Entry Category: Education

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 …

National Park College

National Park College (NPC), formerly National Park Community College (NPCC), is located in Mid-America Park just west of Hot Springs (Garland County). It offers associate degrees, technical certificates, continuing education, community services, workforce training, and adult basic education. NPC is the fourth-largest community college in Arkansas. National Park College resulted from Act 678 of the 2003 Arkansas General Assembly, which merged Garland County Community College (GCCC) and Quapaw Technical Institute (QTI). The act went into effect on July 1, 2003. GCCC had been established as a two-year college in 1973 to provide post-secondary higher education opportunities to the citizens of Garland County and the surrounding areas. QTI was first established as Quapaw Vocational Technical School, a branch campus of the Ouachita …

Negro Boys Industrial School Fire of 1959

aka: Wrightsville Fire of 1959
On March 5, 1959, twenty-one African-American boys burned to death inside a dormitory at an Arkansas reform school in Wrightsville (Pulaski County). The doors were locked from the outside. The fire mysteriously ignited around 4:00 a.m. on a cold, wet morning, following earlier thunderstorms in the same area of rural Pulaski County. The institution was one mile down a dirt road from the mostly black town of Wrightsville, then an unincorporated hamlet thirteen miles south of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Forty-eight children, ages thirteen to seventeen, managed to claw their way to safety by knocking out two of the window screens. Amidst the choking, blinding smoke and heat, four or five boys at a time tried to fight their way …

North Arkansas College (Northark)

North Arkansas College (Northark), a public two-year college created in 1974 and located in Harrison (Boone County), serves the citizens of Boone, Carroll, Marion, Searcy, Newton, and Madison counties. Originally known North Arkansas Community College, Northark was created to offer the first two years of most baccalaureate degree programs at an affordable price in response to community needs. It added technical certificates and degree majors with its merger in 1993 with Twin Lakes Vocational-Technical School, also located in Harrison, and is now a comprehensive community college. Northark has three campuses in Harrison. Under the leadership of founding president Dr. Bill Baker, Northark grew steadily. Dr. Jeffery R. Olson was selected on March 2, 2001, as the second president of Northark. …

North Little Rock Six

The North Little Rock Six were six African-American students who attempted to desegregate North Little Rock High School on September 9, 1957. Two years earlier, the North Little Rock School Board voted to begin integrating classes at the twelfth-grade level; however, after Arkansas governor Orval E. Faubus publicly stated opposition to the integration of Little Rock Central High School and summoned the Arkansas National Guard to the school on September 2, 1957, the directors of the North Little Rock School Board put a halt to their integration plan. Seven seniors from the all-black Scipio Jones High School initially registered to attend North Little Rock High for the 1957–58 school year, but only six students attempted to enroll. They were Richard …

Northern Ohio School

Until the mid-twentieth century, the majority of Arkansas children were taught in one-room schoolhouses, most of which were located in rural areas. Many of these schools have been destroyed, but several remain. The Northern Ohio School, a one-room schoolhouse for rural African-American students, is the only remaining one-room African-American schoolhouse in Parkin (Cross County). As a result of the expanding lumber industry, the population of Parkin grew in the first decade of the twentieth century; the town was incorporated in 1912. The primary employers were local sawmills, one of which was the Northern Ohio Cooperage and Lumber Company. It formed in 1906 as an amalgamation of smaller sawmills: the Parkin Cooperage Company and the Northern Ohio Company. The gathering of …

NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC)

NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) is a comprehensive public two-year college serving the citizens of Benton and Washington counties, as well as the surrounding region. Established in 1989, the college has grown rapidly to become the second-largest community college in the state. The college’s main campus is in Bentonville (Benton County), with educational centers located throughout the two-county area. The college offers four associate’s degrees (Associate of Arts, Associate of Arts in Teaching, Associate of Science, and Associate of Applied Science) and a wide variety of workforce training programs, technical certificates, and adult education classes. NWACC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. NWACC was created after a special election on August 15, 1989, in …

Nunn, Walter Harris

Walter H. Nunn was a respected teacher, scholar, and author whose books on Arkansas politics were well regarded and widely read. He was also one of the leading authorities on the Arkansas constitution and, in the 1970s, founded Rose Publishing Company, which was for a time the sole press devoted to Arkansas-related material. In addition, Nunn was a local organizer dedicated to the creation and maintenance of inclusive neighborhoods. Walter Harris Nunn was born in Monticello (Drew County) on February 17, 1942. His parents were Wallace Nunn, who worked as a cashier at a local cotton mill, and Ilene Wicker Nunn, a homemaker. He grew up in Crossett (Ashley County), where he attended the local schools. He earned a BA …

Oak Grove Rosenwald School

The Oak Grove Rosenwald School is located on Oak Grove Road in Oak Grove (Sevier County). The nearest landmark is New Zion Baptist Church, which is about 300 feet south of the Rosenwald School. The school was funded by the Rosenwald Fund in 1926. The school was primarily, if not exclusively, used for African-American students until its closure due to integration in the 1950s. This Rosenwald school has a floor plan created by Samuel Smith instead of a typical Rosenwald floor plan. The Oak Grove Rosenwald School was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 26, 2004. The Julius Rosenwald Fund was created in 1917. Rosenwald earned his wealth from an investment in the Sears, Roebuck, and …

Oak Grove School

The Oak Grove School, located off Highway 270 in Grant County’s Oak Grove community six miles east of Sheridan (Grant County), is a single-story, wood-frame, four-room structure designed in the Craftsman style of architecture and constructed in 1938–1939 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era public relief program. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 14, 1991. In 1938, the Oak Grove, Ellis, and Morris school districts in Grant County were consolidated to create School District No. 24, with the centrally located Oak Grove community selected as the site for the district’s school building. The new district applied to the WPA for funds to construct a new school, and the agency approved the project …

Okolona Male and Female Institute

aka: Okolona Academy
The Okolona Male and Female Institute was a school that operated for over seven decades in Okolona (Clark County) in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Originally known as the Okolona Academy, it was the first formal school to operate in the town. The first families to settle in the Okolona area arrived in the early 1830s. A post office was established in 1858, and the population slowly grew over the next several decades. The first permanent school to open in the community began operations in 1857. Constructed on the site of an early school housed in a log cabin, this school was the first in the area to meet regularly. It was housed in a two-story wood building and was …

Old Springdale High School

In the first decade of the twentieth century, Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) was enjoying great prosperity as a shipping and processing hub for the northwestern Arkansas fruit and vegetable industry. With the economic good times came population growth and the need for a new school building. School officials opted to demolish the town’s 1871 school and construct a new one on the same site (present-day corner of Highway 71B and Johnson Avenue). The land had been donated to Springdale School District 50 in 1901 by community leaders Millard and Ida Berry with the stipulation that the property always be used for school purposes. In the fall of 1909, Rogers (Benton County) architect Albert Oscar (A. O.) Clarke was hired …

Old Union School

Early residents of Randolph County settled in the Ozark Plateau area of the county. While many of these communities are gone, remnants of their existence can be seen. For the Birdell (Randolph County) community, the Old Union School survives as an example of the early history of this once thriving community. Located approximately two miles northwest of the community, the school is a prime example of what early education looked like in rural Arkansas. The early community of Birdell constructed a hewn-log school out of material readily available, which was a common building technique in early Arkansas. It is believed that the original school was built sometime prior to the Civil War. This school burned in 1910, and classes were …

Orphanages

Churches and various fraternal and charitable organizations were the first to take on the burden of providing orphans with care and a home in Arkansas. Many large and small orphanages operated around the state in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, providing homes for hundreds of children without families, as well as other services. Shifting practices in the latter half of the twentieth century resulted in the creation of a foster care system. This system was seen as preferable to long-term institutional housing, although several such institutions still exist in twenty-first-century Arkansas. Many orphanages have operated throughout Arkansas since its establishment as a state, and most began with funding from religious groups. One of the first well-known examples was the Arkansas …

Ouachita Baptist University (OBU)

Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) is an independent, residential institution in the liberal arts tradition associated with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Founded on April 8, 1886, it capped longstanding Arkansas Baptist interest in making higher learning more readily available to more people, in providing an educated ministry and educated lay leadership, in strengthening denominational loyalty, and in extending denominational influence. It gained university status in 1965 and has been rated by US News and World Report as the “No. 1 Baccalaureate College in the South” and included in its list of “Great Schools, Great Prices.” In 2013, it offered sixty-one degree options in eight schools within the university, and its mission statement proclaimed it “a Christ-centered learning community. Embracing the …