Entry Type: Group

112th United States Colored Infantry (US)

aka: Fifth Arkansas Volunteer Infantry (African Descent)
The 112th United States Colored Infantry was a United States Colored Troops (USCT) regiment formed in Arkansas during the Civil War. Consisting of former slaves, the unit was originally known as the Fifth Arkansas Volunteer Infantry (African Descent). The arrival of Federal troops in the state in 1862 brought hundreds of former slaves into Union lines. After the Army of the Southwest took the Mississippi River port of Helena (Phillips County), thousands of slaves made their way to the city and to the protection of the Union forces. Taking advantage of this source of manpower, Federal authorities began to organize military units of freedmen in 1863. The First Arkansas Volunteer Infantry Regiment (African Descent) was formed in April 1863 in …

113th United States Colored Infantry (US)

aka: Sixth Arkansas Volunteer Infantry (African Descent)
The 113th United States Colored Infantry, part of the United States Colored Troops (USCT), served in Arkansas during the Civil War. Consisting of former slaves, the original unit was known as the Sixth Arkansas Volunteer Infantry (African Descent). The 113th never reached full strength, leading to its consolidation with two other regiments to form a new regiment. When the Union’s Army of the Southwest moved into Helena (Phillips County) in 1862, thousands of former slaves flocked to the city. Recognizing that these freedmen were a potential source of manpower, the Federal government authorized the establishment of African-American units in 1863. A number of units were recruited in Helena, and additional units were recruited in Little Rock (Pulaski County) after that …

Adjutants General, Arkansas National Guard

The adjutant general is appointed by the governor of Arkansas to a state cabinet-level position as the director of the Arkansas Military Department. As the executive head of the Arkansas Military Department, the adjutant general is responsible for the command, control, and supervision of more than 10,000 soldiers and airmen assigned to the Arkansas Air and Army National Guard. The adjutant general is responsible for all military administration transactions between the United States and the State of Arkansas, including personnel, finance, logistics, and unit readiness. The adjutant general is responsible for training personnel and units to accomplish both the state and federal missions of the National Guard and performs all other duties pertaining to the office as prescribed by law. …

Aesthetic Club

The Aesthetic Club is one of the oldest women’s clubs west of the Mississippi River. It began when a group of young women wishing to start a reading club organized on January 16, 1883, in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Aesthetic Club founders Cynthia Polk, Sallie Martin, Ida Martin, Fannie Jabine, Jane Georgine Woodruff, Mary Knapp, Gertrude Hempstead, Harriet Jabine, and Virginia Hamilton immediately expanded their objectives “to present programs of a literary, artistic, musical, and timely trend” in order to “assist in educational uplift, and to bring its members together for social enjoyment.” The name, proposed by Knapp, was borrowed from the Aesthetic Movement, which was “emulous of cultivating ‘the beautiful’ in all things.” Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s comments on …

African Methodist Episcopal Church

The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after white Methodist Episcopalians at the city’s St. George Chapel forced those of African descent out of the congregation in 1787. This led to the dedication of the first AME chapel, Bethel AME, in 1794. However, the AME was not represented in Arkansas until 1863 after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Arkansas’s earliest AME congregation formed under the leadership of the Reverend Nathan Warren. Warren, reared a slave in the District of Columbia, arrived in Arkansas in 1819 with Robert Crittenden, who served as the first secretary of the Arkansas Territory. Upon Crittenden’s death in 1834, Warren purchased his freedom from the family, married, and lived as …

Agricultural Wheel

The Agricultural Wheel was a state farmers’ union, founded in the Arkansas Delta, which expanded into ten other states, mostly in the South but reaching as far north as Wisconsin. Although the Agricultural Wheel was short-lived as an independent farmers’ union, it influenced the future formation of other such unions in Arkansas and led, in part, to the rise of the Populist movement in the state. After the Civil War, Arkansas (and Southern) farmers returned to growing primarily cotton, in part because bankers had insisted on farmers raising a cash crop as a condition for providing them with financing. Cotton acreage therefore increased, but prices fell due to overproduction, leading farmers to compensate by planting yet more cotton, which led …

All American Red Heads

A nationally known women’s basketball team, the All American Red Heads formed in 1936 in Cassville, Missouri, with Connie Mack Olson as its founder and coach. Originally, the team, all sporting dyed or natural red hair, publicized Olson’s Beauty Parlors in Kansas and Missouri, and though later the team moved to Arkansas, they kept their name. The team became so popular with the sports’ crowds that the team hit the road and successfully challenged men’s teams with their trick shots, athletic ability, and “hijinks.” The Red Heads thrilled audiences all over the United States with behind-the-back shooting, back-hand passing, and athletic ability on the court. They played men’s teams using men’s rules and won seventy percent of their games. While …

Alzheimer’s Arkansas

Alzheimer’s Arkansas is an incorporated nonprofit organization governed by a local board of directors consisting of family members of Alzheimer’s patients, business and community leaders, and healthcare professionals. The organization offers an array of programs and services, including respite care, home improvements (such as wheelchair ramps), and educational tools. All services are funded through special events, grants, memberships, memorials, and other contributions; eighty-five percent of all contributions received are spent in Arkansas. Alzheimer’s Arkansas was founded as the Alzheimer’s Support Group of Central Arkansas in 1984. In 1986, the group affiliated with the national Alzheimer’s Association. In June 2002, however, the Alzheimer’s Arkansas Board of Directors elected to withdraw from the national association and become an independent nonprofit organization. Several …

American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas

aka: ACLU of Arkansas
aka: Arkansas ACLU
The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas (ACLU of Arkansas) is an affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is devoted to protecting the personal liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights as well as later amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The national organization, which like the Arkansas affiliate is nonprofit and nonpartisan, was formed in 1920. The Arkansas affiliate was organized in 1969 and subsequently established its headquarters in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Both organizations lobby the legislative branches of government on civil liberties issues and supply legal counsel to people who believe their freedoms have been violated by some level of government or by individuals or businesses acting under the protection of government. The state organization also …

American Missionary Association

The American Missionary Association (AMA) was a nondenominational abolitionist society dedicated to providing education and political rights to African Americans. Founded on the premise that denying citizenship to African Americans was a violation of the Declaration of Independence, the AMA sought to find solutions to what was called the “Negro problem” in a divided America. In Arkansas, the AMA focused its efforts on providing education to freedmen and women, seeking to train them to survive in the antebellum South. Although the AMA’s efforts in Arkansas lasted barely a decade, the educational push of the organization persists in several remaining educational institutions. The AMA was founded in Syracuse, New York, in 1846 through the merger of a group of abolitionists who …

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has been active in Arkansas since the second decade of the twentieth century. As an organization operated principally through volunteer labor, the Red Cross has assisted citizens of Arkansas through floods, droughts, and fires, as well as training Arkansans in emergency response and in health and safety. Three chapters of the Arkansas Red Cross serve various regions in the state of Arkansas, meeting the needs of Arkansans and disbursing help from Arkansans to meet needs all over the world. The American Red Cross was founded in Washington DC on May 21, 1881, with Clara Barton as its first director. The first Red Cross chapters founded in Arkansas began during World War I, when the number of …

American Wine Society – Arkansas Chapter

The American Wine Society–Arkansas Chapter was a non-profit organization dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge about—and the cultivation of an appreciation of—wine and its role in culture and cuisine. The American Wine Society–Arkansas Chapter was co-founded on May 16, 2005, by Robert G. Cowie and Mary Jane Cains in Ozark (Franklin County). Cowie is the founder and owner of Cowie Wine Cellars in Paris (Logan County), while Cains is from the family of the Mount Bethel Winery of Altus (Franklin County). When the national society was created in 1967, Al Wiederkehr of Wiederkehr Wine Cellars in Altus was a member of the organizing meeting. He and Justin Morris of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) were honorary …

Amish

The Amish have attempted five times during the twentieth century to develop communities in Arkansas. All five began with high expectations of other Amish joining them and establishing roots in the state nicknamed the “Land of Opportunity.” Although Amish were once scattered throughout the state, only a few Old Order Amish live in the state in the twenty-first century. The Amish can trace their roots back to the 1500s and the Anabaptist tradition. The Anabaptists were separatists who developed their own communities, believed in adult water baptism, and practiced pacifism. The men wore beards while the women wore long dresses and head coverings. One of their more controversial practices was that of shunning, the practice of avoiding and not speaking …

Ancient Order of United Workmen

In the quickly industrializing world of the late nineteenth century, so-called “friendly societies” or fraternal orders organized to provide life insurance to average workers, which helped to remedy the danger of poverty that other alternatives presented. One of these societies, the Ancient Order of United Workmen (AOUW), developed quickly in the United States in the late nineteenth century and soon established itself firmly as an Arkansas institution. In 1868, the Ancient Order of United Workmen was founded in Meadeville, Pennsylvania, by John J. Upchurch (a former Mason). Each member paid one dollar into the insurance fund to cover policies of about $500. Following the same model, AOUW lodges were formed across the United States, organized democratically by members, which allowed the …

Anglicans

Arkansas Anglicans are individuals and parishes that, while having some historical connection with the Episcopal Church, have sought to disassociate themselves from it. This disassociation stems from a variety of theological and moral reasons, including such matters as the authority of the scriptures, the ordination of women, the introduction of a prayer book widely perceived as revisionist, and the ordination of a non-celibate homosexual man as bishop. Broadly speaking, Anglicans are Christians who identify themselves with the history and mission of the Church of England. The Episcopal Church was for many years the only Anglican presence in America. However, in 1873, several hundred evangelical Episcopalians, protesting departures from traditional worship practices, left to form the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC), the …

Antiquarian and Natural History Society of Arkansas

One of Arkansas’s first attempts to preserve its history was organized by a group of “gentlemen naturalists” and state leaders who came together in Little Rock (Pulaski County) during the autumn of 1837. They called themselves the Antiquarian and Natural History Society of Arkansas. Approximately thirty early Arkansans were known members of the society. At least nine were lawyers, five were doctors, and three were surveyors; other members included a merchant, a newspaper editor, a hotel owner, and several planters whose occupations are unknown. The group was active for several years, but its collection was eventually scattered and lost. A notice was posted in early May 1837, calling upon “Friends of Science” to meet at what is now the Old …

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) is a nonprofit policy advocacy organization that was formed by a group of concerned citizens, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, in 1977. The group’s mission is to ensure that all children and their families have the resources and opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives and to realize their full potential. The idea for a statewide child advocacy organization sprang from conversations between Dr. Bettye Caldwell, at that time the director of the Center of Early Development and Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR); her assistant Don Crary; and Jim Miles, then deputy commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Social and Rehabilitative Services. The three talked about forming a group …

Arkansas AFL-CIO

aka: Arkansas American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
The Arkansas American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (Arkansas AFL-CIO) is an umbrella organization of more than 190 local unions, central labor councils, and subordinate bodies such as state associations and district councils. As of 2009, the state federation represents the interests and concerns of more than 30,000 working people in organized labor in diverse occupations around Arkansas. The Arkansas AFL-CIO is affiliated with the National AFL-CIO, which represents over 11 million union members across the country. The Arkansas AFL-CIO was chartered on March 20, 1956. It was the first in the nation to merge the AFL and CIO into one state central body. Member organizations include unions that represent the building trades industry, steelworkers, governmental and …

Arkansas Anti-Saloon League

The Arkansas Anti-Saloon League was fully established in 1907 in affiliation with the national Anti-Saloon League, which originated as a state organization in Ohio in 1893. The Arkansas Anti-Saloon League protested saloons in Arkansas and was an influence upon prohibition bills in 1915 and 1917 that turned Arkansas into a dry state. Before the creation of the national Anti-Saloon League in 1895, a group of men met in Little Rock (Pulaski County) to create an organization to work to prohibit the sale of alcohol in Arkansas. This group formed the No License Association and elected Colonel George A. Thornburgh as president. The No License Association was recognized by the national Anti-Saloon League in 1899, with W. E. Atkinson elected as …

Arkansas Archeological Society

The Arkansas Archeological Society (AAS) is a statewide organization created for the purpose of uniting all persons interested in the archaeology of Arkansas, fostering the recognition and preservation of cultural heritage and prehistory, and encouraging the public’s interest in the preservation of the past. There was an unsuccessful effort to form a similar society in 1932. Little is known of this organization because it produced no publications and relied solely on semi-annual meetings to bring the membership together. The current AAS was formed in 1960. Its primary founders were Samuel C. Dellinger (president); Harry McPherson, Cecil Cleavenger, Marvin Riddle, and H. Dudley Glass (vice presidents); Dr. Charles R. McGimsey III (secretary and newsletter editor); and Hester Davis (treasurer). It was …

Arkansas Archeological Survey

In 1967, the Arkansas legislature created the Arkansas Archeological Survey (Act 39), the first statewide coordinated archaeological research and public service organization in the country. The survey’s mission is to study and protect archaeological sites (both prehistoric and historic) in Arkansas, to preserve and manage information about those sites, and to communicate that information to the people of Arkansas. This interest in Arkansas’s archaeological past originated from Representative John Bethel, who had a life-long interest in archaeology, particularly around his Des Arc (Prairie County) home. In 1959, he had also sponsored the creation of an archaeological laboratory at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), but no funds were forthcoming from the legislature at that time. At this same 1959 …

Arkansas Art Educators

Arkansas Art Educators (AAE) is a statewide organization of art teachers. The organization’s focus is to advocate for art education through supporting legislation and providing quality professional development for all art instructors in the state. AAE began as the art section of the Arkansas State Teachers Association (ASTA), which later became the Arkansas Education Association (AEA). The art group met as early as November 1922 for the ASTA fall conference. Classroom teachers from across the state gathered to discuss how to incorporate picture study and art history into the classroom curriculum. The group continued to meet yearly to hold elections and to discuss ways to further art education in the Arkansas school system. Members supported art education by writing articles …

Arkansas Association for the Deaf

The Arkansas Association of the Deaf (AAD) has provided leadership and advocacy on behalf of deaf and hard-of-hearing Arkansans and members of its association since the late nineteenth century. AAD’s efforts have resulted in passage of state legislation and the implementation of new programs and services that have helped enhance the quality of life of deaf and hard-of-hearing Arkansans. AAD is a volunteer 501(c)(3) organization governed by an executive board comprised of elected officers and trustees. The AAD is one of more than fifty state associations of the deaf that are affiliated with the National Association of the Deaf, which is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland. Originally named the Arkansas Deaf-Mute Association, the AAD was established in 1893 by two …

Arkansas Association of Colored Women

aka: Arkansas Association of Colored Women’s and Girls Federated Clubs, Inc.
aka: Arkansas Association of Women’s Clubs, Inc.
aka: Arkansas Association of Women, Youth, and Young Adults Clubs, Inc.
The Arkansas Association of Colored Women (AACW) was organized in 1905. Affiliated with the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), which was founded in 1896, the AACW adopted the national organization’s motto, “Lifting as We Climb,” and was dedicated to improving conditions in African-American communities throughout Arkansas. Its members were middle-class, educated black women from all over Arkansas. Some AACW members also held offices in the national organization. For example, Fort Smith (Sebastian County) resident Mame Josenberger (who was a member of the Phillis Wheatley Club, one of the earliest black women’s clubs in Arkansas, founded in Fort Smith in 1898) was AACW state president from 1929 to 1931 and had served as the NACW’s auditor in the 1920s. The …

Arkansas Baptist State Convention

The Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) was organized at Brownsville, now Tulip (Dallas County), on September 21, 1848. Among the convention’s founders were William H. Bayliss, Nathaniel G. Smith, and George Ann Bledsoe. Bayliss, a lawyer and merchant who migrated from Tennessee to Arkansas in the 1830s, served as the first president of the convention. In creating the state convention, these leaders and their supporters were following a pattern, long evident in Baptist life in Europe and the United States, of local churches forming cooperative associations, with those associations sometimes forming larger conventions. It was hoped that the new convention would collect funds and inspire support for missions and education. The Civil War ravaged the nascent state Baptist organization; especially …

Arkansas Bar Association

The Arkansas Bar Association, established in 1898, is a voluntary bar association with over 5,100 attorney members as of June 2007. For over a century, the association has been enhancing the lives of Arkansas citizens, the operation of the state’s judicial system, reform of state laws, and the professionalism of lawyers. Prior to 1898, there were efforts to form a state bar association, including a meeting of nineteen lawyers in 1837 to form a bar association for Arkansas lawyers, but none lasted. When the current association was founded in 1898, U. M. Rose was elected its first president. Rose also served as president of the American Bar Association in 1901, and he was later honored as one of the two …

Arkansas Black Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Black Hall of Fame was founded in 1992 by Charles O. Stewart and Patricia Y. Goodwin as a means of recognizing the best and brightest African Americans with Arkansas roots. The first induction ceremony was held on October 30, 1993, in the exhibition hall of Robinson Auditorium. Each year, six inductees from diverse fields of endeavor are recognized for their contribution to African-American culture and to the nation. In 1998, seven inductees were selected. Nominations are received from across the country offering recommendation for induction into the hall. The board of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, after a comprehensive review of the submitted nominations, makes the final selection of inductees. Past honorees have included writers, singers, actors, …

Arkansas Capital Corporation

aka: First Arkansas Development Finance Corporation
Arkansas Capital Corporation (ACC) is a private, not-for-profit company that provides financing for economic development throughout the state. It is an uncommon example of cooperation among private citizens, business organizations, and government institutions. It was created under a 1957 statute authorizing development finance companies. In its early years, it made term loans for industrial projects to increase or preserve employment, but beginning in the mid-1980s, it expanded and formed affiliates that, under the ACC umbrella, provided additional types of financing. These included Small Business Administration (SBA) loans as well as working capital, fixed asset, and venture capital financing. ACC is non-political, and it cooperates with local banks and institutions rather than competing with them. Since its inception, this award-winning organization has …

Arkansas Certified Development Corporation (ACDC)

In 1989, the Small Business Administration (SBA), a Federal government agency, asked the Arkansas Capital Corporation (ACC) to manage the operations of its 504 loan program for the state. As a result, the ACC formed the nonprofit affiliate Arkansas Certified Development Corporation (ACDC) to meet this need. The ACDC, as of 2006, is a member of the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, an association of six agencies which increase availability of capital for Arkansas businesses. They are, in addition to ACC and ACDC, the Arkansas Capital Relending Corporation, Diamond State Ventures, Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (the educational arm of the group), and Commerce Capital Development Corporation. The parent ACC was organized to ease the shortage of capital funds available to businesses …

Arkansas Chamber Singers

The Arkansas Chamber Singers (ACS) is vocal ensemble dedicated to performing and promoting classical and contemporary choral repertoire. Membership in the nonprofit group is by audition. The ACS began when Bill Clinton, elected as the state’s governor in 1978, appointed Massachusetts resident Paul Levy to head the Arkansas Department of Energy. Levy’s wife was Barbara Abramoff Levy, director of the Newton Choral Society and the conducting assistant to the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, an adjunct to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She wanted to continue her involvement in music, and in 1979, with the support of the Bill and Hillary Clinton, she joined the faculty of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) and organized a new chamber ensemble named the …