Entries - Entry Category: Education - Starting with F

Far West Seminary

In the mid-1840s, the Far West Seminary, a planned collegiate-level educational institution in northwest Arkansas, failed due to political and religious factionalism, economic hard times, and a major fire. However, the effort proved to be a seedbed for other northwest Arkansas educational endeavors prior to the Civil War that helped Fayetteville (Washington County) earn the nickname “the Athens of Arkansas.” After the state failed to use its federal seminary grant to create a state university, northwest Arkansas educators and promoters in 1840 began discussing the need for a facility for higher education. On August 12, 1843, a group of interested citizens gathered at the Mount Comfort Meeting House, located three miles northwest of Fayetteville. This meeting resulted in the creation …

Fargo Agricultural School

Before the state of Arkansas made public funds available for segregated schools for black children, Floyd Brown, a graduate of Tuskegee Institute, founded and operated the Fargo Agricultural School (FAS) outside Brinkley (Monroe County). From 1920 to 1949, the private residential school offered “training for the head, hands and heart” and high school educations for hundreds of black youth at a time when the United States’ black population averaged five years or less of formal schooling. In early twentieth-century Arkansas, African-American children were seldom educated beyond the primary grades. In the 1920s and 1930s, most black Southerners were sharecroppers indebted to white landowners to whom they gave a share of their crops for rent. To supplement the family income, women …

Fayetteville Female Seminary

One of the most influential institutions in early Arkansas was the Fayetteville Female Seminary in Fayetteville (Washington County), which provided a quality education for girls throughout the region in a time when most women received little, if any, schooling. It also accepted both Cherokee and white students in an era when the “mixing of the races” was discouraged. Though it was only in existence from 1839 through 1862, the Fayetteville Female Seminary is often cited as one of the factors leading to the location of the state’s land-grant university, the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville. The Fayetteville Female Seminary was created by Sophia Sawyer of Rindge, New Hampshire. She went to Georgia 1823 as a missionary to the Cherokee through …

Fayetteville Schools, Desegregation of

Between 1954 and 1965, Fayetteville (Washington County) underwent the gradual integration of all primary and secondary schools. Though the Fayetteville School District (FSD) was quick to integrate at the high school and junior high levels, new state laws and concerns from the Fayetteville School Board slowed the speed of integration at the elementary level. In the first few weeks of its efforts, however, Fayetteville was presented in the media as the first city in the former Confederacy to desegregate its schools; Charleston (Franklin County) schools had done so earlier, but officials and residents there worked to keep it secret from the outside world for several weeks. Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education of …

Fishback School

Fishback School was established in 1885 as Washington County School District 68. At that time, the school was about two miles southeast of Springdale (Washington and Benton counties), in an area known for its fruit orchards. Two families, the Grahams and the Boyds, donated one-half acre each from their adjoining orchards as a location for the schoolhouse, a one-room wood-frame building. According to former Fishback student Truman Stamps, the school was named for William Meade Fishback, a prominent Fort Smith (Sebastian County) attorney and legislator who served as governor of Arkansas from 1893 to 1895. As was the case with most rural schools, grades one through eight were offered at Fishback. By 1915, enrollment at Fishback had grown to the …

Fisher, Isaac

Isaac Fisher was a prominent African-American educator in the early part of the twentieth century. A protégé of famed black educator and leader Booker T. Washington, Fisher served as president of Branch Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff—UAPB) in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) from 1902 to 1911. Isaac Fisher was born on January 18, 1877, on a plantation named Perry’s Place in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana. His parents were former slaves; little is known about them beyond the fact that they had sixteen children, the last of whom was Isaac. In 1882, the family was forced to live for six months in the plantation’s cotton gin following a levee break on the Mississippi River, an experience …

Flowers, Beulah Lee Sampson

Beulah Lee Sampson Flowers was an African-American educator, community leader, political activist, and businesswoman who was also a mentor to Maya Angelou. Beulah Sampson was born on January 10, 1883, in Hempstead County, Arkansas. Her parents, John Sampson Sr. and Frances Johnson Sampson, were ex-slaves and farmers who lived in the Ozan and Mine Creek townships of Hempstead County. According to the Sampson-Flowers oral tradition, Beulah was the youngest child of approximately twenty-three full and half siblings. Family members debate the exact number of her siblings. She received a public school education in Hempstead County and attended Bowen Seminary in Clow (Hempstead County). Sampson completed her education at Williams Industrial College, a vocational training school for African Americans, in Little …

Ford, Archibald Washington (Arch)

Archibald Washington Ford was commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education from 1953 until his retirement in 1978. He served under five governors: Francis Cherry, Orval Faubus, Winthrop Rockefeller, Dale Bumpers, and David Pryor. Under his leadership, the state undertook significant work to provide a quality education to all students regardless of their race, age, abilities, or location in the state. Arch Ford was born in Wooster (Faulkner County) on January 25, 1906, to Thomas Noah Ford (1872–1959) and Minnie Lee Clements Ford (1880–1954). He was the fourth of six children. His father was a farmer and a Baptist minister who served on the local school board as well as the Faulkner County Board of Education. His father helped lead …

Freedmen’s Schools

Freedmen’s schools in Arkansas were created as early as 1863 in areas occupied by Union forces to provide for the education of newly freed slaves during the Civil War and in the Reconstruction period that followed. These schools were first run by teachers from the American Missionary Association (AMA) and the Quakers—particularly the Indiana Yearly Meeting of Friends. Early schools existed in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Helena (Phillips County), all areas with large populations of freed slaves. The federal government soon became involved in providing education for the freed slaves, and in 1865 the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (known as the Freedmen’s Bureau) assumed responsibility for educating former slaves. AMA and Quaker …

Futrall, John Clinton

John Clinton Futrall was an influential figure in the world of Arkansas higher education. Serving as president of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) for more than two and a half decades in the early part of the twentieth century, he oversaw the transformation of the state’s higher-education system. John C. Futrall was born on March 9, 1873, in Jackson, Tennessee, to Thomas Andrew Futrall and Emma Headen Futrall. One of seven children, Futrall received his early education in the public schools of Marianna (Lee County), where his father had served as superintendent of schools. In 1888, he graduated from the Marianna Male and Female Institute and then attended the University of Arkansas for two years before …