Entries - Entry Category: Education - Starting with M

Madden, Ed

Ed Madden is a poet, activist, and educator who has written, co-written, and edited numerous books and anthologies. His poem “Sacrifice” was selected for the Best New Poets 2007 anthology. In 2015, he was named the first poet laureate of Columbia, South Carolina. Ed Madden was born on September 13, 1963. Originally from Newport (Jackson County), Madden grew up on a rice farm. His family was devoutly Christian. Madden studied English and French at Harding University in Searcy (White County) and graduated with a BA in 1985. He received a BS in biblical studies from the Institute for Christian Studies in Austin, Texas, in 1992; an MA from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin in 1989, and a PhD …

Maddox, Ode Lee

Ode Lee Maddox was a long-serving and influential member of the Arkansas General Assembly as well as a dedicated career educator. By combining his passion for education with his well-developed political skills, he played a central role in the development of the Arkansas public education system. Ode Lee Maddox was born on October 2, 1912 in Oden (Montgomery County). He was the youngest of four children of Hugh Maddox and Alice Edwards Maddox. He received his early education at Caney Elementary, an experience he believed so central to his future accomplishments that he often said that his most important educational experience had been at the “University of Caney.” He graduated from Oden High School in 1932. On October 6, 1934, …

Makemie College

Makemie College, a Presbyterian institution chartered by the Arkansas General Assembly on January 7, 1853, was named for the Reverend Francis Makemie, considered by many to be the father of American Presbyterianism. The “Act to Incorporate Makemic [sic] College” is remarkably vague. It notes that the institution will be under the control of the Synod of Arkansas and allows trustees Samuel J. Baird, Thomas W. Newton, Joshua F. Green, Edwin R. McGuire, D. C. Montgomery, and William L. McGuire to locate the college “at such point within this State as they may select,” and to “establish in it departments for instruction in the arts and sciences, and any of the learned professions.” The trustees, who had yet to hold their …

Massey, Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth Massey was a history professor noted for her early studies of women in the Civil War, years before women’s history courses became common in university history departments. Her books have continued to be important decades after their publication. Mary Elizabeth Massey (she used her full name throughout her life) was born on December 25, 1915, in Morrilton (Conway County) to Mary McClung Massey and Charles Leonidas Massey. After graduation from Morrilton High School, she attended Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County). For multiple years, Massey was president of her sorority (in an era when Hendrix had fraternities and sororities), and she served on the Interfraternity Council, the dormitory council, and the Student Senate, in addition to serving one-year …

Maynard Baptist Academy

aka: Abbott Institute
aka: Ouachita Baptist Academy
The Maynard Baptist Academy—first known as the Abbott Institute and then as the Ouachita Baptist Academy—was a boarding school founded in 1894 in Maynard (Randolph County). At the time, most schools typically had only one room and went only as far as the eighth grade. The Abbott Institute was founded in 1894 by the Abbott (or Abbot) family from the Maynard area. While they themselves lacked much education, they saw great value in educating the young people of the area and surrounding areas. Eli Abbott had been very successful in land speculation in the Fourche River and Current River bottomland while also farming. The institute drew students from a wide area of Arkansas and from other states. The school had …

McBrien, Dean Depew (D. D.)

Dean Depew (D. D.) McBrien was a college professor and academic administrator at Henderson State Teachers College (HSTC)—now Henderson State University (HSU)—in Arkadelphia (Clark County) for eighteen years. D. D. McBrien was born on November 14, 1892, in Tecumseh, Nebraska, to Jasper Leonidas McBrien and Eva Forbes McBrien. The oldest of five children, McBrien graduated from high school in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1909 and entered the University of Nebraska. McBrien first worked at the high school level, serving as principal of the high school in Phillips, Nebraska, in the 1912–13 school year. He graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1914 and obtained a position at Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC)—now the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner …

McCain, Paul Moffatt

Dr. Paul Moffatt McCain served as president of Arkansas College (which later became Lyon College) from 1952 to 1969, the second-longest consecutive presidential tenure in the institution’s history. Only the first president, Isaac J. Long, served longer. McCain led the college though a period of growth, with enrollment tripling, the budget increasing by more than 600 percent, the location moving a mile to the east, and new academic buildings and residence halls springing up. His most significant accomplishment, however, was gaining accreditation for the school from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, a step that gave Arkansas College greater credibility and opened the door to new funding resources. Paul McCain was born on January 25, 1920, in Atlanta, …

McGraw, Patricia Washington

Patricia Washington McGraw, a scholar, professor, and author, has made a significant impact throughout the country and the world as an educator and African-American cultural preservationist. Patricia Washington was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to William and Ruth Washington, natives of Danville (Yell County), on May 6, 1935. While she was growing up in a time of school segregation and Jim Crow laws, her parents instilled in her the value of education and the importance of embracing her African-American heritage. In 1953, she graduated from all-black Dunbar High School in Little Rock. McGraw graduated from San Francisco State College in California in 1957 and earned a master’s degree in American literature from the college in 1967. She was the …

McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education

The 1981–82 federal court case McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education constituted a challenge to the state’s Act 590, which mandated the equal treatment of creation science in classrooms where evolution was taught. On January 5, 1982, U.S. District Court Judge William R. Overton ruled Act 590 unconstitutional in light of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. His determination that creationism constituted a religious doctrine rather than a scientific theory had a profound impact on the nation, the ramifications of which are still being felt today. The draft of the model act which eventually became Act 590 originated in an Anderson, South Carolina, organization called Citizens for Fairness in Education. Its founder, Paul Ellwanger, working from a model prepared …

Mercer, Christopher Columbus, Jr.

Christopher Columbus Mercer Jr. was an advisor to Daisy Bates during the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. As field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), his legal background helped Bates understand and respond to the flood of litigation against the NAACP. Christopher Mercer was born Castor Mercer Jr. on March 27, 1924, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), to Castor C. and Tarvell Linda Mercer; his mother soon changed his name. His father worked as a mechanic for the St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt) Railroad. His mother owned a dry-cleaning business. He has one brother and one half-brother. Mercer received his AB in social services from Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal College …

Meriwether, John Thompson (Jack)

John Thompson (Jack) Meriwether was a city administrator whose later career in higher education channeled hundreds of millions of dollars to Arkansas colleges and universities. Meriwether was city manager—the city’s chief administrator—of Texarkana (Miller County) and then Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was an officer at a bank in his hometown of Paragould (Greene County) and was general manager of the Arkansas Gazette for several years. He also served as vice president for governmental relations for the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Jack Meriwether was born on November 23, 1933, to Ray Meriwether and Marie Thompson Meriwether in Paragould. His father and his uncle, Bill Meriwether, ran a hardware store started by his grandfather in 1883. Meriwether and his …

Millar, Alexander Copeland

Alexander Copeland Millar was a prominent Methodist minister, educator (elected one of the nation’s youngest college presidents), and publisher. Alexander Millar was born May 17, 1861, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, to William John Millar and Ellen Caven. His father engaged in the drug business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, until the great fire of April 10, 1845, destroyed at least one third of the city, including his drug business and his family’s home. Later, William Millar tried his hand at being an inventor. In 1867, he moved his family to Missouri, where he bought a farm near Brookfield in Linn County. In 1885, Alexander Millar graduated from the Methodist-affiliated Central College in Fayette, Missouri. Four years later, he earned an MA from Central …

Miller, Asbury Mansfield

Asbury Mansfield (A. M.) Miller was an African American who served for many years as an educator in Batesville (Independence County). A. M. Miller, the son of Randal and Pollie Miller, was born on February 4, 1893, in Perla (Hot Spring County). His father, a native of Mississippi, worked in a sawmill there. Miller graduated from Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and he later did graduate work at what is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). During World War I, he worked as a waiter at Fort Logan H. Roots in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). On May 25, 1921, he married Ethel O. Walter in Clark County. At around this time, he worked …

Miller, Eliza Ann Ross

Eliza Ann Ross Miller was an African-American businesswoman and educator, as well as the first woman to build and operate a movie theater in Arkansas. She was the wife of prosperous Helena (Phillips County) businessman, state legislator, and church leader Abraham Hugo Miller. After her husband’s death, she continued his business operations while also providing leadership in the Helena school system. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1999. Eliza Ross was born in Arkadelphia (Clark County) on September 6, 1869, to George and Sarah Ross. On June 15, 1887, she married Abraham H. Miller in Arkadelphia. The couple had eight children, five of whom survived into adulthood. Abraham Miller, who had been successful in real …

Missionary Baptist College

In the decade before the Great Depression, Missionary Baptist College opened its doors in Sheridan (Grant County). This small denominational educational institution brought the advantages of higher education to what was then a rural area, and though it operated only briefly, it exerted profound influence upon Missionary Baptist education in the state. The churches of the State Association of Missionary Baptist Churches of Arkansas, organized in 1902, have long maintained a commitment to Christian education, especially the training of student ministers. Three years after its founding, the association took over the operation of Buckner College at Witcherville (Sebastian County) in western Arkansas. However, its location far from the center of the Landmark Baptist movement in the state hindered its support, …

Missionary Baptist Seminary

The Missionary Baptist Seminary and Institute serves as the oldest educational institution among Missionary Baptists in the state of Arkansas. The school fulfills the role of training pastors in the Bible and the foundational principles of pastoral work. The Missionary Baptist Seminary and Institute was started on April 1, 1934, when Antioch Baptist Church, located at 22nd and Brown streets in Little Rock (Pulaski County), passed a motion during a regular business meeting to start the school. The Great Depression led to the closing of the Missionary Baptist College of Sheridan (Grant County), and the new seminary was started in response. Conceived by pastor Benjamin Marcus Bogard and two other men, J. Louis Guthrie of Oklahoma and Conrad Nathan Glover, …

Mississippi County Community College Solar Power Experiment

In 1976, the Department of Energy and the Solar Energy Research Institute were allotted funds for a Total Energy Solar Photovoltaic Conversion System that would be the largest of its kind in the world. The location chosen for the project was Mississippi County Community College (MCCC), now Arkansas Northeastern College (ANC), in Blytheville (Mississippi County). The project design included the installation of solar panels, as well as additional funding for the college facility. The main purpose of the project was to build an energy-efficient structure and harness solar power from the panels in order to coordinate, monitor, and manage energy production. With the United States facing an energy crisis in the mid-1970s, President Jimmy Carter created a comprehensive energy plan …

Monticello Academy

Monticello Academy in Drew County was under the sponsorship of the Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA), or the “Northern” Presbyterian Church, which first began opening schools for freed slaves in the South in the 1860s. However, it was not 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, that the board felt confident enough to begin its work in Arkansas. The academy was started in 1891 by the Reverend C. S. Mebane, who had come to Monticello (Drew County) in 1888 as the pastor of Second Presbyterian Church there. He was closely aided in his work …

Moore, Bessie Grace Boehm

Bessie Boehm Moore was an educator and civic leader. She was widely known for her efforts in the promotion of libraries. Later in life, her focus was on economic education in the public schools and the creation of what is now the Ozark Folk Center State Park. She was inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2018. Bessie Grace Boehm was born on August 2, 1902, in Owensboro, Kentucky, to Edgar Boehm, a farmer, and Bessie Calloway Boehm, a homemaker. Her mother died a few hours after her birth. Boehm was taken to her aunt in Daviess County, Kentucky, where she lived until her father remarried when she was nine. Boehm learned to read at an early age …

Moorefield School

The Moorefield School in Moorefield (Independence County) was constructed around 1939 by the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 1992. Located four miles east of Batesville (Independence County), Moorefield had a school system separate from that of its larger neighbor, and in early 1939, the district received funding from the NYA for construction of a new school building. The project started in the spring of 1939 and apparently continued into 1940, as the 1938–39 NYA annual report for Arkansas listed it as an active project. The completed building is a rectangular, single-story structure that includes features of the Craftsman style of architecture. The building …

Morrilton Male and Female College

In the spring of 1889, the residents of Morrilton (Conway County) put together a fund of $15,000 to build a college in the area. While a site was being selected, there arose the possibility of Hendrix College in Altus (Franklin County) moving to Morrilton, and the original plan to found a new college was abandoned. However, Morrilton failed to acquire Hendrix. Therefore, a stock company with a capital of $25,000 was organized with the intent to carry out the initial plan of building a college. A committee selected a site in the eastern part of Morrilton for the venture. A two-and-a-half-story stone building with arcaded windows and a ninety-one-foot tower was completed in March 1890. Morrilton Male and Female College …

Morrilton School District No. 32 et al. v. United States of America

Morrilton School District No. 32 et al. v. United States of America was a school desegregation case that began in 1972. However, aspects of the lengthy litigation were still being contested into the mid-1980s. The case began in December 1972 when the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against the State of Arkansas, the Arkansas Department of Education, the members of the state Board of Education, and the school districts of Conway County, as well as the local school board members and superintendents. The federal government charged that, in the process of consolidating the county’s school districts in response to a federal desegregation order, the school officials had in fact purposely created segregated school districts and, in doing so, had …

Mothers’ League of Central High School

Inferior in numbers and public standing only to its sponsor, the Capital Citizens’ Council (CCC), the Mothers’ League of Central High School was the second most important segregationist organization during the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. Established in August 1957 by Merrill Taylor, a Little Rock (Pulaski County) salesman, and other members of the CCC to give their opposition to School Superintendent Virgil Blossom’s plan for the gradual integration of Little Rock schools a less strident, more “feminine” edge, the league was an inflammatory influence for two years but was never as combative and potent as its patron. The league combined traditional segregationist enthusiasm for the racial status quo, states’ rights, and anti-miscegenation initiatives with womanly concern for …

Mount Pleasant Academy

The Mount Pleasant Academy was established in 1878 at Barren Fork (now Mount Pleasant) in Izard County. The two-story frame structure was situated on a hilltop overlooking the little community of about 100 people. Built with donated funds, materials, and labor, it operated under a board of directors. The area was settled during the 1850s, mostly by pioneer farmers from Tennessee and Kentucky with Scots-Irish ancestry. They established a church before building the village of Barren Fork, which was named for a creek that flows nearby and joins Poke (or Polk) Bayou in Independence County. The academy was named for the hill where it was located. It always had close ties to the two local Cumberland Presbyterian churches because most …

Mount St. Mary Academy

Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock (Pulaski County), a Catholic school established in 1851, is Arkansas’s oldest educational institution still teaching today. The academy is the state’s only all-girl secondary school. Today, Mount St. Mary educates about 550 high school students. In late 1850, Bishop Andrew Byrne went to Ireland in search of an order of sisters to promote Catholic education in Arkansas. Upon contacting the Sisters of Mercy, Byrne was granted twelve members of the order. The women arrived in Little Rock on February 5, 1851, a date now known as “Founders Day.” The sisters lived in Byrne’s house on 2nd Street and then in a meeting house on Markham Street. Their “official” convent at 6th and Louisiana streets …

Mountain Crest Academy

Mountain Crest Academy was located seven miles south of Combs (Franklin County), just one mile from the Madison County line. The academy was one of a large number of schools founded by the Presbyterian Church to serve the “backward classes” of the rural mountain South. The church became interested in this home mission work around 1910 and established a large number of such schools, many of them in the Appalachian Mountains. By 1917, the Southern branch of the Presbyterian Church (the Presbyterian Church in the United States, or PCUS) was supporting forty-two such schools, which served more than 2,000 students. Some of the schools also emphasized local mountain crafts. Mountain Crest was apparently the brainchild of the Reverend John W. …

Mountain Home (Baptist) College

Mountain Home College (MHC)—known also as Mountain Home Baptist College—operated from 1892 to 1933 in Baxter County. Despite a troubled history, the school played an important role in education in the upper White River valley. As education became more important in the late nineteenth century, Baptists sought to improve not only the educational level of the clergy but also of the laity. In 1889, the White River Baptist Association resolved that since so many public schools were “under the influence of infidel and worldly sentiments,” there should be a Baptist college in their region. The Baptists also noted that the Methodists had established the Yellville Institute in Marion County. The school was located in Mountain Home (Baxter County), which subscribed …

Mountain Mission Schools

The term “mountain mission school” refers to a specific kind of private school or college of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most often focusing on secondary education for white children in the highland South, mountain mission schools were one of several kinds of mission schools that developed from the efforts of northern religious denominations to found schools for the children of former slaves during and after the Civil War. At least seven different denominations established and maintained mountain mission schools in Arkansas. They varied widely in academic, religious, and cultural emphasis and were differentiated from other denominational schools either by their conscious designation as “mountain mission” schools or by their motives and rhetoric suggesting cultural assumptions and goals …

Mulberry Home Economics Building

The Mulberry Home Economics Building, located on Church Avenue in Mulberry (Crawford County), was built between 1937 and 1939 with assistance from the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1992. Mulberry Campground housed one of the first schools in Crawford County in the late 1820s, and a formal school was established in the town of Mulberry in 1878, two years before the community incorporated. In 1931, Mulberry Public Schools consolidated with the Vine Prairie and Pleasant Hill school districts as part of a wave of 591 consolidations around the state, and a $45,000 brick school building was built shortly afterward. In 1937, the school …

Mullins, David Wiley

David Wiley Mullins was a prominent and influential educator in Arkansas in the middle of the twentieth century. As president of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) for almost fifteen years, he played an important role in the development of the state university system during a period of extensive expansion and growth. David W. Mullins was born on August 11, 1906, in Ash Flat (Sharp County). The son of Roscoe Mullins and Emma Matilda Roberts Mullins, he grew up in Ash Flat before entering UA in 1927. Majoring in math and history, he graduated cum laude in 1931. He became a high school teacher in the Williford Consolidated Schools in 1931 and served as superintendent of the …

Museum of American History

The Museum of American History, formerly known as The Museum/Cabot High, is the only student-founded and -operated museum of history in Arkansas. The award-winning museum, which is owned by the Cabot School District, was founded in 1985 on the campus of Cabot High School and was later moved to a building in downtown Cabot (Lonoke County). The idea for a museum operated by teachers and students originated in 1981 after high school teacher Mike Polston observed how historical artifacts sparked his students’ interest. He and fellow teacher David Howard formed a school history club with the stated goal of collecting, preserving, and displaying objects associated with the history of the United States. Exhibits were initially constructed in the school library; …

Museums

Arkansas’s many museums—most focusing on state and local history, science, and military history—are an important part of Arkansas’s culture, as they promote education and the preservation of valuable artifacts. The University of Arkansas Museum in Fayetteville (Washington County), which was founded in 1873, is most likely the first public museum in Arkansas. (The university maintains the collections of the museum, though there is no dedicated museum space as of 2013.) Another early museum is the Fort Smith Museum of History, originally called the Old Commissary Museum, which was founded in 1910 in a building built in 1838; the present-day museum is located in a different historic building, the Atkinson-Williams Building. The Museum of Natural History and Antiquities (which later became …