Business Leaders

Sub Catagories:
  • No categories
Clear

Entry Category: Business Leaders

Dalton, Donald

Donald Dalton served as a brigadier general in the Arkansas National Guard. At the end of his career, he was the commander of the Arkansas Air National Guard. Donald Dalton was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 10, 1939, to John and Dora Dalton. His father worked as a baker, and Donald had an older brother and two older sisters at the time of his birth. While he was a child, the family moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Dalton graduated from Central High School in 1957. Dalton enlisted in the Air National Guard as a weapons mechanic that same year. In 1961, he received a commission as a second lieutenant and entered undergraduate pilot training at Laredo …

Davis, Gregory A.

Gregory A. Davis is the founder of Davis Broadcasting, a regional media company that owns several radio stations in Columbus and Atlanta, Georgia; the stations range from urban contemporary and gospel to sports and Spanish-language formats. Davis serves as the president and CEO of Davis Broadcasting. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2016, the same year that marked the thirtieth anniversary of the company he founded. Gregory Davis was born in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in 1948. His mother was an educator at the local black school, and his father worked in a bakery before opening a shoeshine parlor. He attended twelve years of Catholic school, graduating from St. Anne’s Academy, where he was the …

Davis, William Delford (Willie)

Willie Davis is a millionaire business executive, civic leader, and former football standout who grew up in Miller County. Davis achieved athletic success in football at the high school, college, and professional levels. After retiring from a National Football League (NFL) career of twelve seasons (1958–1969), he moved into the business world, where he attained equal success. Davis is a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. William Delford (Willie) Davis was born on July 24, 1934, in Lisbon, Louisiana, to David and Nodie Davis. After his parents separated when he was eight, his mother moved the family to Texarkana (Miller County). His mother supported the family by working as a cook at the Texarkana Country Club. Willie Davis …

Dierks, Herman

Herman Dierks was the co-founder and two-time president of the Dierks Lumber and Coal Company, supervising its lumberyard in De Queen (Sevier County) and other parts of eastern Oklahoma and northern Louisiana. With the help of his brothers, he helped create and control the Dierks timber empire. Born near Lyons, Iowa, on September 24, 1863, Herman Dierks was the seventh child of Peter Henry Dierks, a German farmer and a banker, and Margaretha Dorothea Tauk, a Danish immigrant. He joined his brother Hans in Nebraska after Hans bought land there along the newly constructed Burlington Railroad. Dierks farmed until he and his brother bought a lumberyard in 1887, which later proved to be the source of Dierks’s fortune. On May …

Dillard, William Thomas

William Thomas Dillard was the founder of Dillard’s, Inc., one of the nation’s largest fashion apparel and home-furnishings retailers. From an $8,000 investment in a single store in Nashville (Howard County), Dillard, an Arkansas native, built a premier retail chain with a national presence of more than 300 stores in twenty-nine states. William T. Dillard was born on September 2, 1914, in Mineral Springs (Howard County), the only son of Thomas Dillard and Hattie Gibson Dillard, who were prominent farmers and merchants in the close-knit Mineral Springs community. Retailing excited Dillard from a very young age, and he spent many hours in his father’s store. Dillard attended the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he majored in …

Dixon, Martha

Martha Smith Dixon is an internationally recognized clothing designer and entrepreneur. Her designs of couture gowns worn by Hillary Clinton during Clinton’s husband’s 1987 gubernatorial inauguration and 1993 presidential inauguration helped launch her career in fashion design and sales. Dixon is a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Martha Smith was born in Clark County on February 2, 1946, the seventeenth of twenty children of James G. Smith and Beatrice Cook Smith, impoverished cotton pickers and sharecroppers in the South Central community in Clark County. She attended public school in Gurdon (Clark County) when work allowed and graduated from Peake High School in Arkadelphia (Clark County) in 1965. The first in her family to attend college, she spent …

Drennen, John

John Drennen was a prominent businessman who is called the father of Van Buren (Crawford County). The home he built in Van Buren, now known as the Drennen-Scott House, serves as a museum interpreting local history and Drennen’s legacy. John Drennen was born to Thomas Drennen and Isabelle Moore Drennen on February 5, 1801, in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania. At a young age, he and his family moved to Potosi, Missouri. On March 21, 1826, in Potosi, he married Emily Rosanna Deaderick Stuart, widow of James Stuart; John and Emily Drennen had three daughters, one of whom died in childhood. Later in 1826, he moved to Tennessee and went into business with his brother-in-law David Thompson (the husband of Emily Drennen’s sister, …

Elsken, Conrad

aka: Conrad Ilsken
Conrad Elsken was a prominent figure in Logan County for forty years. In 1883, he moved to Paris (Logan County) after he became land agent for the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad. He started the Citizens Telephone Company in 1900 and served as its general manager until it was sold to Western Electric in 1928. Elsken also helped to establish the Bank of Paris, which became the First National Bank of Paris, and served as Logan County treasurer. He established a series of general stores in several Logan County towns. During World War I, he was the head of the Council of Defense for Logan County. He was on the Arkansas State Charity Board under Governor Jeff Davis and …

Epstein, Sam

Sam Epstein, a Russian-Jewish immigrant, was a merchant, planter, and civic leader in Lake Village (Chicot County) and Chicot County in the early twentieth century. Sam Epstein was born to Menasha Epstein and Malke Epstein on July 25, 1875, on a farm near Riga, Latvia, in the former Russian Empire. He was likely the second of five children. Many Eastern European Jews fled violence and legal restrictions in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While Epstein’s parents likely did not immigrate, at least five of their children, including Sam, arrived in the United States between 1891 and 1900. Epstein likely arrived in New York City in May 1896. He traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, and joined an older brother, Nathan, …

Faucette, James Peter

James Peter Faucette was a politician, businessman, and the third mayor of Argenta, now North Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was a leader in the separation of Argenta from Little Rock (Pulaski County) after a forced annexation. Jim Faucette was born on September 28, 1867, in Pope Station, Mississippi, the fifth child and second son of James Beard Faucette and Eliza Jane Hubbard. The Faucette family settled in Texas in 1878 and then in Arkansas in 1880, moving to Searcy (White County), Dover (Pope County), and Russellville (Pope County) within a year. Faucette moved to Argenta, a small settlement on the north shore on the Arkansas River, opposite Little Rock in 1885, following his older brother Will Faucette, who settled …

Faucette, Will

aka: William Chesley Faucette
William Chesley Faucette was a politician, businessman, and the first mayor of Argenta, now North Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was a leader in the decade-long fight to separate Argenta from Little Rock (Pulaski County) after a forced annexation. Will Faucette was born on August 13, 1865, in Pope Station, Mississippi, and was the fourth child of James Beard Faucette and Eliza Jane Hubbard. The Faucette family moved to Texas in 1878, then to Arkansas in 1880, living in Searcy (White County), Dover (Pope County), and Russellville (Pope County) within the space of a year. Around 1883, Faucette moved to the small settlement of Argenta on the north side of the Arkansas River opposite Little Rock. The rest of the …

Fordyce, John Rison

The son of Hot Springs (Garland County) entrepreneur and Cotton Belt Railroad president Samuel Wesley Fordyce, John Rison Fordyce forged his own way into Arkansas history. He was educated as a mining engineer but was also an inventor, manufacturer, leader in commerce, public servant, and amateur archaeologist. John R. Fordyce was born in Huntsville, Alabama, on November 7, 1869. He moved to the health resort of Hot Springs at age five with his father and mother, Susan Chadick, after his father, suffering from malaria contracted during the Civil War, found renewed health in the local thermal springs. The third of five children, Fordyce—along with his three surviving siblings—was educated in Hot Springs schools. His father was instrumental in Hot Springs’ …

Fordyce, Samuel Wesley

Samuel Wesley Fordyce was a businessman who spearheaded efforts to build thousands of miles of railway in the South and Southwest during the late nineteenth century, including the Cotton Belt route that crossed Arkansas. He also was a major force behind the transformation of Hot Springs (Garland County) from a small village to major health resort. The town of Fordyce (Dallas County) is named for him, as is the Fordyce Bath House in Hot Springs. Samuel Fordyce was born on February 7, 1840, in Senecaville, Ohio, the son of John Fordyce and Mary Ann Houseman Fordyce. As a boy, he never liked school, but he attended Madison College in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and North Illinois University in Henry, Illinois, before becoming …

Foster, William Franklin (Bill)

William Franklin (Bill) Foster was a longtime and influential member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. Serving in the state legislature for over three decades beginning in the early 1960s, he was particularly well known for his work on behalf of senior citizens. Bill Foster was born on August 2, 1916, in Lonoke County. He was the oldest of three children born to Joseph R. Foster and Josephine Margaret Crutchfield Foster. Foster grew up in Lonoke County, graduating from Lonoke High School in 1934. In the midst of the Great Depression, he worked for the Arkansas Department of Transportation as a statistician for eight years. In 1943, with World War II raging, he joined the U.S. Army Air Force. Discharged in …

Frauenthal, Max

Max Frauenthal, a German immigrant noted for bravery in the Civil War, established an important mercantile business in Conway (Faulkner County). He was later known as the “Father of Heber Springs and Cleburne County.” Max Frauenthal was born on November 11, 1836, in Marienthal, Bavaria, Germany. No definite records of his parents’ or any siblings’ names are available. According to family history, his grandfather was called simply Meyer until the early nineteenth century, when the enactment of the Napoleonic Code required European Jews to take surnames; Meyer took Frauenthal, the name of a town south of Vienna, Austria. Max Frauenthal was fifteen when he came to the United States, eventually settling in Brookhaven, Mississippi. At Summit, Mississippi, he enlisted in …

Frazier, George Thomas

George Frazier was a well-known business, civic, and political leader in Hope (Hempstead County) for six and a half decades. He served as a close friend and advisor to prominent Arkansas Democrats, most notably two Hope natives: Bill Clinton and Mack McLarty. Frazier was also a key figure in the effort to preserve Clinton’s boyhood home in Hope as a National Historic Site. George Thomas Frazier was born on October 29, 1918, in Anderson, Kentucky, to Leonard Leigh, a machinist, and Faye Thomas, a secretary. Leigh left his family when George was two, and his mother married John Joseph Frazier, a construction worker from St. Louis, Missouri, in 1923. John Frazier adopted George, and the family lived in St. Louis …

Fulbright, Roberta Waugh

Roberta Waugh Fulbright took charge of the inherited, fragmented business holdings originally assembled by her husband and molded them into a multi-enterprise family firm. She emerged as an influential newspaper publisher, columnist, bank president, successful business owner, and civic crusader in Fayetteville (Washington County). Roberta Waugh was born on February 14, 1874, in Rothville, Missouri, to James Waugh, a farmer, and Pattie Stratton, a homemaker. She had three brothers and a sister who died in infancy in 1881. Waugh grew up in north central Missouri, attended the lower grades of public school in Rothville, graduated from high school in Kansas City, and attended the University of Missouri for two years to qualify for a teacher’s certificate. She taught in Chariton …

Fulkerson, Floyd Hurt, Jr.

Floyd Hurt Fulkerson Jr. is a highly honored veteran who served with the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II. The grandson of an Arkansas Civil War commander, he became a businessman and real estate developer in central Arkansas. Floyd Hurt Fulkerson was born on April 6, 1921, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), one of three children of Floyd and Georgia Fulkerson. Fulkerson’s maternal grandfather was Colonel George F. Baucum, commanding officer of the Confederate Eighth Arkansas Regiment during the Civil War. His elder brother, George Baucum Fulkerson, was a Rhodes Scholar from Sewanee University who served as a member of the Nuremberg Military Tribunal and prosecuted Nazi officers for war crimes. Fulkerson attended Little Rock High School, Sewanee …

Garvan, Verna Cook

Verna Mary Cook Garvan was one of the first women in Arkansas to own a construction/manufacturing business and was the benefactor of what is now Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs (Garland County). Verna Cook was born on January 22, 1911, in Groveton, Texas, to Arthur Bacillius Cook and Essie Louise Bordis Cook. Verna Cook and her sister, Dorothy, were raised to be “proper ladies,” but Verna often accompanied her father to work and absorbed his business acumen. In 1916, her father moved the family to Malvern (Hot Spring County) to manage the Wisconsin and Arkansas Lumber Company, an enterprise producing oak and pine flooring. Malvern Brick and Tile was also purchased by Verna’s father, who later served as a …

Gaston, James Albert (Jim)

Jim Gaston was a renowned Arkansas businessman, sportsman, and philanthropist whose legacy includes operating Gaston’s White River Resort, being an advocate for tourism and conservation in the state, and acting as a champion of education. His generosity contributed to significant growth at Arkansas State University–Mountain Home (ASUMH). James (Jim) Albert Gaston was born on December 18, 1941, to Albert (Al) Gaston and Iola Cosey Gaston in Herrin, Illinois. After moving to Arkansas, Al Gaston created Gaston’s White River Resort at Lakeview (Baxter County) in 1958. In 1961, at age twenty, Jim Gaston inherited the property, which at the time consisted of twenty acres, six small cottages, and six boats. Gaston expanded the operation significantly, until it covered 400 acres of land with …

Gibbs, Mifflin Wistar

Mifflin Wistar Gibbs was a Little Rock (Pulaski County) businessman, a politician, and the first elected African-American municipal judge in the United States. Mifflin Gibbs was born on April 17, 1823, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the eldest of four children born to Jonathan and Maria Gibbs. His father, a Methodist minister, died when Mifflin was a child, and his mother worked as a laundress. Gibbs learned carpentry through an apprenticeship. He read widely and attended debates at the Philadelphia Library Company of Colored Persons. He had a chance to practice his own oratory in the 1840s when Frederick Douglass invited him to help conduct an abolitionist lecture tour. Journeying to California soon after the gold rush of 1849, he became a …

Gibson, Herbert Richard (H. R.)

Herbert Richard (H. R.) Gibson Sr. was the founder of Gibson Products Company, parent company of the once prominent discount retail store chain Gibson’s Discount Centers. At its peak in the mid-1970s, Gibson Products Company—founded in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the 1930s—and its franchisees operated almost 700 stores located throughout much of the United States. H. R. Gibson was a modern discount retailing pioneer, entering the field in 1958, four years ahead of Kmart, Target, and Walmart Inc. As an early business rival of Sam Walton, Gibson influenced discounting and management practices that Walton later used to surpass Gibson and make Walmart Inc. the world’s largest retailer. H. R. Gibson was born near Berryville (Carroll County) on September 16, …

Glascock, Darrell

Darrell Glascock was a well-known political consultant who was an active force in Arkansas politics in the 1980s and 1990s. He also ran for U.S. Congress and sought the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor of Arkansas. Darrell Glascock was born in Tullos, Louisiana, in 1946 to Ray and Louise Glascock. He was interested in politics at an early age, and friends recalled him campaigning on behalf of state Senator Speedy Long when he was fourteen. He graduated from Georgetown High School in nearby Georgetown; he attended Northeast Louisiana University, Northwestern State University, and Louisiana State University, but he did not earn a degree. Glascock married Kitty Lou Rambo in the 1960s, and the couple had two children, a son and …

Green, Benjamin William

Benjamin William Green was a soldier, planter, mill operator, real estate agent, and advocate for Confederate veterans. Raised in South Carolina, he fought in a Georgia unit during the Civil War. He moved to Arkansas after the war and later served as commander of the Arkansas Division of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV). Benjamin Green was born on September 7, 1846, in Darlington County, South Carolina, to Judge James Green and Sarah Ann Green. He was a descendant of John James, an officer of the American Revolution. Green’s father was a planter, who, according to the 1860 census, owned twenty slaves ranging from age three to eighty years of age. His father was too old to fight in the Civil …

Greeson, Martin White

Martin White Greeson was an attorney and civic activist who spent most of his adult life advocating for the construction of a dam on the Little Missouri River. He believed that such a structure was critical both to flood prevention and economic development. While he did not live to see his dream come to fruition, the dam was completed not long after his death. The resulting Lake Greeson was named in his honor. Martin W. Greeson was born on November 7, 1866, in Clinton (Van Buren County). He was one of two children of Hartwell and Louisa Greeson, and he had two half-sisters from his father’s previous marriage. He received his early education in the local schools, and he himself …

Harding, Dexter

Dexter Harding was one of the early citizens of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and owned the first sawmill in town, providing lumber for the homes and businesses from 1850 to 1860. In the 1980s, his pioneer home was converted to a tourist bureau because it was the oldest house in town. He was a brother to Chester Harding, a well-known artist who painted a picture of Daniel Webster and the only painting done from life of Daniel Boone. Dexter Harding was born on July 8, 1796, in Massachusetts. He was the sixth of fourteen children born to Abiel and Olive Smith Harding. When he was ten years old, the family moved to Madison County, New York. They grew up poor. …

Harris, Carey Allen

Carey Allen Harris played vital, though scandal-plagued, roles in the history of early Arkansas banking and Indian Removal between 1837 and 1842. Carey Allen Harris was born in Williamson County, Tennessee, on September 23, 1806. His parents were Edith Perrin Harris of Virginia and Andrew Harris of Rowan, North Carolina. Much like William Woodruff, founder and editor of the Arkansas Gazette, Harris began his professional life as a printer and newspaper owner in Tennessee, when Harris and Abram P. Maury founded the Nashville Republican in 1824. (Harris went on to marry Maury’s daughter, Martha, and they had four children.) In 1826, Harris and Maury sold the paper to state printers Allan A. Hall and John Fitzgerald. In 1830, Congress passed …

Harrison, Marcus LaRue

Marcus LaRue Harrison organized the First Arkansas Cavalry Regiment (Union) and served as its colonel during the Civil War. After the war, he had a hand in a number of Reconstruction projects, including the reestablishment of Arkansas’s postal service, politics, and railroad promotion. The city of Harrison (Boone County) was named for him. M. LaRue Harrison was born on April 1, 1830, in Groton, New York, the son of Marcus Harrison, a Presbyterian minister and anti-slavery activist, and Lydia House. Because his father had to move often, Harrison’s childhood was spent in various locations in New York, Michigan, and Illinois. By 1850, he had settled in Nashville, Illinois, and married Rebecca Axley, the first of his three wives. The couple …

Hartz, Jacob, Sr.

Jacob Hartz Sr. was a pioneer in the soybean industry. His vision of the use of the soybean plant as a rotation crop in the nitrogen-depleted cotton and rice fields of Arkansas County led to the growth of a soybean industry that today is a $500 million cash crop in Arkansas, where 3.2 million acres are grown annually. Jacob Hartz was born to German immigrants George and Susanna Hartz in Racine, Wisconsin, on April 4, 1888. He was the third of eight children. After completing six years of formal education, his first work experience was as a clerk in a general store. In 1909, he married Mary Isabelle Smith, with whom he had eight children, and became an Arkansas sales …

Harvey, “Coin”

aka: William Hope Harvey
William Hope “Coin” Harvey founded both the resort of Monte Ne (Benton County) and the Ozark Trails Association, establishing him as a pioneer in the promotion of Arkansas tourism. Harvey was also the 1932 Liberty Party nominee for the president of the United States. Coin Harvey was born on August 16, 1851, on a farm near Buffalo, Virginia (now West Virginia), to Robert Trigg and Anna Hope Harvey. He attended the country schools and Buffalo Academy in 1865–67, and then briefly taught school. While teaching, he studied law and briefly attended Marshall College in Cabell County, West Virginia, in 1867. In 1870, he was admitted to the bar. Harvey began his law career in West Virginia but soon moved on …

Havis, Ferd

aka: Ferdinand Havis
Ferdinand Havis was born a slave but became an alderman, state representative, assessor, and county clerk, and was called the “Colored Millionaire” of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Ferd Havis was born in Desha County on November 15, 1846, the son of John Havis, a white farmer, and a slave mother. In 1859, Havis’s father moved his operations to Jefferson County. Havis received a little common school education and learned the barbering trade. Later, he owned a profitable barbershop on West Court Street in Pine Bluff. The shop later moved to Barraque Street. Havis married three times. His first wife, Dilsa, died childless in 1870. His second wife, Geneva, died on August 4, 1886; they had one child, Ferda. He married …

Henderson, Charles Christopher

Charles Christopher Henderson was a businessman and philanthropist in southern Arkansas long associated with Arkadelphia Methodist College, which in 1904 was renamed Henderson College in honor of Henderson’s service on the board of trustees and his financial support. The school’s former campus operates as Henderson State University in the twenty-first century. Henderson’s 1906 Queen Anne–style home in Arkadelphia (Clark County) was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, listed as the Captain Charles Christopher Henderson House. Charles Henderson was born in Scott County on March 17, 1850, the third of eight children of John Henderson and Margaret Mahalia Reed Henderson. The family lived in both Scott and Sebastian counties during his childhood. Henderson was fourteen years old …

Houser, Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte Houser was a prominent African-American physician, owner of the Black Diamond Drug Store, and investor in Helena (Phillips County) from 1901 to 1920. He came to Helena from Charlotte, North Carolina, as the Arkansas Delta’s population and opportunities grew, but returned to the place of his birth following the Elaine Massacre. N. B. Houser was born near Gastonia, in Gaston County, North Carolina, on February 14, 1869. He was the son of William H. Houser, a well-to-do brick mason and contractor, and Fannie Houser, a housekeeper and mother. The youngest of six siblings, Houser attended public schools in Charlotte and worked as a farm hand on his father’s farm until the age of fourteen, when he began to …

Huddleston, John Wesley

John Wesley Huddleston is best known as a struggling farmer who found two diamonds on the surface of his field near Murfreesboro (Pike County) in August 1906 and made himself and his state famous. Soon after the discovery, he was recognized as the first person outside South Africa to find diamonds at an original volcanic source. In the process, he also became the controversial subject of numerous folk tales. A native of Pike County, John Huddleston was born in 1862 to David Fielding Huddleston and America White Huddleston. He had seven siblings before his mother’s death in the early 1870s and gained three step-sisters after his father’s remarriage to Francis Carey. In 1886, Huddleston wed Sarah A. Keys, the mother …

Hunt, Johnnie Bryan “J. B.”

One of the most successful entrepreneurs in Arkansas history, Johnnie Bryan “J. B.” Hunt rose from humble beginnings to found one of America’s largest trucking firms, J. B. Hunt Transport Services. Today, his company is one of the largest employers in the state, with nearly 15,000 employees and a fleet of 9,688 trucks. The firm is consistently listed among Forbes magazine’s largest corporations. The son of sharecroppers, J. B. Hunt was born on February 28, 1927, in rural Cleburne County. He left school after the seventh grade to work at his uncle’s sawmill and eventually found other work picking cotton and selling lumber. In 1952, he married Johnelle DeBusk, and the couple went on to have two children. A year after their marriage, …

Hussman, Walter E., Jr.

Walter E. Hussman Jr., who is best known in Arkansas as the publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a third-generation newspaperman whose family acquired a chain of newspapers stretching from Tennessee to Missouri. As publisher of the Arkansas Democrat, Hussman went head to head with the larger Arkansas Gazette and won the so-called Little Rock (Pulaski County) newspaper war in October 1991. He purchased the assets of the Gazette from the Gannett Corp. and began publishing the Democrat-Gazette. Walter Edward Hussman Jr. was born in Texarkana (Miller County) on January 5, 1947, to Walter E. Hussman Sr. and Betty Palmer Hussman and raised in Camden (Ouachita County) with his two older sisters. His parents moved to Camden in 1949 when …

Hutto, Terrell Don

Terrell Don Hutto was head of the Arkansas Department of Correction from 1971 to 1976, serving under Governor Dale Bumpers and later Governor David Pryor. Hutto arrived in Arkansas not long after the landmark Holt v. Sarver decision, which declared the entire state prison system unconstitutional. Hutto faced some controversy during his tenure, but he was largely successful in modernizing the state’s penitentiary and bringing it into compliance with federal prison standards. Hutto later worked as an administrator in the Virginia prison system and was one of the founders of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). T. Don Hutto was born on June 8, 1935, in Sinton, Texas, to Terrell Sanford Hutto and Winnie Elvenia Cusler Hutto. Hutto’s father, who …

Jackson, Joseph Walter (Joe)

Joseph Walter (Joe) Jackson was a talent manager best known as the father and manager of his children’s careers, including the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, and Janet Jackson. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2011. Joseph Walter Jackson was born on July 26, 1928, in Fountain Hill (Ashley County). He was the oldest of five children of Samuel Joseph Jackson and Crystal Lee King. His father was a schoolteacher. Jackson remembered that his father was one of few African Americans in the area to own a car. The elite status earned his father the nickname of “Professor Jackson.” Much of Jackson’s childhood was spent in Arkansas. However, when his parents separated, he left Arkansas at the …

John, Mary

Mary John was born a slave under French colonial occupation, and after obtaining her freedom in 1840, she opened a hotel at Arkansas Post and became a prominent local figure. Mary John was born around the latter part of the 1780s. She may have been Marie Jeanne, whom Etienne de Vaugine bequeathed to his granddaughter, Pelagie, in his will dated September 1, 1794, at New Orleans, Louisiana (although the 1850 federal census lists her as having been born in Arkansas). Little is known about her early life. A bill of sale written in French by notary Andre Fagot at Arkansas Post on July 30, 1806, records that Marie Languedoc transferred ownership of a “creole negress” named Marie Jeanne to Jean …

Johnson, John Harold

John Harold Johnson rose above abject poverty and racial discrimination to build a publishing empire that helped forever change the perception of African Americans in the United States. Johnson Publishing Company became the largest African-American-owned and -operated publishing company in the world and launched Ebony and Jet, two very successful magazines that gave a voice to millions of black Americans. Born Johnny Johnson on January 19, 1918, in Arkansas City (Desha County) to Leroy Johnson and Gertrude Jenkins Johnson, a cook in a Mississippi River levee camp, Johnson was a third-generation descendent of slaves. After the death of Johnson’s father in a sawmill accident when Johnson was eight years old, his mother married James Williams, who helped raise him. During a …