Entries - Entry Category: Education

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 …

Bates, Daisy Lee Gatson

Daisy Lee Gatson Bates was a mentor to the Little Rock Nine, the African-American students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock in 1957. She and the Little Rock Nine gained national and international recognition for their courage and persistence during the desegregation of Central High when Governor Orval Faubus ordered members of the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the entry of black students. She and her husband, Lucious Christopher (L. C.) Bates, published the Arkansas State Press, a newspaper dealing primarily with civil rights and other issues in the black community. The identity of Daisy Gatson’s birth parents has not been conclusively established. Before the age of seven, she was taken in as a foster child by Susie …

Beals, Melba Pattillo

Melba Pattillo Beals made history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine African-American students involved in the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The world watched as they braved constant intimidation and threats from those who opposed desegregation of the formerly all-white high school. She later recounted this harrowing year in her book titled Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Desegregate Little Rock’s Central High School. Melba Pattillo was born on December 7, 1941, in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Beals grew up surrounded by family members who knew the importance of an education. Her mother, Lois Marie Pattillo, PhD, was one of the first black graduates of the University of …

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 …

Bell, Clarence Elmo

Clarence Elmo Bell was a prominent public school educator as well as a longtime, influential member of the Arkansas Senate. He announced his retirement just prior to the state’s adoption of constitutionally mandated term limits. Clarence Bell was born on February 1, 1912, in Camden (Ouachita County). The son of Joseph Dudley Bell and Dona Massengale Bell, he grew up in Camden and graduated from Camden High School, where he was a star athlete. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from what is now Ouachita Baptist University (OBU), where he continued to shine athletically. Graduating in 1934, he spent the following year working as assistant coach and Dean of Men at OBU. In 1935, Bell left Ouachita to …

Bennett, Henry Garland

Henry Garland Bennett was an Arkansas-born educator who played a transformative role in the development of the state of Oklahoma’s system of higher education. In addition, in his final years, he was appointed to help direct the U.S. State Department’s Point Four Program. He served from 1950 until his sudden death in a plane crash in December 1951. Henry G. Bennett was born on December 14, 1886, in Nevada County. The son of the Reverend Thomas Jefferson Bennett and Mary Elizabeth Bright Bennett, he had three sisters. The family moved from Arkansas to Texas before Bennett’s first birthday but settled in Arkadelphia (Clark County) before he started school. It was there that he grew up and received his early education. …

Benson, George Stuart

George Stuart Benson was the second president of Harding College (now Harding University) in Searcy (White County), but he is most remembered as a crusader against communism. He founded the National Education Program (NEP) at Harding to advocate for American values and the free enterprise system. George Benson, son of Stuart Felix Benson and Erma Rogers Benson, was born on his parents’ small Oklahoma farm in Dewey County on September 26, 1898. He attended several elementary and secondary schools in the area and then attended classes at Oklahoma A&M until transferring to Harper College in Harper, Kansas. In 1924, Harper College merged with Arkansas Christian College in Morrilton (Conway County) to form Harding College, a private school associated with the …

Bentley, Edwin

Edwin Bentley was one of the eight founders of the Arkansas Industrial University Medical Department, now the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Edwin Bentley was born to George W. and Anne Williams Bentley on July 3, 1824, in New London, Connecticut. Bentley’s early education was in the local schools and under private tutors. He received, for the time, a quite thorough medical training at the New York City Medical College, the Twenty-third Street Medical College, the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, and the medical department of the University of the City of New York, from which he received his doctor of medicine degree in 1849. Bentley then established a thriving general practice in Norwich, …

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 …

Billingsley, Edward Baxter

Rear Admiral Edward Baxter Billingsley was a decorated naval officer and veteran of World War II who went on to a second career as a professional historian and expert in the history of the U.S. Navy’s role in South American affairs. Edward Baxter Billingsley was born on June 18, 1910, in Melbourne (Izard County). He was the younger of the two children of Edmund Billingsley and Hattie Baxter Billingsley and a great-grandson of former Arkansas governor Elisha Baxter. His father spent most of his life as a merchant in Melbourne, though he maintained a store in Batesville (Independence County) for a time as well. Edward Billingsley was educated in the schools of both towns, graduating from Melbourne High School in …

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. …

Blair, Diane Frances Divers Kincaid

Diane Frances Divers Kincaid Blair was a nationally respected educator, writer, speaker, political scientist, and public servant who authored two influential books, served as board chair of the Arkansas Educational Television Commission, chair of the U.S. Corporation for Public Broadcasting, member of the Electoral College, and professor of political science at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Diane Divers was born on October 25, 1938, in Washington DC to William Keeveny Divers and Minna Rosenbaum Divers, both attorneys; she had one older sister. Divers, selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa as a college student, graduated cum laude from Cornell University’s Department of Government in 1959. Returning to Washington after college, she served as analyst for the …

Blossom, Virgil Tracy

Virgil Tracy Blossom was a professional educator who served as superintendent of Little Rock (Pulaski County) public schools during the Little Rock Central High School desegregation crisis that began in 1957. Although he was generally a progressive and effective school administrator, his leadership during the crisis proved to be ineffectual, and historians remain harsh in their assessments of his actions. Virgil T. Blossom was born on October 31, 1906, in Brookfield, Missouri, the son of George N. Blossom and Fannie M. Blossom; he had one sister. His father ran a construction business and served as the local tax collector. His mother was apparently a homemaker. Tall and broad-shouldered with a booming voice, Blossom attended public schools, excelling in athletics. He was …

Bonslagel, Constance Josephine (Connie)

Constance Josephine (Connie) Bonslagel served as state home demonstration agent from 1917 until her death in 1950, except for an eighteen-month period during the 1930s in which she served as assistant director of the Rehabilitation Division of the Federal Resettlement Administration (FRA). She pioneered the women’s part of that program, setting up home economics programs in most of the states. Connie J. Bonslagel was born in Deasonville, Mississippi, on August 14, 1885, the daughter of A. W. Bonslagel and Betty Beall Bonslagel. She had one sister and one brother. Bonslagel, who never married, graduated from Mississippi State College for Women and pursued postgraduate work at Peabody College, Tulane University, and Columbia University Teachers College. Beginning in 1915, Bonslagel served as an …

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 …

Booker, Joseph Albert

Joseph Albert Booker—noted editor, educator, and community leader—was for four decades a prominent leader in Arkansas racial relations and a pioneer in African-American education in the state. Joseph Booker was born into slavery on December 26, 1859, in Old Portland, east of modern Portland (Ashley County). He was the son of Albert and Mary (Punchardt) Booker, who were slaves on the large Bayou Bartholomew plantation of John P. Fisher. Booker’s mother died shortly after his birth. According to one source, when Booker was three, his father, a man with “some knowledge of books,” died when his slave master whipped him to death. His father’s crime was urging his fellow slaves to revolt by “teaching them to read.” At the end …

Bosmyer, Peggy Sue

When the Reverend Dr. Peggy Bosmyer was ordained in January 1977 at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Little Rock (Pulaski County) by the Right Reverend Christoph Keller Jr., bishop of the Diocese of Arkansas, she was the first woman in the South to be regularly ordained under a new canon as a priest in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA). Peggy Sue Bosmyer was born on July 26, 1948, in Helena (Phillips County), the daughter of Thomas Bosmyer, who was an insurance adjustor, and Margaret Markland Bosmyer, an elementary school teacher. Her older sister, Judy, had been born in 1944. Bosmyer graduated from Central High School in Helena in 1966. In 1970, she received a BA in …

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 …

Brewer, Vivion Mercer Lenon

Vivion Mercer Lenon Brewer is best known for helping to found the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC) in 1958 during the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County). She helped arrange the WEC’s initial meeting and served as the organization’s first chairperson until September 1960. Vivion Lenon was born on October 6, 1900, in Little Rock to Warren E. and Clara (Mercer) Lenon. She graduated from Little Rock High School (now Central High) in 1917 and attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she majored in sociology and graduated in 1921. In 1926, she enrolled in the Arkansas Law School in Little Rock and worked in her father’s bank, People’s Savings Bank, in Little …

Breysacher, Augustus Louis

Augustus Louis Breysacher was one of the eight founders of the Arkansas Industrial University Medical Department, now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Augustus Breysacher was born in Canton, Ohio, on February 2, 1831, to German immigrants George Breysacher and Elizabeth Keller Breysacher. Breysacher had three sisters. The family moved from Ohio to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1832. Breysacher received his general education in St. Louis, with additional courses in literature and the classics at St. Xavier College in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from Missouri Medical College in St. Louis in 1859 and was certified as a chemist and pharmacist. Immediately after graduation, Breysacher received an appointment as acting assistant surgeon in the U.S. Army. He was assigned …

Brill, Howard Walter

Howard Walter Brill, a professor of law at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), earned a national reputation as an authority on legal ethics and served sixteen months, in 2015 and 2016, as chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. His 1986 book, Arkansas Professional and Judicial Ethics, and seven subsequent editions dictated the state’s regulation of the conduct of lawyers and judges for more than a generation. Howard Brill was born on October 18, 1943, in Englewood, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York City. His parents, Edwin Lois Brill Jr. and Catharine Linsmann Brill, were born in the Bronx and married there but moved across the river to New Jersey before Howard and …

Brown, Floyd B.

Floyd B. Brown founded the Fargo Agricultural School in Monroe County in 1919 to provide the equivalent of elementary and secondary vocational education for African-American students. The school was for both day and residential students and was modeled after the Tuskegee Institute, which Brown attended, where students learned practical skills intended to help them achieve success and economic security. Floyd Brown was born on April 27, 1891, in Stampley, Mississippi, the second of ten children and the son of black tenant farmers Charles and Janie Brown. As a youth, Brown worked with his father in the cotton fields of Mississippi and the cane fields of Louisiana. His mother, who had heard of the work of Booker T. Washington, encouraged him …

Brown, J. L.

aka: James Lafayette Brown
James Lafayette (J. L.) Brown, one of the most influential early leaders of the Landmark Baptist movement in Arkansas, was a minister, editor, poet, legislator, and published writer. J. L. Brown was born at Elm Store, a rural community on the Eleven Point River in northwestern Randolph County, on December 7, 1853. He was the youngest of the eight children of farmer Elijah Brown and his wife, Mozilla. The father died in 1859, and James and his family relocated to eastern Independence County after the Civil War. He later recalled that he “was raised in poverty and received the most rudimentary of educations.” Most of his class room education was obtained after he was an adult. He was ordained as …

Brown, John Elward

A prominent evangelist, publisher, radio pioneer, and educator in the first half of the twentieth century, John Elward Brown established John Brown University (JBU), one of the state’s leading private universities. He was also the leading figure in securing passage of a law prohibiting the sale of alcohol in Benton County, a ban that continued into the twenty-first century. John Brown was born on April 2, 1879, near Center Point, Iowa, the fifth of nine children born to Civil War veteran John Franklin Brown and his wife, Julia. The elder Brown, weakened by war injuries, could not perform arduous farm work, so the family subsisted on a meager soldier’s pension. At age eleven, Brown dropped out of school to work …

Brown, Walter Lee

A Texan who helped shape the discipline of Arkansas history, Walter Lee Brown oversaw the daily operations of the Arkansas Historical Association (AHA) for thirty-five years and edited its journal, the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, for almost as long. Walter L. Brown was born in Gatesville, Texas, in 1924, to Frank J. Brown and Alice Berry Brown. Brown served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He earned a BA in history at Texas A&M University (1949) and an MA (1950) and PhD (1955) from the University of Texas. His dissertation was only the first installment in a lifetime of work on the Arkansas politician and polymath Albert Pike. In 1954, Brown joined the history department at the University …

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 …

Buford School Building

The Buford School Building at 4439 Buford Road near Mountain Home (Baxter County) is a single-story two-room structure designed in the Craftsman style and constructed in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era public relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 1992. The town of Buford (Baxter County) reportedly had its origins in an 1870 wagon train in which a group of Mississippians who were headed for Texas instead diverted to Baxter County after hearing of a severe drought at their original destination. A post office was established at their settlement in 1879, and postmaster George Osborn named it Buford in honor of his son. The small town prospered, and …

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 …

Calico Rock Home Economics Building

The Calico Rock Home Economics Building, located on Second Street in Calico Rock (Izard County), was built in 1940–1941 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. Students in the White River town of Calico Rock were being served by a two-story school building erected in 1921 and a later gymnasium when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal created opportunities for an additional building. The school district turned to the NYA, which provided employment opportunities for young people, to build a home economics building on the school campus. Though the NYA approved the project around 1938, construction was delayed. The Calico …

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. …

Capital Citizens’ Council (CCC)

The Capital Citizens’ Council (CCC) was one of many similar organizations established throughout the South to resist implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s May 1954 decision that school segregation was contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment. Formed in 1956 from a Little Rock (Pulaski County) affiliate of the like-minded Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) group, White America Incorporated, to oppose School Superintendent Virgil Blossom’s plan for the gradual integration of Little Rock’s schools, the CCC was the most important segregationist organization during the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. The CCC combined traditional racist rhetoric about miscegenation and states’ rights diatribes with allegations of integrationist bias against working-class people. It claimed that there was an alliance between the National Association for …

Carnegie Libraries

Four libraries built in Arkansas between 1906 and 1915 using grants from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie carry the classification “Carnegie Libraries.” These four libraries were built in Eureka Springs (Carroll County), Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Little Rock (Pulaski County), and Morrilton (Conway County). Of these, two continue to operate as libraries (Eureka Springs and Morrilton), one has been dismantled (Little Rock), and one is being used for a new purpose (Fort Smith). It is not known how many Arkansas cities applied for grants from Andrew Carnegie, or how many requests were denied, although very few communities nationally were denied grants. One exception was Branch Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). Principal Isaac Fisher solicited library funds from …

Carter, Vertie Lee Glasgow

Vertie Lee Glasgow Carter is a renowned educator whose doctorate in education paved her way into previously unattainable arenas for an African-American woman of her time in Arkansas. Over her long career in education, she influenced generations of teachers and revolutionized the way Arkansas applied employment and merit systems. She is a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Vertie L. Glasgow was born on October 19, 1923, into the sharecropping family of Daisy James Glasgow, who was also a schoolteacher, and Thomas Glasgow in the Antioch community in Hempstead County. To buy books and pay tuition to Yerger High School in Hope (Hempstead County), she raised and sold pigs. After graduating from high school in 1942, she attended …

Case, Sarah Esther

Sarah Esther Case was the first woman from Arkansas to be called as a foreign missionary by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. She was also the first woman to hold a full-time connectional appointment in the church hierarchy, serving for fourteen years as secretary of the General Board of Missions. “Essie” Case was born January 28, 1868, in Izard County, the eldest of the thirteen children of Robert Ridgway Case, a merchant, and Ella Byers Case. Case inherited an interest in the work of the Methodist church from her grandmothers, Sarah Ridgway Case and Esther Wilson Byers. Both were leaders in the establishment of women’s work at First Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of Batesville (Independence County), and both were charter …

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 Arkansas Library System

The Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) is the largest library system in Arkansas. Created in 1975, the system includes fourteen libraries located in Pulaski and Perry counties. The first public library to open in central Arkansas was the Little Rock Public Library in 1910. Earlier efforts to create libraries in the city included the library of the Little Rock Debating Society in the 1830s and newspaper publisher William Woodruff’s circulating library in the 1840s. After the Civil War, the Mercantile Library opened in the city and was available to professional men. After a merger with the Marquand Library, created for use by employees of the St. Louis and Iron Mountain Railroad, the library was acquired by the Young Men’s Christian …

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 …

Central High School, Desegregation of

aka: Crisis at Central High
aka: Little Rock Desegregation Crisis
In its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in public education was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. As school districts across the South sought various ways to respond to the court’s ruling, Little Rock (Pulaski County) Central High School became a national and international symbol of resistance to desegregation. On May 22, 1954, the Little Rock School Board issued a statement saying that it would comply with the Court’s decision, once the court outlined the method and time frame for implementation. Meanwhile, the board directed Superintendent Virgil Blossom to formulate a plan for desegregation. In May 1955, the school board adopted the Phase Program …

Chamberlin, Henry Howard “Hank”

Henry Howard “Hank” Chamberlin is considered to be the father of forestry education in Arkansas. He began the forestry department at Arkansas Agricultural & Mechanical College (A&M)—now the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM)—in September 1945 with three students. From this humble beginning came the School of Forest Resources at UAM and the Arkansas Forest Resources Center of Excellence. The School of Forest Resources at UAM is the only forestry school in Arkansas. Hank Chamberlin was born on March 8, 1913, in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, to William Chamberlin and Ellen Reed Chamberlin; his father worked as a barber. He was the youngest of four children. After high school, Chamberlin attended Pennsylvania State University and received his BS in forestry. He received …

Charleston Schools, Desegregation of

Much has been written about the Little Rock School District desegregation in 1957. However, the Charleston Public School District quietly and successfully integrated first through twelfth grades, without any publicity until about three weeks after school had opened for the fall term in 1954. Charleston was the first school district in the former Confederate states to integrate all twelve grades, and because of this, Charleston School District has been named a National Commemorative Site by the U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service. Following the May 17, 1954, U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas that deemed state laws mandating public school segregation unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, …

Charter Schools

Charter schools are public schools that operate on a contract, or charter, which allows them increased operational autonomy in exchange for greater accountability for performance. Although charter schools do have greater freedom regarding some aspects of schooling—such as curriculum or scheduling decisions—state laws govern how charter schools are authorized, the possible length of a charter, how many charter schools may exist in a state, and who may teach in a charter school. In 2018, approximately 3.2 million students attended more than 7,000 charter schools nationwide. In Arkansas, approximately 28,200 students attended eighty-two charter schools. In Arkansas, these schools are granted provisional charters for up to five years, after which the Arkansas State Board of Education reviews their academic and fiscal …

Chautauqua

The Chautauqua movement, in the form of traveling “Circuit Chautauquas,” provided self-enrichment and cultural programs for Americans across the country in the early twentieth century. In an era before widespread electronic sources of news and entertainment such as radio, Chautauqua allowed people who lived beyond large cities to experience lectures on a variety of subjects, as well as theatrical offerings and music ranging from Metropolitan Opera stars to bell ringers. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt called Chautauqua “the most American thing in America.” Governor Charles Brough of Arkansas, himself a popular circuit lecturer, said, “Chautauqua is America’s summer school.” Xenaphon Overton Pindall, who served as acting governor of Arkansas from 1907 to 1909, was also a popular circuit speaker. The name …

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 …

Clark, Alida Clawson

Alida Clawson Clark, an Indiana Quaker who co-founded Southland College, arrived in Arkansas with her husband, Calvin, in April 1864 on a wartime mission to provide material and spiritual comfort to former slaves while war raged in the rest of the state. After supervising a temporary orphanage and school for black children in Union-occupied Helena (Phillips County), the Clarks moved their charges and school to a rural site near Helena, establishing what became Southland College (later Southland Institute), the first academy of higher education for African Americans west of the Mississippi River. She also founded Southland Monthly Meeting, the first predominantly black Friends Meeting for Worship in more than two centuries of Quaker history. Alida Clawson was born February 9, …

Clark, Calvin

Calvin Clark was a prominent Quaker leader and educator in post–Civil War Arkansas. With his wife, Alida Clark, he founded Southland College in Helena (Phillips County), the first institution of higher education for African Americans west of the Mississippi River. Calvin Clark was born in Wayne County, Indiana, on July 21, 1820, one of five children born to John Clark and Anna Price Clark. Clark received his early education in the local schools of Wayne and Morgan counties in Indiana. His mother died when he was about twelve; his father, who remarried, died when Clark was fifteen. Clark went to live with his uncle in Monrovia, and after getting additional formal schooling, at age eighteen, he began teaching in Richmond, …

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 …