Arkansas Department of Agriculture (ADA) is an amalgam of various agriculture-related state agencies established as a central office for “creating, publicizing, and sustaining an information network for Arkansas farmers and ranchers,” as well as promoting state agricultural products to the nation and world. Despite being a major agricultural state, Arkansas was one of two states without an agricultural department prior to 2005; the other was Rhode Island. The ADA was created as the Arkansas Agriculture Department by Act 1978 of 2005, which brought together the Arkansas Forestry Commission, the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, and the Arkansas State Plant Board—all long-standing agencies that had been operating for decades by that time. The Livestock and Poultry Commission was created by …

Arkansas Department of Commerce

As part of the large-scale reorganization of state government under Act 910 of 2019, the Arkansas Legislature established the Arkansas Department of Commerce, under which the following entities are organized: Arkansas Division of Aeronautics, Arkansas Securities Department, Arkansas State Bank Department, Arkansas Insurance Department, Governor’s Commission on People with Disabilities, Arkansas Wine Producers Council, Arkansas Waterways Commission, Minority Business Advisory Council, Arkansas Department of Aeronautics Commission, Arkansas Aviation and Aerospace Commission, Burial Association Board, State Banking Board, Arkansas Development Finance Authority, State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, State Rehabilitation Council, Arkansas Rural Development Commission, Economic Development of Arkansas Fund Commission, Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), Division of Workforce Services, Arkansas Housing Trust Fund, Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, Career …

Arkansas Department of Corrections

The umbrella entity of the Arkansas Department of Corrections, created by Act 910 of 2019, is composed of over 6,000 employees within the following: the Division of Correction (formerly the Arkansas Department of Correction), the Division of Community Correction (formerly Arkansas Department of Community Correction), the Corrections School System (Arkansas Correctional School District and Riverside Vocational Technical School), and the Office of the Criminal Detention Facility Review Coordinator, along with the administrative functions of the Criminal Detention Facility Review Committees, Parole Board, Sentencing Commission; and State Council for the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision. The Division of Correction (ADC) enforces the court-mandated sentences for people convicted of crimes at a variety of prison facilities located in twelve counties across …

Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment (ADEE)

Established in 2019 as part of the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 (Act 910), the new umbrella agency called the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment (ADEE) absorbed the former Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), which became a division, and the Arkansas Geological Survey. The Arkansas Division of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is Arkansas’s regulatory body in the area of environmental protection. It is headquartered in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the state government’s first “green” building. ADEQ operates seventeen field offices throughout the state. ADEQ’s first incarnation was the Arkansas Water Pollution Control Commission, created by Act 472 of 1949. Originally operating under the auspices of the Arkansas Department of Health, the commission was given the power …

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (ADFA)

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (ADFA) oversees the collection of state taxes, the purchasing of equipment for state agencies, programs for state employees, and a variety of other fiscal and administrative duties, such as regulating alcoholic beverages and registering vehicles. The director of the ADFA is the chief fiscal officer of the State of Arkansas. ADFA was created by Act 38 of 1971, which significantly reorganized state government, to encompass the responsibilities of four different state agencies: the Department of Revenue, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Arkansas Racing Commission, and the State Administration Department. The Department of Revenue had been created as the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and Revenues by Act 88 of 1925, …

Arkansas Department of Health (ADH)

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) exercises supervision over all matters pertaining to the health of Arkansas’s citizens, from food safety and sanitation to hospitals and medicine. The first state board of health was actually the Little Rock (Pulaski County) board of health, which sprang into action in 1878 in the face of a yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans, Louisiana, and fears that refugees could bring the disease into Arkansas; the Little Rock board was turned into the state board by Governor William Read Miller the following year. In 1881, the state legislature created an official state board of health, though it was inactive until 1897, when smallpox appeared in the state. Act 96 of 1913 created a permanent …

Arkansas Department of Human Services (ADHS)

The Arkansas Department of Human Services (ADHS) is the largest of the state’s agencies. It performs and oversees a variety of services for the citizens of Arkansas, including regulating nursing homes and childcare facilities, operating human development centers for the state’s mentally challenged residents, conducting adoption and foster home programs, and providing mental health services. The ADHS consists of the following divisions: Aging and Adult Services, Behavioral Health Services (which includes the Arkansas State Hospital), Child Care, Child and Family Services, County Operations, Developmental Disabilities Services, Medical Services, Services for the Blind, Volunteerism, and Youth Services. ADHS was created by Act 38 of 1971 as part of an initiative to reorganize state government and services. ADHS was initially dubbed the …

Arkansas Department of Labor and Licensing (ADLL)

The Arkansas Department of Labor (ADL), which became the Arkansas Division of Labor in 2019, arose as part of the Progressive movement in Arkansas as the agency responsible for enforcing the state’s labor laws. Its mission is “to foster, promote, and develop the health, safety and welfare of the wage earners of Arkansas by providing services and enforcing laws to improve working conditions and enhance their opportunities for safe and profitable employment.” Act 322 of 1913 created the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, which was to be headed by a governor-appointed commissioner, whose duty it was to “collect, assort, systematize and present biennial reports to the Governor, statistical details relating to all departments of labor in Arkansas and especially as …

Arkansas Department of Public Safety (ADPS)

The Arkansas Division of Emergency Management (ADEM), which became part of the Arkansas Department of Public Safety in 2019, is the state government’s equivalent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). ADEM is responsible for disaster preparedness and for responding to natural and manmade disasters throughout the state. Act 321 of 1953 established the State Civil Defense Agency, then located in an office at the Arkansas State Capitol. The act noted the “existing and increasing possibility of the occurrence of disasters of unprecedented size and destructiveness resulting from enemy attack” and defined the agency’s mission as “to provide for the common defense and to protect the public peace, health, and safety.” Under the act, the State Civil Defense Agency was …

Arkansas Department of the Inspector General

The Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 (Act 910) elevated the existing office of Medicaid Inspector General to a cabinet-level agency. Additionally, the department took on oversight of Internal Audit for the State of Arkansas, as well as the Fair Housing Commission and Board. Elizabeth Thomas Smith, who was appointed Arkansas Medicaid Inspector General in June 2015, became the cabinet secretary for the Arkansas Department of Inspector General when it became effective in 2019. For additional information: Office of the Medicaid Inspector General. https://omig.arkansas.gov/ (accessed December 27, 2019). Department of the Inspector General. https://portal.arkansas.gov/agency/department-of-inspector-general/ (accessed December 27, 2019). Staff of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Arkansas Department of Transformation and Shared Services

The Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 (Act 910) merged the Office of Transformation with the former Arkansas Department of Information Systems (ADIS) to create the Department of Transformation and Shared Services as a cabinet-level department in state government. In December 2016, Governor Asa Hutchinson appointed Amy Fecher (former director of the Arkansas Department of Rural Services) as the Chief Transformation Officer (CTO) for the new Office of Transformation. Created in anticipation of a large-scale state government reorganization, the office researched ways to reduce the number of cabinet-level agencies in state government and began putting together a proposal for this project, with the aim of crafting legislation to codify the transformation. Early “pilot projects” of the Office of Transformation included …

Arkansas Department of Transportation

The Arkansas Department of Transportation oversees the planning, maintenance, and policing of state roads and highways. Act 302 of 1913 established the State Highway Commission and renamed the Department of State Lands as the Department of State Lands, Highways and Improvements. However, there remained no designated highway system in the state. In 1921, a federal law required states to designate a system of state highways, to be managed by a state highway department. In 1923, a few months following the closure of the Department of State Lands, Highways and Improvements due to the Arkansas General Assembly’s failure to appropriate money for the agency, the governor called a special session of the legislature to deal with the resulting problems, eventually signing …

Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA)

The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) dates back to the post–World War I years and the need to care for Arkansas residents disabled during the war. It underwent transformation broadening its scope during World War II and following the Vietnam War. At present, ADVA operates two homes for disabled veterans, as well as two veterans’ cemeteries, and acts as a liaison for state residents and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The first move by people in the state to care for veterans in a systematized manner was the creation of the Arkansas Confederate Home in 1890, which provided care and services to indigent Confederate veterans and their widows. In 1891, the home secured an appropriation from the Arkansas …

Arkansas Derby

The Arkansas Derby is the most lucrative thoroughbred horse race in Arkansas, currently offering a “purse” of $1 million. The purse is the prize money that is divided among the horses competing in the race, based upon their finish, with the winner receiving sixty percent ($600,000). The one-and-one-eighth-mile race is restricted to horses that are three years old. It is traditionally held each year at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs (Garland County) on the second Saturday of April. Over time, it has developed into one of the nation’s leading preparatory races for the Triple Crown, which comprises the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The Arkansas Derby was first held in 1936 and carried a $5,000 purse. The …

Arkansas Diamonds

The Arkansas Diamonds professional football team competed in the Continental Football League in 1968 and 1969. The Continental Football League, a fledgling professional league, operated from 1965 to 1969. A. B. Chandler, former Kentucky governor and Major League Baseball’s second commissioner, was the league’s first commissioner and provided the upstart league with a recognized level of credibility. Nevertheless, by 1968, Chandler had departed and the league was struggling to survive. Still, the Continental Football League provided players with an opportunity to be paid to play, although in 1968 team payrolls were capped at $5,000 per game, and no player could earn more than $200 per game. Furthermore, the league offered players a chance to continue playing after their collegiate careers …

Arkansas Division of Aeronautics (ADA)

The Arkansas Division of Aeronautics (ADA) is responsible for regulating aviation in the state of Arkansas as well as encouraging the development of aeronautics-related industries. The Arkansas Division of Aeronautics was created as the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics by Act 457 of 1941, which established the agency for a period of twenty-five years, to be headed by a commission consisting of the chairperson of the State Police Commission, the adjutant general of the State of Arkansas, the chairperson of the State Penal Board, the chairperson of the State Highway Commission, and the head of the ADA. The duties, as defined by the act, consisted of providing for the examination, rating, and licensing of airports; adopting rules and regulations for airports …

Arkansas Division of Career and Technical Education (ADCTE)

The Division of Career and Technical Education oversees vocational and technical education in the state. It was established to “create opportunities for strong comprehensive education regardless of the student’s ultimate career choice.” The Division of Career and Technical Education was originally created as the Arkansas Department of Workforce Education (ADWE) by Act 803 of 1997 to assume responsibility over vocational and technical education in the state. The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) had previously overseen vo-tech education since its inception in 1931. Act 803 of 1997 abolished the State Board of Vocational Education, creating in its place the State Board of Workforce Education and Career Opportunities as well as ADWE, which became responsible for vo-tech education. The new department also …

Arkansas Division of Community Correction (ADCC)

The Arkansas Division of Community Correction (ADCC) oversees the state’s non-traditional correction programs, such as probation and parole, as well as community correction centers that offer drug/alcohol treatment and vocational programs. ADCC’s mission is “To promote public safety and a crime-free lifestyle by providing cost-effective community-based sanctions, and enforcing state laws and court mandates in the supervision and treatment of adult offenders.” ADCC was originally named the Arkansas Department of Community Punishment, which was created by Acts 548 and 549 of 1993. The act noted that “the ever increasing numbers of offenders in traditional penitentiaries” brought “added fiscal pressures on state government” and thus sought to bring the cost down “through the use of community punishment programs and non-traditional facilities” …

Arkansas Division of Higher Education

The Arkansas Division of Higher Education is responsible for the regulation of the state’s public two-year and four-year institutions of higher education. The first attempt to regulate higher education in the state came through the establishment of the Arkansas Committee on Higher Education in 1949, which consisted primarily of state legislators and the leaders of institutions of higher education. The commission’s report to the Arkansas General Assembly in 1951 recommended the creation of a control board to coordinate efforts regulating higher education. Prior to this, state institutions were fairly autonomous, and the legislature exercised oversight primarily through appropriations, which led to institutions competing with each other for state money. In addition, the commission reported that “in some cases local pride …

Arkansas Division of Information Systems (DIS)

The former Arkansas Department of Information Systems (ADIS) provided information technology solutions for the state government of Arkansas, maintaining the government’s telecommunication services and ensures connectivity and security among the various state agencies. The Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 (Act 910) merged the Office of Transformation with the former ADIS to create the Department of Transformation and Shared Services as a cabinet-level department in state government, which includes the Division of Information Systems (DIS). The forerunner of ADIS was the Arkansas Department of Computer Services (ADCS), created by Act 884 of 1977, which abolished the Administrative Services Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration and transferred its duties and responsibilities to the newly created ADCS. The act …