Overview

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Women

From prehistoric times through the French and Spanish colonial eras, from the territorial period through statehood, secession, Reconstruction, and modernization, women have played major and defining roles in the development and history of Arkansas. Women of every race, ethnicity, religion, social class, and legal status have been instrumental in shaping the culture and social structure of Arkansas, even as they have been forced to struggle for equal rights, political and legal equality, economic and social independence—even the most basic human right of freedom. Prehistory The first women in Arkansas were likely the descendants of Asians who crossed the land bridge to North America between 18,000 and 10,000 BC. During the Paleoindian, Woodland, Archaic, and Mississippian periods, women farmed, hunted, and …

World War II through the Faubus Era, 1941 through 1967

Developments during World War II loosened Arkansas from its rural moorings as it moved toward full integration with the national economy and society. Beginning in the war years and through the 1950s, the state resumed an industrialization process that had been interrupted by the Great Depression. Arkansans migrated from the countryside to the cities and participated in the expanding consumer economy. Federal dollars subsidized infrastructure improvements. Although state political leaders welcomed the largesse from Washington, they resisted external pressures to acknowledge African-American rights. Encouraged by ground-breaking federal court decisions, a new generation of civil rights leaders mounted direct challenges to discriminatory practices. Governor Orval Faubus responded to changing conditions with an ambitious expansion of state services, while mollifying white residents …