Official State Symbols

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Arkansas Centennial Commemorative Half Dollars

The United States Mint issued two silver half dollars commemorating the 1936 centennial of Arkansas’s statehood. These coins are currency of the United States authorized by acts of Congress on May 14, 1934, and June 26, 1936. The first coin was issued beginning in 1935 and features the profiles of an Indian chief of 1836 and a young woman of the 1930s, the archetype of Lady Liberty. The second coin, released after the first, features a profile of Senator Joseph T. Robinson. Both coins feature an eagle and an Arkansas flag motif. More than 100,000 coins (including both designs) were minted. On July 27, 1934, Charles Moore, who was serving on the United States Commission of Fine Arts, in a …

Arkansas Creed

The germ of the Arkansas Creed was contained in House Concurrent Resolution 2 of 1969, introduced by state representative Roscoe Brown of Jonesboro (Craighead County). The resolution was approved, and the state historian, Dr. John Ferguson, was officially appointed head of the Creed Commission on March 3, 1970. The committee first met on June 10 of that year. It included Ferguson, Maurice Dunn of Hot Springs (Garland County), Dr. Claude Babin of Monticello (Drew County), Education Commissioner Arch Ford, as well as Representative Brown himself. In December, the committee issued rules for a creed-writing contest. They solicited entries of 250 words, editable to eighty words or less. The deadline for submissions was initially February 1 but was later reset to …

Arkansas State Quarter

The Arkansas state quarter was the twenty-fifth of fifty state quarters to be issued by the U.S. Mint under its 50 State Quarters® Program. The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the program in 1997 in order to honor each of the fifty states. Five commemorative state quarters were issued each year for a period of ten years in chronological order according to when each state was admitted to the Union. The Arkansas state quarter, designed by Dortha Scott of Mount Ida (Montgomery County), was issued in October 2003. The design features a diamond flanked by depictions of rice and a mallard duck with a background of trees and a body of water. The release of the Arkansas quarter was …

Arkansas Tartan

Arkansas tartans, symbolic of the state, are unique cloth patterns using the traditional Scottish plaid. The colors signify the state, its settlers, and its resources. Originating in the Scottish highlands, tartans represent clans or communities. Traditionally, men in Scotland wear plaid wool kilts. Military regiments also wear kilts, and tartans are used in nontraditional decorations. The earliest known tartan was made circa AD 300 and was apparently woven by combining dark and light un-dyed wool. Material could be dyed using berries, roots, bark, or even lichen. The organic materials varied by locality, so colors could represent a specific area. After the rebellion of the Jacobite clans in 1745, the British Parliament banned the wearing of tartans in Scotland. The ban, …

Arkansas Waltz

In 1917, the Arkansas General Assembly designated “Arkansas,” a patriotic anthem composed by Eva Ware Barnett, as the state’s first official song. It remained as such until the late 1940s, when a copyright dispute led to the state’s adoption of “The Arkansas Traveler” as the state’s musical symbol. In 1963, the dispute was settled amicably, and “Arkansas” resumed its former place as the state song—a title it would hold until the late 1980s. “Arkansas” was not, however, without its challengers during this second tenure. One challenger managed to garner a degree of legislative recognition: in 1971, the Arkansas State Senate voted to designate “Arkansas Waltz” by Bill Urfer of Heber Springs (Cleburne County) and Cletus “Slim” Jones of Benton (Saline …