Entries - Entry Category: Print Journalism

Dhonau, Jerry Franklin

Jerry Franklin Dhonau, a longtime newspaper reporter and editor, contributed to the Arkansas Gazette’s winning of a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting and commentary on the historic desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1957. Later, he served as an editorial writer at the newspaper for twenty-seven years and was chief of the opinion section when the Gazette closed on October 18, 1991. Jerry Dhonau was born on September 20, 1934, in Little Rock to Charles Mitchell Dhonau and Lura Hill Dhonau. His father settled damage claims for the Cotton Belt Railroad. An older brother, Charles Mitchell Dhonau Jr., was killed in combat in World War II. While he was a student at Little Rock High …

Douthit, George Clinton

George Clinton Douthit was a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat newspaper continuously from 1945 until his departure in 1970 to join former governor Orval Faubus’s failed political comeback. He then founded the State News Bureau, an operation from which he sold news stories from and about the Arkansas State Capitol to small community newspapers around the state. When he died in 1985 after a long battle with cancer, a group of people, including Secretary of State W. J. “Bill” McCuen and widow Mary Lou Douthit, hung a photo inside the Capitol press room of Douthit; a small brass plaque identifies him as the “Dean of the Capitol press corps.” George Douthit was born to James David Douthit and Obelia Douthit …

Dumas, Ernest Clifton (Ernie)

Ernie Dumas was the dean of the Arkansas political press corps for most of the second half of the twentieth century. His days as a journalist extended back to high school, when he worked for the El Dorado Daily News, and he was later an associate editor and a reporter for the Arkansas Gazette and a columnist for the Arkansas Times.  Ernest Clifton Dumas was born on December 13, 1937, in El Dorado (Union County), the younger of two sons born to Joseph Clifton Dumas and Berta Canady Dumas. His mother was an educator who stopped teaching when she got married, but she taught Dumas to read before he started school and later taught his son as well. Dumas grew up in El Dorado and graduated from El Dorado High School in 1955.  At the start of his …

Dunaway, Louis Sharpe

Sharpe Dunaway may be the most famous traveling salesman in Arkansas history, a distinction only partly due to his sidelines—politics, writing, and state promotion. For nearly fifty years, Dunaway was a sales agent for newspapers, mainly the Arkansas Gazette, which earned him the sobriquet “Mr. Gazette.” He was a friend and supporter of many Arkansas politicians, notably Governor and U.S. Senator Jeff Davis and U.S. Senator Hattie Caraway. Dunaway wrote two books, one about the life and speeches of Jeff Davis, and the other a collection of observations about Arkansas and its people titled, What a Preacher Saw Through a Key-Hole in Arkansas. The short book, published in 1925, would become an important contribution to Arkansas history for a chapter …

Duncan, Virginia Maud Dunlap

Virginia Maud Dunlap Duncan was the second woman in Arkansas to secure a registration as a pharmacist. As a young businesswoman and editor of a newspaper, she ran for mayor of Winslow (Washington County) with an all-woman slate for city council. This “petticoat government” was elected to two consecutive terms and gained national attention during its time in office. Maud Dunlap was born on October 22, 1873, in Fayetteville (Washington County) to Dudley Clinton and Catherine Hewitt Dunlap. Her mother died when Dunlap was an infant. She and her brother, Rufus, went to live with her uncle Albert Dunlap and his wife, Virginia, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County). Other foster parents raised Dunlap’s sister and other two brothers. Dunlap’s foster …

Duvall, Leland Blaine

Leland Blaine Duvall was a writer and editor who wrote columns, editorials, and historical articles for the Arkansas Gazette for forty years after World War II. Self-educated and reared on a hardscrabble Ozark Mountain farm, Duvall was an itinerant farm laborer until World War II. His voluminous correspondence from training camps and the war front with family members, friends, and his future wife impelled him to college and a writing career. His commentary on agriculture and economics for the Arkansas Gazette attracted a wide following and won numerous awards. Leland Duvall was born on June 19, 1911, the eldest of four sons of Omer Duvall and Esther Singleton Duvall. His father was a sharecropper, but he acquired forty acres in …

Eagle, The [Newspaper]

The Eagle was an anti–Ku Klux Klan (KKK) newspaper published from November 21, 1923, through 1929, one of three weeklies published in Marshall (Searcy County). With four pages and six columns, the newspaper was published on Fridays for $1 a year paid in advance. The words carried on its masthead proclaimed its opposition to the Klan, whose activity was increasing during this time: “The Idea of An Invisible Empire In a Free Republic Is Nothing Less Than Visible Nonsense.” Besides anti-Klan articles, news, and editorials, the Eagle was active in supporting anti-Klan candidates in both the Democratic and Republican parties. While anti-Klan candidates showed considerable success in the party primaries, the Klan candidates ran as Independents in the general elections …

Farkleberry

Farkleberry is a common name for the shrub species Vaccinium arboreum of the family Ericaceae and is sometimes called the sparkleberry. This bushy evergreen is native to the southeastern United States and ranges from the East Coast to west Texas. It bears small, black berries that are appealing to birds but not to humans. The shrub, which can grow to be about twenty-five feet tall, is not generally considered desirable or valuable, but its bark has been used to tan leather and its wood to make tool handles. In Arkansas, however, the farkleberry has been long associated with Arkansas governor Orval Eugene Faubus due to cartoons drawn by George Edward Fisher. The shrub is nearly unknown today, but its funny-sounding …

Fisher, George Edward

George Edward Fisher was a political cartoonist whose work influenced and helped define Arkansas politics for a generation. He created a series of visual metaphors and themes that were widely associated with the politicians he caricatured and became a part of Arkansas political folklore. Fisher focused primarily on political, social, and environmental issues. George Fisher was born on April 8, 1923, near Searcy (White County) to Charles W. Fisher, a tree nursery owner, and Gladys Fisher. His mother died when he was five, and his father alone raised Fisher’s two brothers, sister, and him. Fisher grew up in Beebe (White County), where he attended school and started the Beebe Grammar School News. Fisher’s father was an avid reader and encouraged …

Fulbright, Roberta Waugh

Roberta Waugh Fulbright took charge of the inherited, fragmented business holdings originally assembled by her husband and molded them into a multi-enterprise family firm. She emerged as an influential newspaper publisher, columnist, bank president, successful business owner, and civic crusader in Fayetteville (Washington County). Roberta Waugh was born on February 14, 1874, in Rothville, Missouri, to James Waugh, a farmer, and Pattie Stratton, a homemaker. She had three brothers and a sister who died in infancy in 1881. Waugh grew up in north central Missouri, attended the lower grades of public school in Rothville, graduated from high school in Kansas City, and attended the University of Missouri for two years to qualify for a teacher’s certificate. She taught in Chariton …

Funk, Erwin Charles

As the editor of the Rogers Democrat, Erwin Charles Funk introduced modern equipment and up-to-date business practices to that newspaper. As an active participant in state and national editorial associations, Funk spread awareness of the benefits of such innovations to other small-town newspapermen. Then, through his writings, he documented the changes in the newspaper business during his more than three decades as an editor. Funk also was a force behind many progressive civic improvements in Rogers (Benton County) through both his editorial voice and his volunteer work. Erwin Funk was born on January 5, 1877, in Deep River, Iowa, to Emanuel and Addie Funk; his parents also had three daughters. He grew up in western Iowa and graduated from Carroll …

Gardner, Virginia

Virginia Gardner was a journalist and left-wing activist. At one time a member of the Communist Party, she was also the author of a well-received biography of Louise Bryant, the wife of Russian Revolution chronicler John Reed. Although born in Oklahoma, Gardner spent most of her youth in Arkansas. Virginia Gardner was born on June 27, 1904, in Sallisaw, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). She was the youngest of three daughters born to Gertrude Boltswood Gardner and John Gardner, who was a banker. The family moved to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) when she was two. That same year, her father contracted tuberculosis. He was taken to Colorado for treatment, and he sometimes returned there in the summers. Gardner’s mother died when …

Gent v. Arkansas

Gent v. Arkansas was a U.S. Supreme Court case in which an Arkansas law designed to eliminate the distribution of obscene material was challenged. Though it did not touch directly upon the limits of the state’s ability to control obscenity, it did reinforce legal opinion that standards for obscenity must be those applied by the U.S. Supreme Court rather than local standards. In 1961, the Arkansas legislature passed Act 261, which, among other things, purported to eliminate obscene material, which was defined by the current community standards applied by the average person. The legislature based the wording of Act 261 on a model act drafted by the Council for Periodical Distributors Associations (CPDA) designed to give public prosecutors the authority …

Graham, William Karr (Bill)

William Karr (Bill) Graham is best known as the longtime editorial cartoonist for the Arkansas Gazette. He also published a book of cartoons and had his work exhibited in the United States and abroad. Bill Graham was born on December 14, 1920, in Coshocton, Ohio, the only child of Lorenzo Karr Graham and Zola Jean McGinnis Graham. He received a BS in social science from Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1942, studying history and economics. He had no formal artistic training but was influenced by reading the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Columbus Dispatch, the Philadelphia Record, and the Sunday edition of the New York Times. He liked the cartoons in the Record and the reprints of editorial cartoons from …

Grapevine

The Grapevine, published from 1970 to 1993, was a weekly newspaper based in Fayetteville (Washington County). It began as an off-campus University of Arkansas (UA) student publication and evolved into an alternative news source for the broader northwestern Arkansas community, with a focus on Fayetteville arts and culture, student life, and progressive politics. The paper officially began as a weekly published off campus by the Arkansas Student Free Press Association, beginning on March 18, 1970, although longtime Grapevine editor Peter Tooker suggested that it may have had its origins the previous year as an underground campus paper focused on Greek life and concerns at UA. The paper’s founder and editor in 1970 was Richard (Cid) Sutoris Jr.; while a student …

Gray, Joseph Ray (Joe)

Joseph Ray Gray (commonly known as Joe or J. R. Gray) was a painter, illustrator, sculptor, and graphic designer who grew up in Dardanelle (Yell County). His lasting influence on the art of the Arkansas River Valley grew from his passion for the environment, which defined not only his seventy-five-year fine arts career but also the development of his distinctive and varied artistic styles. Gray designed and illustrated publications and advertising campaigns, as well as creating—to the delight of friends, family, and numerous fans—outspoken political cartoons. Born in Booneville (Logan County) on September 25, 1917, Joe Gray was the son of Armour Gray, who was a meat cutter and, later, a grocery store owner, and Cena Rea McCorkle Gray. Around …

Greenberg, Paul

Journalist Paul Greenberg of Little Rock (Pulaski County) was a nationally recognized syndicated columnist and author whose writing appeared in newspapers across the country. He was the longtime editor of the Pine Bluff Commercial’s editorial page and later served as editorial page editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Greenberg won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing and was later a Pulitzer finalist and Pulitzer jurist. Paul Greenberg was born on January 21, 1937, in Shreveport, Louisiana. His parents were Sarah Ackerman Greenberg and Ben Greenberg, owners of a second-hand shoe store and a series of small businesses on Texas Avenue in Shreveport. He had an older sister, Lillian, and an older brother, Irving. Living with his family above the family …

Grice, Geleve

Capturing some of the most powerful aspects of African-American life from the mundane to the sublime, Geleve Grice established himself as Arkansas’s most prolific photographer for more than six decades. From his studio in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), Grice produced thousands of photographs over the years for a variety of special occasions, including weddings, funerals, and school graduations. Although some of his more high profile photographs were featured in national publications, the heart of Grice’s work highlighted the common people and events of southeast Arkansas. Geleve Grice was born on January 16, 1922, in Tamo (Jefferson County), a small farming town located fifteen miles from Pine Bluff. At the age of thirteen, Grice moved with his parents, Toy and Lillie, …

Gross, Tabbs

Tabbs Gross was a former slave who, as a lawyer and newspaper publisher, played an active role in Arkansas politics during Reconstruction. A political gadfly, he worked hard to secure greater influence within the Republican Party for the newly freed and enfranchised African-American population. Tabbs Gross was born a slave in Kentucky in 1820. Purchasing his freedom prior to the Civil War, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he aided slaves using the Underground Railroad, both there and in New England. He also served in Cincinnati’s Black Brigade during the war. After the war, Gross continued his efforts on behalf of the former slaves, serving as the head of a local “Committee to Get Homes for Refugees.” He soon decided …

Hanger, Frances Marion Harrow

Frances Marion Harrow Hanger was a clubwoman, civic volunteer, and writer who was central to the cultural and public life in Little Rock (Pulaski County) from the 1870s until the middle of the twentieth century. Frances Marion Harrow was born on March 13, 1856, in Ottumwa, Iowa, to Francis M. Harrow and Harriet F. Humphreys Harrow. After she was orphaned at eight years old, she and her brother were raised by a collection of relatives, and both were afforded a fine formal education for the times. Harrow attended the women’s program at Iowa State University, the first coeducational university in the nation’s new land grant system. In 1877, she married Frederick Hanger, a prominent member of Little Rock’s farming and …

Heiskell, John Netherland

aka: J. N. Heiskell
John Netherland (J. N.) Heiskell served as editor of the Arkansas Gazette for more than seventy years. During his tenure, he headed the newspaper during two world wars, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, and thousands of other events. He was an active civic affairs activist and used his influence to guide the state through decades of change. J. N. Heiskell was born on November 2, 1872, in Rogersville, Tennessee, to Carrick White Heiskell and Eliza Ayre Netherland Heiskell. He was the elder of two sons. Heiskell’s father—a former Confederate officer, lawyer, and later a judge—moved the family to Memphis shortly after the Civil War. Heiskell, whom his family and friends called …

Henry, Orville Monroe, Jr.

Orville Monroe Henry Jr., the best-known newspaper sportswriter in Arkansas history, worked for the state’s two largest newspapers, the Arkansas Gazette and the Arkansas Democrat (later the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette). Although he covered other sports, he is most identified with writing about Arkansas Razorbacks football at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Orville Henry was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on February 19, 1925. His father, Orville Monroe Henry Sr., was a traveling salesman who later became a farmer; his mother, Frances, raised eight children and took care of a very active home. When Henry was in the ninth grade at Pulaski Heights Junior High, he decided he wanted to be a newspaperman and worked on the …

Hot Springs Medical Journal

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Hot Springs (Garland County) was proud home to the Hot Springs Medical Journal, first published in January 1892. Although medical journals were published in nearby locations including Little Rock (Pulaski County), Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri, the founders of the publication felt that the natural hot springs for which the city was named provided a great resource for many patients. They stated in the first volume: “The city of Hot Springs, Arkansas is…the greatest sanitarium on earth, and in a few years is inevitably destined to become the most universally frequented health resort in the world.” At that time, Hot Springs was already quite a tourist area. The resident population was …

Hot Springs Village Voice

The Hot Springs Village Voice, founded in 1990, is a weekly newspaper in Hot Springs Village (Garland and Saline counties). The publication’s major emphasis is producing feature stories and covering local news, community events, feature stories, newsworthy area residents, recreational activities, and sports, along with locally oriented business reports, political coverage, display advertisements, and classified advertisements. Having an estimated circulation of 4,500, it is published once a week, with subscribers receiving their copy via the U.S. Postal Service each Tuesday. Jennifer Allen bought the newspaper from the Gannett Company in 2021. Hot Springs Village is the largest gated community in the United States. By the 2020 census, its population was 15,861, reflecting a growth from 12,807 in 2010. In the …

Hughes, David Terry

David Terry Hughes Sr. was a longtime journalist, photographer, and newspaperman from Benton (Saline County). Hughes’s newspaper career began with freelance photography for the Benton Courier at age fourteen. In addition to newspapers in Arkansas, Hughes worked for papers in Texas, Virginia, Florida, Illinois, Saipan, and Guam. He was the grandson of noted Arkansas poet and columnist Anna Nash Yarbrough. David Terry Hughes was born on February 8, 1948, in the Panama Canal Zone to Frank Hughes and Jessie Shaver Hughes. His father served in the U.S. Army; when he was stationed in Panama in 1949, he was killed while crossing the street when Hughes was only a year old. Hughes’s mother remarried but soon separated. His three half brothers …

Hussman, Walter E., Jr.

Walter E. Hussman Jr., who is best known in Arkansas as the publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a third-generation newspaperman whose family acquired a chain of newspapers stretching from Tennessee to Missouri. As publisher of the Arkansas Democrat, Hussman went head to head with the larger Arkansas Gazette and won the so-called Little Rock (Pulaski County) newspaper war in October 1991. He purchased the assets of the Gazette from the Gannett Corp. and began publishing the Democrat-Gazette. Walter Edward Hussman Jr. was born in Texarkana (Miller County) on January 5, 1947, to Walter E. Hussman Sr. and Betty Palmer Hussman and raised in Camden (Ouachita County) with his two older sisters. His parents moved to Camden in 1949 when …

Jobe, John R.

John Russell Jobe worked as a newspaperman and then for state government, serving as Arkansas state auditor from 1909 to 1913. John Russell (John R. or J. R.) Jobe was born on August 24, 1855, in Ringgold, Georgia, to David Jobe and Sarah J. Harden (or Hardin) Jobe. He had seven sisters, as well as a brother, Benjamin F. (B. F.) Jobe, who also later worked in media and government. The family moved to Arkansas in early 1858 and settled near Searcy (White County), though Jobe had at least one cousin living in Marion County. The family seems to have had strong ties to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church: two of Jobe’s sisters married Cumberland Presbyterian ministers, and his brother married …

Johnson, John Harold

John Harold Johnson rose above abject poverty and racial discrimination to build a publishing empire that helped forever change the perception of African Americans in the United States. Johnson Publishing Company became the largest African-American-owned and -operated publishing company in the world and launched Ebony and Jet, two very successful magazines that gave a voice to millions of black Americans. Born Johnny Johnson on January 19, 1918, in Arkansas City (Desha County) to Leroy Johnson and Gertrude Jenkins Johnson, a cook in a Mississippi River levee camp, Johnson was a third-generation descendent of slaves. After the death of Johnson’s father in a sawmill accident when Johnson was eight years old, his mother married James Williams, who helped raise him. During a …

Jones, Oscar Eve (O. E.)

Oscar Eve (O. E.) Jones Sr. was a successful Batesville (Independence County) newspaper publisher and a state senator representing Independence and Jackson counties. O. E. Jones Sr. was born in Newport (Jackson County) on June 20, 1905, to Dr. Oscar Eve Jones and Frances “Fannie” Redman Jones of Newport. He had one brother, Lacy R. Jones. O. E. Jones was educated in the public schools of Newport and received a degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). His mother died when he was in his teens, and his father died about two years later. Jones went to live with his maternal uncle and aunt, Harry Brandenburg and Minnie Redman Brandenburg of Newport. On January …

Kearney, Janis

Janis Kearney was the publisher of the historic Arkansas State Press and later served as presidential diarist to U.S. president Bill Clinton from 1995 to 2001, the first such appointment in presidential history. After leaving Washington DC, she wrote several books and founded a publishing company. Janis Faye Kearney was born on September 29, 1953, in the small rural town of Gould (Lincoln County). She was the fourteenth of nineteen children born to sharecropper Thomas James Kearney and homemaker Ethel Curry Kearney, who also worked in the fields. By the time she was nine years old, Kearney was helping to care for her younger brothers and sisters as well as cooking for the large family. She spent evenings learning to …

Kennedy, Jon

Jon Kennedy served as a political cartoonist for the Arkansas Democrat from 1941 to 1943 and again from 1946 to 1988, totaling nearly fifty years, one of the longest employments with a single newspaper in the nation. Kennedy was Arkansas’s first full-time professional newspaper artist, and his cartoons highlighted Arkansas and world topics, won numerous awards, and were featured in national newspapers including the New York Times. Jon Kennedy was born on August 19, 1918, in Springfield, Missouri, to Brownlow Kennedy, who was a telegraph operator for the railroad, and Ida Kennedy, who was a homemaker. At age seventeen, and while still in high school, he began working as an artist for the Springfield Leader Press, where he was employed …

King, Bertha Hale

aka: Bertha Hale White
Bertha Hale King was a socialist activist in the first part of the twentieth century. Although born in Illinois, she received most of her early education in Arkansas before leaving the state to serve as a high-ranking official in the national Socialist Party. Bertha Hale was born in Nashville, Illinois, in 1878. Her father was a farmer, but little else is known about her parents. She attended primary school in Golden City, Missouri, just over the state line from Illinois. The family then moved to Arkansas. Following graduation from high school in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), she attended Buckner College, a small Baptist school just a few miles north of Huntington (Sebastian County). In preparation for a teaching career, she …

Lancaster, Bob

Bob Lancaster worked at several publications as a writer and editor for nearly fifty years. His iconoclastic journalism and imaginative, idiomatic style produced an avid readership wherever he went, and his deep research and waggish writing popularized Arkansas history for a generation of readers. Lancaster wrote for the Pine Bluff Commercial, the Arkansas Gazette, the Arkansas Democrat, the Arkansan, the original Arkansas Times magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the weekly Arkansas Times newspaper. At the end of his four-year sojourn as a daily columnist in Philadelphia, he declined job offers from the New York Times and the St. Petersburg Times of Florida to return to Arkansas. Lancaster published a book of collected writings on Arkansas history, a novel based upon the …

Lemke, Walter John

Walter John Lemke established the department of journalism at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1928 and served as the head of the department until his retirement in 1959. The university named the department the Walter J. Lemke Department of Journalism in his honor in 1988. In addition, he founded several historical and journalistic organizations. Walter Lemke was born on January 6, 1891, in Wausau, Wisconsin, to Carl Lemke and Ulrika Block Lemke. Lemke attended the University of Wisconsin and the University of Indiana. He received his AB degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, which is near Cleveland, in 1911. The college later awarded him an honorary doctor of letters degree in 1962. He earned …

Lewis, Henry Jackson

Henry Jackson Lewis, who was born into slavery, has been called the first black political cartoonist. His drawings appeared in publications across the nation. H. J. Lewis was born in Water Valley, Mississippi, in 1837 or 1838. As a child, he fell into a fire, maiming his left hand and blinding his left eye. Nothing further is known about his youth, but by 1872, he was living in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), where he worked as a laborer in the mid- to late 1870s. By 1879, he was selling drawings of city and Arkansas River scenes to the national publication Harper’s Weekly, and he later sold similar drawings to Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. On October 25, 1882, a Pine Bluff …

Liberator, The

The Liberator was an anti-Catholic weekly newspaper published in Magnolia (Columbia County) from 1912 to 1915. It is representative of a type of journalism that railed against Catholicism in the early 1900s and was particularly strong in the South and the Midwest. Populist politician Tom Watson of Georgia had launched a new wave of anti-Catholic journalism in 1910 with his Watson’s Jeffersonian Magazine, but the largest anti-Catholic paper was The Menace, published in Aurora, in the Missouri Ozarks, approximately forty miles north of the Arkansas line. Founded in 1911, The Menace had 1.5 million subscriptions by 1915, making it one of the most widely circulated publications in the country. The Liberator was a smaller regional paper, similar to other anti-Catholic …

Little Rock Free Press

aka: Arkansas Free Press
The Little Rock Free Press was an alternative newspaper based in Little Rock (Pulaski County). It began publication on April 20, 1993, and twelve years later, the Freep, as it was commonly called, became the Arkansas Free Press. The Little Rock Free Press covered everything from daily news to controversial topics such as prostitution, homosexuality, night life, drug culture, and Little Rock’s independent music scene. Often incurring the wrath of religious groups and politicians, the Freep was said by its editor to be “provocative Arkansas history with a twist.” In 1993, Little Rock’s previous alternative newspaper, Spectrum Weekly, ceased publication. It had been printed in Russellville (Pope County) but faced opposition from the printer and others after it began running …

Log Cabin Democrat

The city of Conway (Faulkner County) was incorporated in 1875 and became the county seat and a well-known center of education in central Arkansas. It is home to Hendrix College and surrounding historic district, the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), and Central Baptist College. Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Conway’s population skyrocketed, making it the eighth most populous city in Arkansas at the time of the 2020 federal census. One of its most enduring institutions is its newspaper, the Log Cabin Democrat. The newspaper has existed throughout the history of the city and continues to be printed in the twenty-first century, making it the longest-running publication in Conway. After the Arkansas General Assembly created Faulkner County in 1873, Abel …

Lynch, Joseph Patrick (Pat)

Joseph Patrick (Pat) Lynch of Little Rock (Pulaski County) was a longtime Arkansas radio personality, newspaper columnist, and advocate of civil liberties. His popular talk show in the 1980s and 1990s on Little Rock radio station KARN attracted guests including major politicians and other public figures who discussed both local and national issues. Lynch was a member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), representing Arkansas on the ACLU’s national board of directors from 1989 to 1995. Pat Lynch was born in Mobile, Alabama, on August 5, 1950. His parents were homemaker Dorothy Rodwell Lynch and Joseph Richard Lynch, who worked for the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad. He grew up in Mobile, where he attended McGill High School, a …

Lynching Reports, Tropes Common to

While the details of Arkansas’s many lynchings (mostly of African Americans) differ widely, some common themes or tropes were used in the newspaper reports related to them. The most common of these were: 1) language employed to dehumanize the victims of lynching; 2) descriptions of the mob as quiet and orderly; 3) statements to the effect that the local African-American community approved of these acts of vigilantism; 4) reports of victims confessing to their crimes prior to being lynched; and 5) statements that perhaps exaggerate the efforts of law enforcement to prevent such violence. The propensity to demonize or dehumanize lynching victims was especially prominent if these people were accused of attacking a white woman or girl. In 1892, the …

Lyons, Eugene Aloysius (Gene)

Eugene Aloysius (Gene) Lyons is an award-winning author, columnist, and political commentator who lives in Arkansas and wrote a nationally syndicated column for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, among other publications. He is author of several books and co-author of The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton (2000), which was made into a documentary film in 2004. Gene Lyons was born on September 20, 1943, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to Eugene Aloysius Lyons Jr., an insurance clerk, and Helen Sheedy Lyons, a typist. For a time, Lyons’s father also ran a Dairy Queen. Lyons attended Chatham High School in New Jersey and graduated from Rutgers University, also in New Jersey, in 1965 with a degree …

Magie, Futha Cone

Futha Cone Magie helped pioneer community journalism in Arkansas during a period when most newspapers were family owned. He also furthered the interest of tourism in the state through his service on the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Commission. Cone Magie was born on October 12, 1924, in England (Lonoke County) to Albert Hugh Magie and Rose Beauchamp Magie. His father was an army barber in World War I, and both his parents operated a grocery store on Main Street in England as well as farmed. He was the third of five sons. Magie’s newspaper career began at age eight as a carrier for the Arkansas Gazette. He also milked cows and delivered bread to earn money. Magie was editor of …

Mathis, Deborah Myers

Deborah Mathis is an acclaimed journalist and author who has been a reporter and columnist for newspapers and a television reporter and anchor. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2003. Deborah Myers was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on August 24, 1953. Her father, Lloyd H. Myers, was a businessman and Baptist minister, while her mother, Rachel A. Helms Myers, was an educator. She has several brothers and sisters. Myers attended Gibbs Elementary, Rightsell Elementary, and Westside Junior High, graduating from Little Rock Central High in 1971. She got her start in journalism at the Central school newspaper as the first female and first African-American editor. Rather than leave home to go to college, …

McConico, J. H.

aka: John Hamilton McConico
John Hamilton McConico was an African-American educator, newspaper editor and publisher, businessman, national grand auditor for the Mosaic Templars of America, and a civil rights pioneer. His business and civil rights leadership included membership in the National Negro Business League, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Arkansas Negro Democratic Association. J. H. McConico was born on December 25, 1877, in Livingston, Alabama, to Jessie McConico, a preacher, and Mattie McConico. His sister, Fannie, was four years his senior. After McConico completed the available public school courses, his family sent him to Agricultural and Mechanical College in Normal, Alabama. In 1898, McConico graduated from the department of printing with a literary emphasis. After graduation, he worked …

McDonald, Thomas Newton (Tom)

Photographer Thomas Newton McDonald, a resident of Jonesboro (Craighead County), accumulated many honors in his lifetime, including the United Nations award for service to humanity, Gerard Bakker Award for teaching, and National Award for Service from both the Arkansas Professional Photographers and Southwestern Professional Photographers. His primary work focused on portrait photography, but he also took scenic and artistic photographs. In 1996, McDonald wrote The Business of Portrait Photography: A Professional’s Guide to Marketing and Managing a Successful Studio, with Profiles of 30 Top Portrait Photographers. The book, published by Amphoto Books of New York, was later published in a second edition and translated into Mandarin for publication in China. Born in Lake City (Craighead County) on July 2, 1933, …

Meyer, Ronald Edward (Ron)

Ron Meyer was a graphic artist, journalist, satirist, newspaperman, and political cartoonist from Little Rock (Pulaski County). In the early 1960s, Meyer went to work for Sam Hodges at the Benton Courier, first in advertising and later as general manager. During his tenure, Meyer helped the paper achieve both state and nationwide recognition. He also worked as a freelance artist for several Little Rock firms before opening his own advertising agency. Ronald Edward Meyer was born on October 18, 1938, in Little Rock to Velma Irene Maghar Meyer and Raymond Edward Meyer, who was originally from Hazen (Prairie County). He had one brother, Gerald, and two sisters: Patricia and Betty. Meyer’s parents divorced when he was ten years old, leaving …

Mitchell, James

James Mitchell was president and editor-in-chief of the Arkansas Democrat from the time he purchased the paper with W. D. Blocher in 1878 until shortly before his death in 1902. As editor, Mitchell made the paper a powerful statewide force backing Democratic policies and candidates. At the same time, he argued forcefully, both in the paper and through frequent public speeches, for economic diversification in the state, for educational improvement, for equal pay and improved opportunities for women, and for other progressive measures. James Mitchell was born on May 8, 1832, at Cane Hill (Washington County) to James Mitchell, a farmer, and Mary Ann Webber. He was the third of ten children whose parents had moved their family from Indiana …

Mitchell, Jerry

Jerry Mitchell was a longtime legal, courtroom, and investigative reporter. His dogged reporting led to the reopening of a number of important civil rights cases and, in doing so, helped bring to justice a number of individuals many years after they had committed their crimes. Jerry Mitchell was born on February 23, 1959, in Springfield, Missouri, to Jerry and Jane Mitchell. During his early years, his father served as a U.S. Navy pilot, causing the family to move several times. The family lived in California, first in San Diego and then San Francisco, before settling in Texarkana, Texas. Mitchell’s interest in journalism had begun in high school, where he served as editor of the school newspaper, and he was a …

Morgan, Tom Perkins

Tom Perkins Morgan’s gravestone in the Rogers Cemetery says simply, “Writer, Humorist, Philosopher.” To many in Rogers (Benton County), he was best known as a successful local businessman who operated a newsstand and bookstore downtown. But Morgan was a nationally known writer whose work appeared in major publications such as Life and the Saturday Evening Post. Tom P. Morgan was born on December 1, 1864, in East Lyme, Connecticut, to Joseph P. Morgan and Mary A. Perkins Morgan. He moved with his parents and his only sibling, Harry, to Garnett, Kansas, when he was ten. He grew up there, spending much of his spare time in the local newspaper office. In his youth, Morgan was something of an adventurer. He …

Nelson, Rex

Having been a journalist, political staffer, lobbyist, and blogger, Rex Nelson is perhaps best known for his columns appearing in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He served in the administration of Mike Huckabee and on the Delta Regional Authority, and he returned to the Democrat-Gazette in 2017. Born on September 2, 1959, in Arkadelphia (Clark County), Rex Nelson is the son of Robert “Red” Nelson and Carolyn Caskey Nelson, who had met as students at what is now Ouachita Baptist University (OBU). The third child and second son born to the family, Nelson grew up in Arkadelphia in the Ouachita Hills neighborhood, located north of the OBU campus and west of the Ouachita River. Both parents taught before entering the sporting goods …