Entries - Entry Type: Thing - Starting with A

Arkadelphia Boy Scout Hut

The Arkadelphia Boy Scout Hut is a log building located in Central Park in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Constructed by local boys and members of the National Youth Administration (NYA) in 1938–39, the Rustic-style building is owned by the city and used by various Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 28, 2002. The NYA was a New Deal agency created to offer employment opportunities for youth between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five. Construction of the hut was supervised by Edwin Dean, the district supervisor from Camden (Ouachita County), and Edward Wyate, the supervisor from Hope (Hempstead County). The local foreman was A. F. Bishop of Arkadelphia, who supervised …

Arkadelphia Confederate Monument

The Arkadelphia Confederate Monument is a commemorative sculpture erected in 1911 on the grounds of the Clark County Courthouse in Arkadelphia by the Harris Flanagin Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to commemorate local men who had served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. In 1911, the Harris Flanagin Chapter of the UDC borrowed $1,500 to purchase a Confederate monument. It was dedicated in an elaborate ceremony on May 27, 1911, which began at 10:00 a.m. and lasted into the afternoon. According to newspaper reports, speakers included historian, politician, and author Farrar Newberry, who “delivered a stirring and patriotic oration in which he eulogized the solders of the Confederacy in the highest terms, and praised …

Arkadelphia Male and Female Institute

aka: Arkadelphia Institute
aka: Arkadelphia Female Seminary
aka: Arkadelphia Female College
aka: Arkadelphia Female Academy
Several educational institutions with variations of the name Arkadelphia Male and Female Institute operated in Arkadelphia (Clark County) during the nineteenth century. The first opened in 1850. Arkadelphia was the seat of Clark County, with a population of 248 in 1850. With a newspaper, several churches, and a saloon, the town was one of the larger settlements along the Ouachita River. Early efforts to open a school in the town began in 1843. That year, an election was held in Arkadelphia to select three trustees to create a school and sell part of the sixteenth section on the west side of the Ouachita. Three trustees were elected, but one died before taking office, and little progress was made toward opening …

Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy

Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy, located in Arkadelphia (Clark County), was a co-educational elementary and secondary school operated by the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen. This board was part of the “Northern” Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), which founded schools for African Americans across the South after the Civil War. The board began opening schools for freed slaves as early as the 1860s, but the movement arrived late in Arkansas. It was not until 1889, when a new presbytery was organized in the state and large numbers of blacks from the eastern states were settling in Arkansas, that the board felt confident to begin its work in the state. The academy in Arkadelphia had earlier roots, however. According to historian Inez Moore Parker, it was …

Arkansas [Album]

Arkansas is an album written and recorded by John Oates, a New York–born inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who was half of the duo Hall and Oates. He was accompanied by a group of legendary Americana musicians collectively known as the Good Road Band. Oates called the album the “sum total” of his many musical influences, including rock, folk, blues, and country. Released in 2018, the ten-song album began as a tribute to blues musician Mississippi John Hurt but soon grew to “represent the dawn of American popular music,” as Oates said. The title track “Arkansas” was inspired by Oates’s experiences visiting the former company town of Wilson (Mississippi County). John Oates was born in New …

Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES)

The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station (AAES) is the statewide research component of the University of Arkansas System’s Division of Agriculture. Its faculty researchers are assigned to campuses across the state. The AAES itself consists of five research and extension centers (RECs) and six research stations strategically located around Arkansas. In 1888, a year after Congress approved the Hatch Act to support university-based agricultural experiment stations in each state, the Arkansas General Assembly accepted the federal government’s financial support to establish the AAES at the university’s campus in Fayetteville (Washington County). Albert E. Menke, a chemistry professor, took office as station director with a staff consisting of a botanist, two chemists, a biologist, an entomologist, a horticulturist, and a veterinarian. Their …

Arkansas Agriculture Department (AAD)

The Arkansas Agriculture Department (AAD) is an amalgam of various agriculture-related state agencies established as a central office for “creating, publicizing, and sustaining an information network for Arkansas farmers and ranchers,” as well as promoting state agricultural products to the nation and world. Despite being a major agricultural state, Arkansas was one of two states without an agricultural department prior to 2005; the other was Rhode Island. The AAD was created by Act 1978 of 2005, which brought together the Arkansas Forestry Commission, the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, and the Arkansas State Plant Board—all long-standing agencies that had been operating for decades by that time. The livestock and poultry commission was created by Act 87 of 1963. It is …

Arkansas and Oklahoma Western Railroad

  The Arkansas and Oklahoma Western Railroad (A&OW), based in Rogers (Benton County), was incorporated on June 25, 1907, with capital stock of $3,000,000. The standard gauge railroad, previously named the Rogers Southwestern, had twenty-one miles of track built between Rogers and Springtown (Benton County) by the Rogers Southwestern Railroad. The change in the corporate name reflected an intention to build to Siloam Springs (Benton County), as a connection to the Kansas City Southern Railway, and Pryor Creek, Oklahoma, as a connection to the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway. The A&OW also announced plans for a thirty-mile extension from Rogers to the health resort of Eureka Springs (Carroll County). The A&OW, assuming it had been built as planned, would have …

Arkansas Baptist College

Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) is a four-year historically black liberal arts institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and affiliated with the Consolidated Missionary Baptist State Convention of Arkansas. In its quest to be a voice for the underrepresented student, ABC provides a quality education without charging out-of-state tuition fees. The vision of Arkansas Baptist College is thus: “To see our community, state, and nation positively influenced through the integration of academic scholarship and Christian principles to address issues having a detrimental effect on society.” Arkansas Baptist College was founded in 1884 by the Colored Baptists of the State of Arkansas. The school opened in November …

Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI)

The Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI) was created as the major research component set forth in the Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000, passed by sixty-four percent of Arkansas voters in the general election on November 7, 2000. The primary goal of ABI is to improve the health of Arkansans through new and expanded agricultural and biomedical research initiatives, and, to that end, it operates as a partnership in health-related research with its five member institutions: Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Arkansas State University (ASU), the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). The Tobacco Settlement Proceeds Act of 2000 directed the State of …

Arkansas Black Apple

The Arkansas Black Apple is recognized by early sources as having been first produced in 1870 in the orchard of a Mr. Brathwaite, which was then about one and a half miles northwest of Bentonville (Benton County). The fruit, a variety of Winesap, is usually round and of medium size. The flesh is yellow, fine grained, crisp, juicy, and aromatic, while the skin is dark red to black, hence its name. It ripens in October or November, and the fruit keeps well though the storage season of two to four months. Originally, the tree was thought to be a seedling of the Winesap Apple. It is a true native apple grown in the Ozarks of both Arkansas and Missouri. There …

Arkansas Bluebird of Happiness

aka: Bluebird of Happiness
The original Arkansas Bluebird of Happiness was created by Leo Ward at Terra Studios near Durham (Washington County). Since their introduction in 1982, over nine million bluebirds have been sold. Each bird is individually crafted from molten glass by artisans at Terra Studios and is signed and dated. Though Terra Studios creates glass birds in many colors, the bluebird has always been the most popular choice. While living in San Diego, California, in the early 1970s, Leo Ward discovered a passion for glass blowing. Along with his wife, Rita, Ward opened a gift shop and constructed a glass furnace on the premises. When a city inspector discovered this furnace, the shop was closed, and the Wards moved to Arkansas, where …

Arkansas Boys State

aka: Boys State
With strong participation numbers and an impressive alumni list, Arkansas Boys State is arguably one of the most successful chapters of the American Legion–sponsored Boys State program. The national program began in 1935, with Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card of the Illinois American Legion—which was the first sponsoring organization—credited with the original idea. The Arkansas program was established in 1940. Its alumni body boasts some impressive names, including President Bill Clinton, whose efforts at the 1963 session earned him the selection as the Arkansas representative to Boys Nation—a national gathering of Boys State representatives from across the country—where he met President John F. Kennedy, a meeting captured in a now iconic photograph. Other Arkansas participants who have gone on to …

Arkansas Business Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame was created by the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1999. The objectives of the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame are to honor outstanding business leaders whose accomplishments have brought lasting fame to Arkansas, to highlight the growing economy of Arkansas and its wide range of opportunities, and to preserve the legacy of Arkansas’s finest business leaders for generations to come. For many decades, Arkansas had the reputation—both within the state and nationally—of being a low-income, backward state. The Walton College saw a need to recognize publicly those Arkansas business leaders who have made enormous economic contributions to the state, the nation, and, …

Arkansas Cannon, Seizure of

aka: United States v. Six Boxes of Arms
This court case involved the seizure of a cannon in the North intended for a state in the South on the cusp of secession and, thereby, epitomized the political and military tensions that characterized the final months of sectional breakdown prior to the Civil War. The decision rendered in this case also established an important legal precedent in relation to lawful seizure of property and the retention of legal ownership with war on the horizon. On February 15, 1861, William J. Syms and Samuel R. Syms of the New York City munitions supply firm of W. J. Syms and Brother contracted with the State of Arkansas for an order of munitions to be delivered in two parts in early April. …

Arkansas Catholic

The Arkansas Catholic is the official newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock. It began publishing in 1911 as the Southern Guardian at the request of Bishop John B. Morris with Monsignor John Michael Lucey as editor. Bishop Morris intended the newspaper to be the “official organ” of the Catholic Diocese for the 22,000 Roman Catholics then living in the state at the time. The newspaper began as a weekly eight-page broadside newspaper with an annual subscription rate of $1.50. It was renamed the Guardian when “Southern” was dropped from the title in 1915. In 1986, the newspaper became the Arkansas Catholic. The paper has been associated with the Catholic News Service since 1923. Editorship changed several times over the …

Arkansas Centennial Commemorative Half Dollars

The United States Mint issued two silver half dollars commemorating the 1936 centennial of Arkansas’s statehood. These coins are currency of the United States authorized by acts of Congress on May 14, 1934, and June 26, 1936. The first coin was issued beginning in 1935 and features the profiles of an Indian chief of 1836 and a young woman of the 1930s, the archetype of Lady Liberty. The second coin, released after the first, features a profile of Senator Joseph T. Robinson. Both coins feature an eagle and an Arkansas flag motif. More than 100,000 coins (including both designs) were minted. On July 27, 1934, Charles Moore, who was serving on the United States Commission of Fine Arts, in a …

Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993

aka: Act 962 of 1993
The Arkansas Civil Rights Act (ACRA) was the first civil rights act in Arkansas covering discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, gender, or the presence of any sensory, physical, or mental disability. The passing of this act, Act 962 of 1993, was the culmination of the work of the Governors’ Task Force on Civil Rights, which was formed in 1991 by Governor Bill Clinton. The legislation was sponsored in the Arkansas Senate by Senator Bill Lewellen. In the early 1990s, most Arkansans reportedly did not feel that it was necessary to have a civil rights bill. However, Arkansas was one of only a few states at the time lacking such a law. Consensus was that the bill was passed …

Arkansas College

Arkansas College was founded in Fayetteville (Washington County) in late 1850 by pastor Robert Graham of the Disciples of Christ. On December 14, 1852, the Arkansas General Assembly approved an act allowing the college “to confer the degree of Doctor…and other academical degrees,” making it the first degree-conferring institution chartered by the state to open. Graham was born in Liverpool, England, on August 14, 1822, but later moved to the United States. He apprenticed as a carpenter in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and after indenture went to Bethany, Virginia (now in West Virginia), to help construct buildings at Bethany College, a Disciples of Christ school that Graham then attended. Upon graduation, he accepted a mission from the college to travel among Disciples …

Arkansas Constitutions

aka: Constitutions of Arkansas
State constitutions serve as the foundation for statutory laws, rules and regulations, and government for a state. These documents also serve as historic and cultural indicators of significant events and impacts. In 1836, the state constitutional convention drafted a document to qualify Arkansas for statehood; this first constitution was brief, flexible, general in language, and relatively lenient in terms of power. In 1861, the state needed a new constitution as it left the Union. Very few other substantive changes were made. In 1864, a third constitution was needed to bring Arkansas back into the Union. In 1868, the state adopted its constitution, which endured throughout the Reconstruction Era, with Arkansas being basically an administrative unit of the national government, overseen …

Arkansas County Courthouse, Northern District

  The Arkansas County Courthouse in Stuttgart (Arkansas County) is a Classical Revival–style, brick building designed by J. B. Barrett and constructed by the Barrett and Ogletree firm in 1928. The courthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 20, 1992. Arkansas Post was the original Arkansas County seat after statehood, but, as Arkansas Post’s population waned, citizens wanted a more central location for the seat. DeWitt was chosen and served as the sole county seat until the early 1920s, when Stuttgart’s rapid growth, due to the railroad and the increase in rice and soybean production, brought additional civic and legislative responsibilities to the community. After several court hearings, it was decided that Stuttgart would be a secondary county seat, …

Arkansas County Courthouse, Southern District

The Arkansas County Courthouse for the Southern District in DeWitt (Arkansas County) was designed by Little Rock (Pulaski County) architect H. Ray Burks and constructed by E. V. Bird Construction Company. Built in 1931, this three-story building is a prime example of the Art Deco style used in many Arkansas buildings constructed during this time period. Located at 101 Court Square, the current Arkansas County Courthouse is the fourth courthouse built in DeWitt. First, three log courthouse buildings were built in 1855 by Colonel Charles W. Belknap, approximately one block from the current site. One building was for a courtroom, another for the clerk’s and sheriff’s offices, and the third for a jury room. This set of buildings was replaced …

Arkansas Creed

The germ of the Arkansas Creed was contained in House Concurrent Resolution 2 of 1969, introduced by state representative Roscoe Brown of Jonesboro (Craighead County). The resolution was approved, and the state historian, Dr. John Ferguson, was officially appointed head of the Creed Commission on March 3, 1970. The committee first met on June 10 of that year. It included Ferguson, Maurice Dunn of Hot Springs (Garland County), Dr. Claude Babin of Monticello (Drew County), Education Commissioner Arch Ford, as well as Representative Brown himself. In December, the committee issued rules for a creed-writing contest. They solicited entries of 250 words, editable to eighty words or less. The deadline for submissions was initially February 1 but was later reset to …

Arkansas Darter

aka: Etheostoma cragini
Arkansas darter (Etheostoma cragini) populations are scattered among some small, spring-fed tributaries of the Arkansas River basin in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas. This fish species is rare in Arkansas, being found only in a few spring runs in the Illinois River basin of Benton and Washington counties. The small streams occupied by Arkansas darters are characterized by slow current and silt substrates. The darters shelter in watercress and other aquatic plants, overhanging or flooded terrestrial vegetation, and even in the loose silt of the stream bottom. In some places, they have been observed to move down into larger streams, but this has not been so in Arkansas. They grow to a maximum size of around two inches and …

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state’s largest newspaper, is based in Little Rock (Pulaski County), with a separate northwest Arkansas edition. After the Arkansas Democrat bought the assets of the Arkansas Gazette in October 1991, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was born. It is the only statewide newspaper, offering home delivery in all parts of Arkansas. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has its roots in the Reconstruction era. A newspaper first called The Liberal became The Journal and then The Chronicle. Finally, it became The Evening Star, having passed through several owners and editors by 1875. On April 11, 1878, Colonel J. N. Smithee acquired the newspaper and renamed it the Arkansas Democrat. Smithee, who had served in the Confederate army, immediately launched an attack …

Arkansas Department of Aeronautics (ADA)

The Arkansas Department of Aeronautics (ADA) is responsible for regulating aviation in the state of Arkansas as well as encouraging the development of aeronautics-related industries. The Arkansas Department of Aeronautics was created by Act 457 of 1941, which established the agency for a period of twenty-five years, to be headed by a commission consisting of the chairperson of the State Police Commission, the adjutant general of the State of Arkansas, the chairperson of the State Penal Board, the chairperson of the State Highway Commission, and the head of the ADA. The duties, as defined by the act, consisted of providing for the examination, rating, and licensing of airports; adopting rules and regulations for airports and other landing sites; providing for …

Arkansas Department of Career Education (ADCE)

The Arkansas Department of Career Education (ADCE) oversees vocational and technical education in the state. It was established to “create opportunities for strong comprehensive education regardless of the student’s ultimate career choice.” ADCE was originally created as the Arkansas Department of Workforce Education (ADWE) by Act 803 of 1997 to assume responsibility over vocational and technical education in the state. The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) had previously overseen vo-tech education since its inception in 1931. Act 803 of 1997 abolished the State Board of Vocational Education, creating in its place the State Board of Workforce Education and Career Opportunities as well as ADWE, which became responsible for vo-tech education. The new department also assumed control of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services …

Arkansas Department of Community Correction (ADCC)

The Arkansas Department of Community Correction (ADCC) oversees the state’s non-traditional correction programs, such as probation and parole, as well as community correction centers that offer drug/alcohol treatment and vocational programs. ADCC’s mission is “To promote public safety and a crime-free lifestyle by providing cost-effective community-based sanctions, and enforcing state laws and court mandates in the supervision and treatment of adult offenders.” ADCC was originally named the Arkansas Department of Community Punishment, which was created by Acts 548 and 549 of 1993. The act noted that “the ever increasing numbers of offenders in traditional penitentiaries” brought “added fiscal pressures on state government” and thus sought to bring the cost down “through the use of community punishment programs and non-traditional facilities” …

Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC)

The Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) enforces the court-mandated sentences for people convicted of crimes at a variety of prison facilities located in twelve counties across the state. ADC’s central offices are in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). The first state penitentiary was built in 1839–40 in Little Rock (Pulaski County) at the site of what is now the Arkansas State Capitol. After legislation passed in 1899 calling for a new seat of government, it was relocated to a fifteen-acre site southwest of the city, explicitly to make room for the new capitol building. This second penitentiary was popularly known as “The Walls.” In 1902, the Cummins State Prison Farm was established in Lincoln County, and land was purchased in 1916 for the …

Arkansas Department of Education (ADE)

The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) is administered by the State Board of Education and oversees the 244 public school districts in the state. The ADE assists schools in developing curriculum, accredits schools, approves textbooks used in state public schools, licenses teachers, provides continuing education programs, and much more. In general, the ADE is responsible for all public schools in Arkansas from kindergarten to the twelfth grade, including special education programs, gifted and talented programs, and public charter schools. ADE was created by Act 169 of 1931 (as amended by Act 127 of 1941) as the State Department of Education, with the director being appointed by the State Board of Education. Act 38 of 1971, which reorganized several sectors of …

Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM)

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management (ADEM) is the state government’s equivalent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). ADEM is responsible for disaster preparedness and for responding to natural and manmade disasters throughout the state. Act 321 of 1953 established the State Civil Defense Agency, then located in an office at the Arkansas State Capitol. The act noted the “existing and increasing possibility of the occurrence of disasters of unprecedented size and destructiveness resulting from enemy attack” and defined the agency’s mission as “to provide for the common defense and to protect the public peace, health, and safety.” Under the act, the State Civil Defense Agency was responsible for all emergency functions for which the military was not primarily …

Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ)

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) is Arkansas’s regulatory body in the area of environmental protection. It is headquartered in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the state government’s first “green” building. ADEQ operates seventeen field offices throughout the state. ADEQ’s first incarnation was the Arkansas Water Pollution Control Commission, created by Act 472 of 1949. Originally operating under the auspices of the Arkansas Department of Health, the commission was given the power to “administer and enforce all laws relating to the pollution of any waters in the State,” investigate pollution, establish pollution standards, and “prepare a comprehensive program for the elimination or reduction of pollution” in state waters. However, the commission comprised three gubernatorial appointees “representing industry, municipalities, …

Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (ADFA)

The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration (ADFA) oversees the collection of state taxes, the purchasing of equipment for state agencies, programs for state employees, and a variety of other fiscal and administrative duties, such as regulating alcoholic beverages and registering vehicles. The director of the ADFA is the chief fiscal officer of the State of Arkansas. ADFA was created by Act 38 of 1971, which significantly reorganized state government, to encompass the responsibilities of four different state agencies: the Department of Revenue, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the Arkansas Racing Commission, and the State Administration Department. The Department of Revenue had been created as the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and Revenues by Act 88 of 1925, …

Arkansas Department of Health (ADH)

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) exercises supervision over all matters pertaining to the health of Arkansas’s citizens, from food safety and sanitation to hospitals and medicine. The first state board of health was actually the Little Rock (Pulaski County) board of health, which sprang into action in 1878 in the face of a yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans, Louisiana, and fears that refugees could bring the disease into Arkansas; the Little Rock board was turned into the state board by Governor William Read Miller the following year. In 1881, the state legislature created an official state board of health, though it was inactive until 1897, when smallpox appeared in the state. Act 96 of 1913 created a permanent …

Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE)

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) is responsible for the regulation of the state’s public two-year and four-year institutions of higher education. In addition, ADHE oversees a number of financial aid programs. The first attempt to regulate higher education in the state came through the establishment of the Arkansas Committee on Higher Education in 1949, which consisted primarily of state legislators and the leaders of institutions of higher education. The commission’s report to the Arkansas General Assembly in 1951 recommended the creation of a control board to coordinate efforts regulating higher education. Prior to this, state institutions were fairly autonomous, and the legislature exercised oversight primarily through appropriations, which led to institutions competing with each other for state money. …

Arkansas Department of Human Services (ADHS)

The Arkansas Department of Human Services (ADHS) is the largest of the state’s agencies. It performs and oversees a variety of services for the citizens of Arkansas, including regulating nursing homes and childcare facilities, operating human development centers for the state’s mentally challenged residents, conducting adoption and foster home programs, and providing mental health services. The ADHS consists of the following divisions: Aging and Adult Services, Behavioral Health Services (which includes the Arkansas State Hospital), Child Care, Child and Family Services, County Operations, Developmental Disabilities Services, Medical Services, Services for the Blind, Volunteerism, and Youth Services. ADHS was created by Act 38 of 1971 as part of an initiative to reorganize state government and services. ADHS was initially dubbed the …

Arkansas Department of Information Systems (ADIS)

The Arkansas Department of Information Systems (ADIS) provides information technology solutions for the state government of Arkansas. It maintains the government’s telecommunication services and ensures connectivity and security among the various state agencies. The forerunner of ADIS was the Arkansas Department of Computer Services (ADCS), created by Act 884 of 1977, which abolished the Administrative Services Division of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration and transferred its duties and responsibilities to the newly created ADCS. The act mandated that ADCS “establish and operate a central data processing system, consisting of such equipment, services, and programs as are necessary therefore, to meet the data processing needs of the respective state agencies.” ADCS was also required to operate a central telephone …

Arkansas Department of Labor (ADL)

The Arkansas Department of Labor (ADL), which arose as part of the Progressive movement in Arkansas, is the agency responsible for enforcing the state’s labor laws. Its mission is “to foster, promote, and develop the health, safety and welfare of the wage earners of Arkansas by providing services and enforcing laws to improve working conditions and enhance their opportunities for safe and profitable employment.” Act 322 of 1913 created the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, which was to be headed by a governor-appointed commissioner, whose duty it was to “collect, assort, systematize and present biennial reports to the Governor, statistical details relating to all departments of labor in Arkansas and especially as affecting or bearing upon the commercial, social, education …

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (ADPT)

aka: State Parks
aka: Arkansas State Parks
The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism (ADPT) manages the state’s fifty-two state parks and promotes the state of Arkansas as a tourist destination for people around the country. The department is composed of three divisions: 1) Arkansas Tourism, which promotes tourism and economic development in the state, 2) Arkansas State Parks, which develops and manages the actual state parks, and 3), Keep Arkansas Beautiful, which promotes keeping Arkansas litter-free. Arkansas’s first state park, Petit Jean State Park, was established in 1923 after the passage of Act 276, which authorized the commissioner of state lands to accept land donations for state parks and reservations. However, the state did not have an agency overseeing the development of state parks until 1927, …

Arkansas Department of Rural Services (ADRS)

The Arkansas Department of Rural Services (ADRS) was created “to serve as a single point of contact for all organizations and individuals with a desire to enhance the quality of life” for the state’s rural citizens.” To that end, the agency provides grants to facilitate improvements in rural communities, funds research on solutions to problems faced by such communities, and conducts information sharing through a variety of regional forums and the annual Arkansas Rural Development Conference. ADRS was created as the Office of Rural Advocacy (ORA) by Act 302 of 1991, which noted that, until that time, “no state office has been specifically created to promote, harmonize, or assist efforts to address the unique needs, conditions, and strengths of rural …

Arkansas Department of Transportation

The Arkansas Department of Transportation oversees the planning, maintenance, and policing of state roads and highways. Act 302 of 1913 established the State Highway Commission and renamed the Department of State Lands as the Department of State Lands, Highways and Improvements. However, there remained no designated highway system in the state. In 1921, a federal law required states to designate a system of state highways, to be managed by a state highway department. In 1923, a few months following the closure of the Department of State Lands, Highways and Improvements due to the Arkansas General Assembly’s failure to appropriate money for the agency, the governor called a special session of the legislature to deal with the resulting problems, eventually signing …

Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA)

The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) dates back to the post–World War I years and the need to care for Arkansas residents disabled during the war. It underwent transformation broadening its scope during World War II and following the Vietnam War. At present, ADVA operates two homes for disabled veterans, as well as two veterans’ cemeteries, and acts as a liaison for state residents and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The first move by people in the state to care for veterans in a systematized manner was the creation of the Arkansas Confederate Home in 1890, which provided care and services to indigent Confederate veterans and their widows. In 1891, the home secured an appropriation from the Arkansas …

Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (ADWS)

The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (ADWS) is the state agency responsible for providing job-related services to unemployed state residents, such as coordinating training and educational opportunities, processing unemployment insurance claims, and connecting job seekers with employment opportunities in the state. ADWS began life as the Arkansas Employment Security Division of the Arkansas Department of Labor (ADL). This division was created by Act 391 of 1941, in the wake of New Deal legislation such as the Social Security Act of 1935 and the Federal Unemployment Tax Act of 1939, which created a national system of unemployment benefits and encouraged states to do likewise. Act 391, noting that “economic insecurity due to unemployment is a serious menace to the health, morals, …

Arkansas Derby

The Arkansas Derby is the most lucrative thoroughbred horse race in Arkansas, currently offering a “purse” of $1 million. The purse is the prize money that is divided among the horses competing in the race, based upon their finish, with the winner receiving sixty percent ($600,000). The one-and-one-eighth-mile race is restricted to horses that are three years old. It is traditionally held each year at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort in Hot Springs (Garland County) on the second Saturday of April. Over time, it has developed into one of the nation’s leading preparatory races for the Triple Crown, which comprises the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The Arkansas Derby was first held in 1936 and carried a $5,000 purse. The …

Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN)

aka: AETN
The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN), an agency of the State of Arkansas, is a non-commercial network designed to serve the people of Arkansas. It is affiliated with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). AETN’s mission includes offering lifelong learning opportunities to all Arkansans, supplying instructional programs to Arkansas schools, providing programming and services to improve and enhance the lives of Arkansas citizens, and illuminating the culture and heritage of Arkansas and the world. AETN began on June 4, 1954, with the creation of the Arkansas Educational Television Association. This citizens’ group was interested in a non-commercial alternative to the growing commercial television enterprise. In 1961, after several years of lobbying and discussions, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 198 to …

Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation

The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation (AFB) is a private agricultural advocacy group composed of more than 230,000 families working to improve farm and rural life throughout the state. Arkansas was the thirty-ninth state to join the American Farm Bureau. Each county has its own chapter that operates autonomously from the state organization. The AFB was incorporated on April 28, 1931, with James Feagin Tompkins as the first president. In 1935, the organization began with sixty-five members from Mississippi County, and by the end of 1936, the group boasted 8,657 members across the state. Early leaders of the Arkansas movement cited several reasons why the state needed a strong federation of farmers, such as fighting for farmers’ rights on the state …

Arkansas Farm Family of the Year Program

The Arkansas Farm Family of the Year program was started in 1947 to recognize the importance of the farm family and agriculture in the continuing development of the state. It is the longest-running farm family recognition program in the country. The primary emphasis of the program is recognizing county farm families and the importance of agriculture in the county. The specific objectives of the program are, first, to recognize and encourage farm families who are doing an outstanding job in farming, homemaking, and community leadership; second, to highlight the importance of agriculture to the economy of the community and the state; and third, to disseminate information on improved farm practices and effective farm and home management. The selection of district …

Arkansas Fatmucket

aka: Lampsilis powellii
The Arkansas fatmucket is a bivalve mollusk belonging to the family Unionidae, commonly referred to as freshwater mussels, naiads, or clams. Each freshwater mussel is composed to two halves (valves) of a hard outer shell, with the living animal (soft tissues) residing securely inside. The Arkansas fatmucket (Lampsilis powellii) was described as a species new to science in 1852 by Isaac Lea, a naturalist and publisher by trade residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lea based his description on specimens provided to him by Dr. Josiah Hale and Professor W. Byrd Powell from the Saline River at Benton (Saline County). Adults rarely reach a length of four inches (100 millimeters), and males and females are sexually dimorphic—that is, they have slightly different …

Arkansas Freedom of Information Act

aka: Freedom of Information Act
aka: FOIA
The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), signed into law by Governor Winthrop Rockefeller on February 14, 1967, is generally considered one of the strongest and best models for open government by investigative reporters and others who research public records for various purposes. The intent of the FOIA is to keep government business and government records open and accessible to the people of Arkansas. The Arkansas FOIA has been called “the people’s law” in that it provides the citizens of Arkansas open access to the conduct of the public’s business at every level of government, as well as ready access to public records on file with a host of custodians for those records in county courthouses, city halls, public schools, …

Arkansas Freeman

The Arkansas Freeman, which began publication on August 21, 1869, was the first newspaper in Arkansas printed by an African American and focusing upon the black community. It was in publication for less than one year, having become symptomatic of the divisions within the Republican Party, particularly where African Americans were involved. The idea to found a black press was approved on June 20, 1869, by a committee of African Americans, led by local advocate Jerome Lewis, at Wesley Chapel Methodist Church on the campus of Philander Smith College; a dinner was later held at the City Hall of Little Rock (Pulaski County) to raise funds to establish a newspaper. The committee included several ministers and community leaders who felt …