Entries - Entry Category: Campuses and Schools

Arkadelphia Baptist Academy

The Arkadelphia Baptist Academy in Arkadelphia (Clark County) was one of many schools founded across the South by the American Baptist Home Mission Society, which was headquartered in New York. Beginning in 1865, the northern Baptists joined other denominations in the effort to educate the recently freed slaves across the South. In an article published in the New York Times in 1897, the society’s corresponding secretary, General Thomas J. Morgan, noted that, after the war, “the problem presented itself of the intellectual elevation of 4,000,000 human beings, just emerging from a degrading bondage.” During the thirty-two-year period between the end of the war and Morgan’s statements, the Home Mission Society had spent about $3 million, and its more than thirty institutions …

Arkadelphia Male and Female Institute

aka: Arkadelphia Institute
aka: Arkadelphia Female Seminary
aka: Arkadelphia Female College
aka: Arkadelphia Female Academy
Several educational institutions with variations of the name Arkadelphia Male and Female Institute operated in Arkadelphia (Clark County) during the nineteenth century. The first opened in 1850. Arkadelphia was the seat of Clark County, with a population of 248 in 1850. With a newspaper, several churches, and a saloon, the town was one of the larger settlements along the Ouachita River. Early efforts to open a school in the town began in 1843. That year, an election was held in Arkadelphia to select three trustees to create a school and sell part of the sixteenth section on the west side of the Ouachita. Three trustees were elected, but one died before taking office, and little progress was made toward opening …

Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy

Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy, located in Arkadelphia (Clark County), was a co-educational elementary and secondary school operated by the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen. This board was part of the “Northern” Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), which founded schools for African Americans across the South after the Civil War. The board began opening schools for freed slaves as early as the 1860s, but the movement arrived late in Arkansas. It was not until 1889, when a new presbytery was organized in the state and large numbers of blacks from the eastern states were settling in Arkansas, that the board felt confident to begin its work in the state. The academy in Arkadelphia had earlier roots, however. According to historian Inez Moore Parker, it was …

Arkansas Baptist College

Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) is a four-year historically black liberal arts institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and affiliated with the Consolidated Missionary Baptist State Convention of Arkansas. In its quest to be a voice for the underrepresented student, ABC provides a quality education without charging out-of-state tuition fees. The vision of Arkansas Baptist College is thus: “To see our community, state, and nation positively influenced through the integration of academic scholarship and Christian principles to address issues having a detrimental effect on society.” Arkansas Baptist College was founded in 1884 by the Colored Baptists of the State of Arkansas. The school opened in November …

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 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 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 Holiness College

Arkansas Holiness College (AHC), founded in 1904, was the focus for a body of Wesleyan holiness believers who congregated for nearly three decades in Vilonia (Faulkner County). The preaching of Methodist evangelists Beverly Carradine and H. C. Morrison at camp meetings held at Beebe (White County) in the 1890s spurred a holiness association in Vilonia composed of Methodists and Free Methodists. Members of the association formed a grammar school that opened in 1900 under the direction of Fannie Suddarth, a teacher (and later minister) from Kentucky. The school added grades and academic levels, including a Bible department in 1905, when the Reverend C. L. Hawkins came to head the school. The name Arkansas Holiness College was adopted at this time. …

Arkansas Normal College

Arkansas Normal College, located in Jamestown (Independence County), was founded in 1895 as a two-year coeducational college with a curriculum designed to prepare students to pass county teacher certification requirements. At one time, the college boasted a greater enrollment than Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in Batesville (Independence County). In 1890, through the efforts of Dr. M. C. Weaver, A. J. Craig, W. B. Pate, and G. C. Rutledge, a high school was founded in Jamestown. Approximately five years later, after the state approved the creation of county normal (teachers’ training) schools, the two-year Arkansas Normal College was founded. While the school was chiefly designed for teacher preparation, students could also pursue traditional degrees in medicine, law, and general education. …

Arkansas Northeastern College

Arkansas Northeastern College (ANC) is the largest two-year college in northeast Arkansas. ANC’s main campus is located in Blytheville (Mississippi County), with educational centers located in Burdette (Mississippi County), Leachville (Mississippi County), Paragould (Greene County), and Osceola (Mississippi County). The college offers a variety of associate degrees, technical certificates, and job-training programs. In 1974, the residents of Mississippi County voted for a tax increase to finance the initial construction of the new school. Mississippi County Community College (MCCC) gave the local community an opportunity to receive an inexpensive higher education. Harry Smith was selected as the first president of the college. In 1975, the college became accredited and attained membership in the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In …

Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts

Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA) in Hot Springs (Garland County) is the only public residential high school in the state and one of only fourteen state-supported residential math and science schools in the nation. Its mission is to educate gifted and talented eleventh and twelfth grade students in Arkansas who have an interest and aptitude in mathematics, sciences, or the fine and performing arts. In addition, the school is expected to develop curricula and materials to improve instruction of mathematics, sciences, and fine and performing arts for all students in the state. As of 2015, the school educates approximately 230 students on its residential campus and more than 3,000 students in 60 counties through its distance …

Arkansas School for the Blind (ASB)

The Arkansas School for the Blind (ASB) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) teaches blind and visually impaired students to become productive citizens. The enriched curriculum, covering birth through age three and pre-kindergarten through the twelfth grade also offers a home-like setting to meet all students’ needs. ASB was founded as the Institute for the Education of the Blind in 1859 by the Reverend Haucke, a blind Baptist minister. Otis Patten was the school’s first official superintendent. The campus was originally located in Arkadelphia (Clark County) but was moved to Little Rock in 1868, which made the school more accessible to students across the state. The first Little Rock campus was located at 1800 Center Street. The institute was renamed the …

Arkansas School for the Deaf (ASD)

The Arkansas School for the Deaf (ASD), located on Markham Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is a publicly funded state agency that provides academic and life skills education for Arkansas students from age three to twenty-one who are deaf or hard of hearing. The school offers both residential and day-school services and includes outreach services to families and public schools. In July 1867, the City of Little Rock opened a school for deaf children. The next year, the state government took over the struggling school, naming it “The Arkansas Deaf Mute Institute.” Ground was broken in August 1869 for a brick building, which was ready for occupancy in February 1870. By 1892, the State School for the Deaf, as …

Arkansas State University (ASU)

Arkansas State University (ASU) is the only four-year public university in northeast Arkansas. While grounded in a heritage of service to the region, the influence and impact of ASU’s teaching and research extend throughout the state and nation. Arkansas State University had a humble beginning. On April 1, 1909, Governor George W. Donaghey signed Act 100, creating four district agricultural schools, culminating an initiative inspired by the Arkansas Farmers Union. On March 28, 1910, the trustees of the First District Agricultural School selected a farm just east of Jonesboro (Craighead County) as its location. Recruiting a leader to translate legislative authorization into educational reality, the trustees hired Victor C. Kays to be the school’s first principal. Although only twenty-eight, Kays …

Arkansas State University Mid-South

aka: Mid-South Community College
Arkansas State University Mid-South (ASU Mid-South), formerly Mid-South Community College (MSCC), is a two-year public institution located in West Memphis (Crittenden County) and serving Crittenden County and the surrounding area. ASU Mid-South focuses upon developing the workforce necessary to attract new business and industry to the east Arkansas Delta area. ASU Mid-South offers a variety of programs including an associate of arts degree in general education, an associate of arts in teaching, an associate of applied science in business technology, an associate of applied science in information system technology, and an associate of applied sciences in aviation maintenance technology. In late 1978, at the request of state representative Lloyd McCuiston and state senator W. K. (Bill) Ingram, a delegation of local legislators …

Arkansas State University–Beebe (ASU–Beebe)

aka: ASU–Beebe
Arkansas State University–Beebe (ASU–Beebe) is the oldest two-year institution of higher learning in the state. Located in east-central Arkansas along Highway 67/167 in Beebe (White County), it serves students from the Delta, the Ozark foothills, and the Little Rock (Pulaski County) metropolitan area. ASU–Beebe’s chief mission is to provide recent high school graduates and non-traditional students opportunities to obtain skills and training useful for immediate employment, and to take advanced coursework leading to an associate’s degree or transfer credit to a four-year institution. It was one of the first two-year schools to become a branch within a state university system. Except for Arkansas State University–Newport (ASU-Newport), ASU–Beebe remains the only two-year institution in Arkansas with a faculty that is afforded …

Arkansas State University–Mountain Home (ASUMH)

Arkansas State University–Mountain Home (ASUMH) is a two-year community college serving predominately the residents of Baxter and Marion counties, as well as neighboring counties in Missouri. ASUMH continues the long tradition of education in Mountain Home dating back to the Male and Female Academy of the 1850s. The origins of ASUMH can be traced back to several evening classes offered by North Arkansas Community College (NACC)—now North Arkansas College—at the Mountain Home (Baxter County) high school in 1974. These classes were offered in the wake of the defeat of a five-mill tax for the construction of a community college in Mountain Home in 1973. By 1976, NACC expanded the classes to include an Adult Basic Education program. As enrollment grew, …

Arkansas State University–Newport (ASU–Newport)

Arkansas State University–Newport (ASUN) is a comprehensive, two-year accredited college providing college transfer and career and technical education to students throughout northeast Arkansas. ASUN’s mission is to “provide integrity of programs and services; affordable life-long learning; and enhanced quality of life in the diverse community we serve.” Funded by Act 227 of 1973, ASUN was originally named White River Vocational-Technical School and was established to provide technical training and educational opportunities to the residents of Jackson County and surrounding areas. In 1991, the legislature passed Act 1244, converting vocational-technical schools into two-year colleges. White River Vocational-Technical School therefore became White River Technical College. The following year, it became a satellite of Arkansas State University–Beebe and renamed ASU Beebe/Newport. In 1997, …

Arkansas Synodical College

The Arkansas Synodical College, chartered shortly before the Civil War, was one of several abortive attempts by Arkansas Presbyterians to establish an institution of higher learning. At a meeting of the Synod of Arkansas in October 1859, those attending decided to locate the proposed Arkansas Synodical College in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Trustees had already been appointed, and some funds had been raised to support the effort. A committee was named to procure a charter from the state. This charter was granted by the state legislature on December 31, 1860. The college was to be under the care of the Old School Presbyterian Church of the United States and was to be under the direct supervision of the Synod of Arkansas. …

Arkansas Tech University

Arkansas Tech University is a public, coeducational, regional university located in Russellville (Pope County). The university offers programs at both baccalaureate and graduate levels. The institution that became Arkansas Tech University had its origins in an early twentieth-century program known as the Country Life Movement. Designed to reverse the decline in rural life in America, the movement was part of the larger Progressive movement. The driving force for the establishment of agricultural schools in the state was the Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union, a more moderate heir to the Populists and associated agrarian organizations of the late nineteenth century. Spurred on by the Farmers’ Union, the Arkansas legislature in 1909 passed Act 100 to establish a “State Agricultural School” in …

Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus

Arkansas Tech University–Ozark Campus is a two-year college in Ozark (Franklin County) that serves as a satellite location of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville (Pope County). The institution was established in 1965 as Arkansas Valley Vocational Technical School. Regional vocational and technical schools were established across the state in the 1960s to offer alternative educational programs to those offered by public universities. In 1975, the school became the first in the state to receive state accreditation from the Arkansas State Board of Education/Vocational Education. The name of the institution was changed in 1991 to Arkansas Valley Technical Institute in order to better separate the institute from secondary schools offering similar programs. On July 1, 2003, the institute merged with Arkansas Tech …

Bates School House

The Bates School House is located in the unincorporated community of Bates (Scott County). The schoolhouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 21, 2006. On May 1, 1915, James and Rosa Haywood donated 5.3 acres to the Bates and Gipson Special School District to build the schoolhouse. The building is estimated to have been constructed between 1916 and 1917 by the Bates community. The school initially provided educational instruction for students from first grade through high school. First- through sixth-grade classes were located on the first floor, while seventh- through twelfth-grade classes were located on the second. In the 1950s, Scott County began consolidating school districts, which in turn led to the closure of the …

Beauvoir College

In 1897, John Jefferson Lee Spence established the Drew Normal Institute in the town of Wilmar (Drew County). On May 27, 1903, the school was “chartered with the privilege of conferring degrees” by the Arkansas Board of Education. Subsequently, the college was renamed Beauvoir College, after the Mississippi estate where Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy, retired. The college was initially a success, but Spence, founder and the institution’s only president, was forced to close the college in 1907. Despite the brevity of its existence, Beauvoir College signaled a new trend in higher education, as the institution sought to meet the higher-educational needs of southeast Arkansas’s working-class and rural population. Educated at the University of Mississippi, Spence came …

Bentonville College

On March 15, 1894, what was described as a “mass meeting” of new subscribers to Bentonville College met in the county judge’s room of the Benton County Courthouse. The total number present was not recorded, but subscribers were private citizens. Lodges and civic clubs contributed to the college fund as well. Fifteen men formed the board of trustees. With a quorum present at the March 15 meeting, presiding officer James A. Rice presented articles of association, which were adopted. A corporation was formed under the name “The Bentonville College,” and the trustees were instructed to establish and maintain for a period of ninety-nine years a non-sectarian school for both sexes. The trustees were also charged with contracting for land, constructing …

Black River Technical College

Black River Technical College (BRTC) is a comprehensive, two-year accredited institution of higher learning serving college transfer and career and technical education (CTE) students in northeast Arkansas, southeast Missouri, and beyond. It offers both traditional and distance education options. The main campus is in Pocahontas (Randolph County), with a second campus in Paragould (Greene County). Lawrence and Clay counties are also in BRTC’s service area. Enrollment in credit classes as of the fall of 2014 was 1,962, with some students enrolling in college basics and others enrolling in one of the college’s seventeen different associate’s degree programs and twenty-nine certificate programs. Both campuses also serve a significant number through continuing education and business outreach, as well as GED/adult education programs. …

Booker T. Washington High School (Jonesboro)

Booker T. Washington High School (BTW) in Jonesboro (Craighead County), also known as Jonesboro Industrial High School (IHS), was the first high school for African Americans in northeastern Arkansas. After some setbacks, BTW ultimately became a source of pride in the black community, with students coming from across the region to attend the school. BTW closed in 1966 when Jonesboro’s public schools were completely desegregated. In the twenty-first century, the E. Boone Watson Community Center and African American Cultural Center stands on the former BTW site. After a severe snowstorm in December 1917 destroyed the city auditorium in Jonesboro, the Colored School Improvement Association (CSIA) of Jonesboro lobbied the Jonesboro School Board for the bricks from the dilapidated building to …

Boswell School

The Works Progress Administration (WPA), one of the many government programs designed to help combat the economic hard times of the Depression, constructed a new school building in Boswell (Izard County) in the mid-1930s. The original school had been established not long after the founding of the community in the early 1800s. The structure built by the WPA is a rectangular, single-story, fieldstone masonry classroom building with a central porch on the western end with a large projecting gable roof. Entrance is made through double-hung doors on the west side with two nine-over-nine pane windows and two stationary six-pane windows on each side. Two large bay windows cover much of the eastern side. The southern side has two large windows …

Buckner College

Buckner College in Witcherville (Sebastian County), chartered in 1879, began operations in the fall of 1882 as one of Arkansas’s earliest Baptist educational institutions. It was named for Henry Frieland Buckner (1818–1882), Baptist missionary to the Creek Nation, in hopes of attracting students from Indian Territory. The college’s founder, the Reverend Ebenezer L. Compere, was a longtime western Arkansas Baptist minister and missionary who, in 1876, together with a group of Witcherville citizens, began working to establish an educational institution in the area. In 1879, he obtained the reluctant support of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, which allowed him to “open a correspondence with such parties as he may think proper with a view of employing a President and Teachers …

Caddo Valley Academy

Caddo Valley Academy (CVA) was founded in Womble (Montgomery County) in 1921. Though the private school was open for a relatively short amount of time, it had a lasting impact on the residents of Womble, which was later known as Norman. Through a blended curriculum of standard academics and biblical teachings, CVA provided a strong educational foundation for its students. Dr. John Tilman Barr Jr. established CVA. Barr was born in 1886 and devoted much of his life to working with children. Though he was frequently ill, Barr originally aspired to be a lawyer and politician. However, he came to believe that God had instructed him to become a minister and so devoted his life to the Presbyterian Church. Barr’s …

Cane Hill College

Cane Hill College was chartered in 1850 as Cane Hill Collegiate Institute (CHCI) and was one of the earliest institutions of higher education in the state. Though burned by Union forces during the Civil War, the college was rebuilt and, in 1875, became a coeducational institution with the merger of a nearby Methodist female seminary. Though it closed its doors in 1891, the college had a large impact upon the area, and the surviving college building in Cane Hill (Washington County) was used as a public school until the 1950s and has served various community functions since that time. The Cane Hill Congregation of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was founded in 1828. Church members opened Cane Hill School in 1835. …

Catholic High School for Boys (CHS)

aka: Little Rock Catholic High School for Boys
Catholic High School for Boys (CHS) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) has educated boys for three quarters of a century. Previous to the school’s inception, Subiaco Academy, a boarding school at Subiaco Abbey in Logan County, was the only secondary education option for Catholic boys, while Catholic girls have been attending Mount St. Mary Academy, operated by the Sisters of Mercy, since the 1850s. CHS was the diocese’s first inter-parochial high school, meaning that the school was to serve every parish in the Little Rock area, ensuring that Catholic boys could receive a quality, Catholic secondary education. CHS remains different from the other Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Little Rock, which encompasses the entirety of the state, given …

Cedar Grove School No. 81

Located five miles north of Pocahontas (Randolph County) in the Brockett community is the Cedar Grove School No. 81. The school opened after a redistricting of Randolph County school districts in 1890 and offered classes through the eighth grade. The original school building served the local community until it was destroyed by a tornado on March 30, 1938. The building that replaced it held classes until the school district consolidated with the Pocahontas School District in 1949. After consolidation, the building served for a time as a meeting place for the Brockett Home Extension Club and as a community building. Cedar Grove School No. 81 is a Greek Revival–style building with the original well house and outhouse. The well house …

Central Baptist College

Central Baptist College in Conway (Faulkner County) is the only institution of higher education in the state affiliated with the Baptist Missionary Association of Arkansas. It complements the mission of sister schools in Texas (Jacksonville College), Mississippi (Southeastern Baptist College), as well as the disbanded Midwestern Baptist College in Oklahoma. Central Baptist College opened in 1952 in Conway under the name of Central College for Christian Workers, as the educational ministry of the North American Baptist Association (NABA), which was later renamed the Baptist Missionary Association of Arkansas (BMAA). The college began as an extension of Jacksonville College in Texas, holding classes in the Temple Baptist Church facilities in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Soon, however, the denomination purchased for the …

Christ Church Parochial and Industrial School

Christ Church Parochial and Industrial School was a private school for African-American children operated in Forrest City (St. Francis County) by the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas from 1923 until 1968. It was closely related to Christ Church Mission, an African-American congregation founded in 1921. The mission and school were founded by the Right Reverend Edward T. Demby, the African-American suffragan (assistant) bishop for “Colored Work” in the Diocese of Arkansas and in the southwestern province of the national Episcopal Church. Bishop Demby sought to build a thriving African-American ministry in eastern Arkansas and also saw the need for quality education in academic and vocational skills for the black children of Forrest City and the surrounding county. He requested and received …

Clarke’s Academy

Clarke’s Academy was a private school that operated between 1867 and 1905 in Berryville (Carroll County). The school earned a reputation for the quality of its work, the accomplishments of many of its alumni, and the integrity and dedication of its founder, Isaac A. Clarke. Isaac Asbury Clarke was born on March 22, 1837, in Overton County, Tennessee. In 1844, after the death of his father in 1841, his mother moved to Carroll County, Arkansas. Clarke attended Berryville Academy and then Cane Hill College in Washington County. After teaching school for a time, he entered the University of Missouri. Following a visit home in 1861, he was advised that it was dangerous for him to go north again. He enlisted …

Cold Water School

The Cold Water School, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located in the former village of McPhearson (Baxter County) and was one of the earliest schools in Baxter County. The first building was constructed in the late 1880s, as population growth had necessitated a school. The second building, which still stands in the twenty-first century, was built between 1920 and 1926. This one-room schoolhouse was used as a school, church, and community center. The Cold Water School is the oldest and only surviving structure in McPhearson and is located twenty-five miles south of Mountain Home (Baxter County). As early as 1829, the Arkansas Territorial Legislature passed laws concerning public schools. The first laws allowed the …

College of the Ouachitas

College of the Ouachitas in Malvern (Hot Spring County) is a comprehensive two-year college in south-central Arkansas. In addition, the college, oversees the Ouachita Area Career Center (OACC), post-secondary programs in cosmetology and nursing, the Ouachita Area Adult Education Center (OAAEC), and the Workforce Center. College of the Ouachitas is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The college began as a vocational school. In 1969, the State Board of Education established Ouachita Vocational Technical School (OVTS) to offer occupational and technical training for Clark, Dallas, Grant, Hot Spring, and Saline counties, and the school opened in January 1972 with 292 students. The school also began providing General …

Colored Industrial Institute

The Colored Industrial Institute in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) was one of the first Catholic-supported schools for African-American children in Arkansas. The school was established by Father John Michael Lucey, a white Confederate veteran, who was considered progressive for speaking out against lynching and protesting efforts to pass separate coach legislation. Planning for the school began in May 1889. Lucey approached leading citizens of Jefferson County to fill the school’s board of directors. This integrated board included wealthy black Pine Bluff citizens, including Ferdinand (Ferd) Havis and Wiley Jones. Jones was also one of three members of the school’s executive committee and served as secretary. The other two executive committee members were Pine Bluff mayor J. W. Bocage and Reverend …

Commonwealth College

Arkansas’s most famous attempt at radical labor education was the accidental by-product of natural beauty, cheap land, and desperation. Commonwealth College was established in 1923 at Newllano Cooperative Colony near Leesville, Louisiana. Its founders were Kate Richards O’Hare, her husband Frank, and William E. Zeuch, all socialists and lifelong adherents of the principles established by Eugene V. Debs. Drawing on their mutual experience at Ruskin College in Florida, where they had been impressed with the possibility of higher education combined with cooperative community, the O’Hares and Zeuch decided to create a college specifically aimed at the leadership of what they designated as a new social class, the industrial worker. As an established cooperative community, Newllano appeared to be the ideal …

Consolidated White River Academy

The Consolidated White River Academy arose in the late 1800s when several African-American church groups in the Brinkley (Monroe County) area wanted to create an academy offering African-American students the opportunity for a full high school education, rather than the mere tenth-grade education available to them in the area. The goal was to provide a top-notch Christian education in a boarding school environment following a modified version of Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute. The educational opportunities and convenient residential facilities attracted students from across the state and nation for over fifty years. The district academy project originated during the late nineteenth century with black Baptist churches in the Brinkley area. These churches worked to establish a high school, the original name of …

Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas (CCCUA)

Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas (CCCUA) offers technical certifications and associate’s degrees, collaborating with other colleges and universities to offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees on its campuses at De Queen (Sevier County), Nashville (Howard County), and Ashdown (Little River County). It also offers four associate’s degree programs completely online. In the 1970s, many Arkansas counties benefited from legislation of the Arkansas General Assembly allowing the establishment of two-year colleges, then called junior colleges. CCCUA was established in 1975 as Cossatot Vocational-Technical School, with a service area that included Sevier and Little River counties and shared Howard and Pike counties with what are now the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope (UACCH) and Rich Mountain Community College …

Cotton Plant Academy

Cotton Plant Academy, located in Cotton Plant (Woodruff County), was a co-educational boarding school operated by the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen. This board, part of the “Northern” Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), was responsible for founding schools for African Americans across the South after the Civil War. The first Presbyterian schools for freed slaves in the South opened in the 1860s, but the board did not open schools in Arkansas until the 1880s, when a new presbytery had been established in the state and numbers of African Americans from the eastern states were resettling there. The Cotton Plant Academy started out in the old Jerry Clark home during the 1880s. Later, it was located in a small church near the …

Crescent College and Conservatory

The Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women operated out of the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs (Carroll County). It was opened on September 23, 1908, to provide extra income needed to keep the hotel running year round. The small college operated from September through June, with the summer months being devoted to hotel operations. The college remained open until 1924, when it was forced to close due to lack of funding. A junior college reopened in its place in 1930 and remained open until 1934. Founded by the Eureka Springs Investment Company, specifically A. S. Maddox and J. H. Phillips, Crescent College was established as an exclusive boarding school for young women. Its primary function was to generate revenue …

Crowley’s Ridge College (CRC)

Crowley’s Ridge College (CRC) in Paragould (Greene County) is a co-educational liberal arts college providing a balanced course of study. Until it became a four-year institution in 2008, it was the only two-year college in the nation affiliated with the Churches of Christ. Crowley’s Ridge College opened its doors on July 6, 1964, as a Christian junior college. CRC’s founder, Dr. Emmett Floyd Smith Jr., had a strong desire to bring college-level Christian education to northeast Arkansas. Eleven years earlier, in 1953, Smith had established a Christian secondary school, Crowley’s Ridge Academy, and found that there was support for other Christian endeavors such as the Children’s Homes of Paragould and Crowley’s Ridge College. Governor Orval Faubus helped turn the first …

Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute

The Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute (CRTI) was a technical college in Forrest City (St. Francis County) that provided skilled workers for local industries. It operated from 1967 to 2017, when it was merged with the nearby East Arkansas Community College (EACC). In 1966, the CRTI building on Newcastle Road was approved for construction by the State Board of Vocational Education; the building site was donated by the Forrest City Chamber of Commerce. Before it was completed, however, CRTI operated one welding class started by the Manpower Development and Training Act program with approval from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, which provided $90,860 to finance the thirty-two-week program, covering both student costs and the salary for two instructors. This …

Draughon School of Business (Little Rock)

aka: Draughon Business College (Little Rock)
Draughon’s Practical Business College opened in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on February 5, 1900. During its more than ninety years of operation, it offered a variety of courses ranging from typing and shorthand to courses in servicing television and radio equipment. The first Draughon School of Business was founded by John F. Draughon in eastern Tennessee in 1879. At the age of sixteen, Draughon would transport books and materials by cart from town to town, offering classes in basic business skills. His first non-mobile instruction was offered in Nashville, Tennessee, a few years later. By the time he died in 1921, thirty-eight such schools had been established in southern and western states from Georgia to Texas, including schools in Savannah, …

Dwight Mission

Dwight Mission near Russellville (Pope County) was the first formal Protestant effort directed at the education and conversion of Native Americans in Arkansas and was one of the first Protestant missions established west of the Mississippi. The mission was established in 1820 and operated in Arkansas until 1829. The mission had been requested by Western Cherokee Principal Chief Tahlonteskee in 1818, when he visited Brainerd Mission in Georgia, sponsored by the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions (ABCFM), a Presbyterian organization. The Western Cherokee was a diverse group whose previous generation had migrated into Arkansas while fleeing troubles in the Cherokee homeland at the southern end of the Appalachians, and some of the members thought it useful for their …

East Arkansas Community College

East Arkansas Community College (EACC) is a comprehensive two-year college dedicated to meeting the educational needs of its service area in eastern Arkansas. The college has served as a leader for social and economic improvement and continued growth in the region. Citizens of St. Francis County created a college committee in 1968 out of a desire and need for a community college. At the time, there was no access to higher education in the area, with the exception of Memphis, Tennessee, and Jonesboro (Craighead County). Students who were unable to relocate had no other options. In June 1969, the committee—named the Crowley’s Ridge Community College Corporation—received approval for its initial charter. In 1971, Betty Jo Hodges donated $25,000 to the …

Ecclesia College

Ecclesia College describes itself as a Christian “work learning” college located in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties). Founded in 1975 by Oren Paris II as a training center for young missionaries, Ecclesia was accredited as a four-year college in 2005, with a strong emphasis in Christian faith and character, work ethic, mentoring, and service. In 2017, the college became embroiled in a scandal regarding the redirection of General Improvement Fund (GIF) money by state legislators to the small college. Ecclesia College is a branch of the “Ecclesia Network.” Ecclesia, the parent organization, was incorporated in 1976 and has participated in Christian service worldwide through ministries such as Youth With a Mission (a one-year training program), Twila Paris Productions, Bibles for the …

El Dorado Junior College

El Dorado Junior College was a public junior college open from 1928 to 1942 in El Dorado (Union County). Operating on the campus of El Dorado High School, it was established as a preparatory school by the El Dorado School District for students hoping to enter universities. The high school and El Dorado Junior College often shared equipment, instructors, laboratories, the gymnasium, and other facilities, but the two institutions remained separate in many respects. In particular, the high school mostly used the newer auditorium building for lectures, while the college mostly used the adjacent classroom building. This red brick, three-story classroom building had actually been constructed in 1905 as the high school for El Dorado. Because of its use as …