Parties and Interest Groups

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Entries - Entry Category: Parties and Interest Groups - Starting with C

Comer, Robbie Gill

Robbie Gill Comer was instrumental in the founding of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan (WKKK) and served as its Imperial Commander from 1924 to its demise in the late 1930s. Robbie Gill was born in Haynes (Lee County) on May 21, 1883, to Robert O. Gill and Cornelia L. Smith Gill. Her highest level of education was the eighth grade. After her father’s death, Gill and her mother moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County). By 1909, she was working as a stenographer in the law firm of James A. Comer. In the summer of 1921, recruiters for the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) arrived in Arkansas and organized the first chapter in Little Rock. James Comer became the Exalted …

Common Cause/Arkansas (CC/Arkansas)

Common Cause/Arkansas (CC/Arkansas) is a nonpartisan government watchdog group that has had a significant impact on the development of ethics and lobby disclosure legislation in the state, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. Common Cause was one of the first of what political scientists call “public interest” lobbies in the United States, founded in 1970 by Robert Gardner, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare during the Lyndon Johnson administration—although Gardner was a Republican. His idea was to set up a national grassroots organization that could utilize experienced lobbyists as well as volunteers to pressure the institutions of government to further open and “good government” and participatory democracy. The name “Common Cause” was selected, and to the surprise of many, …

Communist Party

The Arkansas Communist Party reached the peak of its influence between 1932 and 1940. Loosely affiliated at that time with the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA), the Arkansas branch became incrementally involved in programs of the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union (STFU) and Commonwealth College, two organizations striving for improved working and living conditions among the state’s tenant farmers and sharecroppers. During its most active years, the party also sponsored candidates for local, state, and national offices. The party formed between 1930 and 1932 from a remnant of members of Newllano Cooperative Colony who settled near Mena (Polk County). Arley Woodrow of Ink (Polk County) played a significant role in establishing the group. The party obtained and distributed communist …