School Segregation and Desegregation

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Hot Springs Schools, Desegregation of

Hot Springs (Garland County), a tourist town, had one of the largest school districts in Arkansas at the time the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision. Black students made up 14.7 percent of the school population, with 2,778 white and 522 Black students at elementary level and 1,942 white and 357 Black students at junior and senior high level. In October 1955, the Hot Springs School Board appointed an advisory committee of twenty-three white and five Black citizens to draw up plans for desegregation. In April 1956, the committee recommended beginning desegregation with a high school auto mechanics course. On September 4, 1956, the course admitted four white and six Black …

Hoxie Schools, Desegregation of

During the summer and autumn of 1955, proponents and opponents of school integration across America were watching what Cabell Phillips of the New York Times called “a battle in a test tube.” The scene of the “battle” was Hoxie (Lawrence County), a small community in the northeastern part of Arkansas. Phillips’s dispatches turned the isolated rural town into a focal point for the nation. While not the earliest instance of desegregation in the state—Fayetteville (Washington County) and Charleston (Franklin County) were peacefully integrated the previous year—Hoxie’s attempt was the first to be met with active resistance. In 1955, Hoxie, with its population of 1,855 residents, was a collection of one- and two-story structures strung along the tracks of the Missouri …

Hunt, Silas Herbert

Silas Herbert Hunt was a veteran of World War II and a pioneer in the integration of higher education in Arkansas and the South. In 1948, he was admitted to the University of Arkansas School of Law, thus becoming the first African American student admitted to the university since Reconstruction and, more importantly, the first black student to be admitted for graduate or professional studies at any all-white university in the former Confederacy. Silas Hunt was born on March 1, 1922, in Ashdown (Little River County) to Jessie Gulley Moton and R. D. Hunt. In 1936, his family moved to Texarkana (Miller County), where he attended Booker T. Washington High School; there, he received distinction as a member of the …