Entries - Gender: Male - Starting with S

Sturgis, Walter Roy

Walter Roy Sturgis was a self-made multi-millionaire from southern Arkansas whose fortune continues to benefit the state and beyond through philanthropic organizations dedicated to managing the wealth amassed by Sturgis and his wife, Christine. Roy Sturgis was born in Cleveland County, Arkansas, between Kingsland and Hebron on March 6, 1901, to William A. Sturgis, who was a farmer, and Nancy Virginia Bingham Sturgis, a homemaker. Sturgis had nine siblings. Scarce biographical information exists about Sturgis, and some of what has been written appears not to be entirely accurate. For example, Sturgis reportedly dropped out of school after the tenth grade and served in the U.S. Navy during World War I. While Sturgis’s education at the Good Hope School (also known …

Stuttgart Lynching of 1916

An unidentified African-American man was taken from the jail in DeWitt (Arkansas County) and lynched in Stuttgart (Arkansas County) on August 9, 1916, for having allegedly attacked a sixteen-year-old white girl. This was the first of two lynchings to occur in Arkansas County that year—on October 8, 1916, Frank Dodd was also taken from the jail at DeWitt, though he was lynched in town. According to the Arkansas Gazette, on Monday, August 7, the unidentified man—described only as “about 25 years old and unknown here”—attacked the sixteen-year-old daughter of farmer Ernest Wittman in a field south of Stuttgart. The narrative is vague, indicating that the unknown man was arrested after having been attacked and wounded by a posse; he was subsequently …

Sugg, Barney Alan

Barney Alan Sugg became a leader in higher education in the latter part of the twentieth century, serving in high-level positions at a number of southwestern colleges over the course of a career that spanned almost four decades and included over twenty years as president of the University of Arkansas System. B. Alan Sugg was born on April 29, 1938, in Helena (Phillips County). His father, Bernard (Barney) Sugg, was school superintendent in Barton (Phillips County), while his mother, Louise Sugg, was a schoolteacher. Sugg had an older sister and two younger brothers. He graduated from Helena’s Central High School in 1956 and then enrolled in the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Sugg—who had been the high …

Sugimoto, Henry Yuzuru

Henry Yuzuru Sugimoto was a noted artist whose paintings chronicled the immigrant experience, including the time he and his family spent in internment camps in southern Arkansas during World War II. Henry Sugimoto was born as Yuzuru Sugimoto on March 12, 1900, in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan. When he was a baby, his father moved to California to seek employment. Nine years later, his mother joined his father in California, leaving Sugimoto and a younger brother in the care of her parents. Sugimoto’s maternal grandfather had been a samurai and still owned many artworks, which Sugimoto copied with his grandfather’s encouragement. In 1919, Sugimoto’s parents finally could afford to bring him to America. He joined his parents in Hanford, California, and …

Sullivan, Walter (Lynching of)

On October 1, 1902, a young African American named Walter Sullivan was murdered in Portland (Ashley County) for allegedly shooting a prominent merchant. In the 1900 census, there was a fifteen-year-old youth named Walter Sullivan living in Bonita, Louisiana, on the Wilmot Highway just south of the Arkansas line. He was living with his parents, Daniel and Malindy Sullivan, and two brothers, Vigil (age eighteen) and Cud (eight). Although newspaper accounts refer to Mr. Roddy as either D. D. Roddy or D. J. Roddy, he was probably William D. Roddy, a fifty-three-year-old widower who was a merchant in Portland in 1900. Roddy may have formerly been a farmer in Drew County, as a farmer of the same name and age …

Summerall, George Allen “Pat”

Pat Summerall was one of television’s leading sportscasters in the twentieth century. He played for the University of Arkansas (UA) football team, and, following a decade of play in the National Football League (NFL), he moved easily into radio and television announcing. In addition to announcing football, he served for many years as the voice of CBS Sports for both golf and tennis. He was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame in 1971. George Allen “Pat” Summerall was born on May 10, 1930, in Lake City, Florida, to George Allen Summerall and Marion Summerall. His parents were in the process of divorcing when he was born, and they considered sending him to an orphanage. However, his aunt and …

Surratt, Alfred “Slick”

Alfred “Slick” Surratt was a baseball player in the Negro Leagues in the late 1940s and early 1950s. After his playing career, he spent decades as a welder for the Ford Motor Company. He stayed involved in baseball, however, through his involvement in the creation and development of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Missouri. Alfred Surratt was born on November 9, 1922, in Danville (Yell County). A baseball player from his earliest days, he moved to Kansas City, Missouri, to live with his father at the end of the eighth grade. Not yet twenty years old when the United States entered World War II, Surratt served in the South Pacific during the war but was able to continue playing …

Sutton, Eddie

Eddie Sutton was a men’s college basketball coach who led four schools, including the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), to the Final Four of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament. He became one of a small group of men’s Division I college basketball coaches to have more than 800 career wins. He was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020. Born on March 12, 1936, in Bucklin, Kansas, Eddie Sutton graduated from Bucklin High School in 1954 and earned a basketball scholarship to what is now Oklahoma State University. Coached by Henry Iba, college basketball’s “Iron Duke of Defense,” he played guard on the freshman team (1954–1955) and on the varsity team (1955–1958). Sutton graduated …

Sutton, Ozell

One of the most important Arkansas political activists at the height of the civil rights struggle during the 1950s and 1960s, Ozell Sutton was a key player at many of the movement’s most critical moments—both in the state and throughout the South. He was present at such watershed events as the 1957 Central High School desegregation crisis and the 1965 march at Selma, Alabama. In April 1968, Sutton was with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when King was murdered on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was also a trailblazer in Arkansas race relations, becoming the first black newspaper reporter to work for a white-owned newspaper when he went to work in 1950 as a staff …

Swedlun, Frederick Ernest

aka: Ernest Fredericks
Frederick Ernest Swedlun, best known pseudonymously as Ernest Fredericks, was a prolific early twentieth-century artist active in Arkansas and Illinois and throughout the Ozarks region. His colorful woodland landscape paintings captured the rustic beauty of the area during every season of the year. One example, Autumn in the Ozarks, painted of a scene near Rogers (Benton County), was exhibited at the Chicago Art Institute in June 1940. Frederick Swedlun was born of Swedish parents, Olof Swedlun and Christine M. Sandahl, on a farm near McPherson, Kansas, on February 8, 1877. According to Swedlun’s autobiographical sketch, the farm life was not appealing to him. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, and began study at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. It was there …

Swedlun, Glenn C.

Glenn C. Swedlun was a popular twentieth-century regional artist active in Arkansas and Illinois. For almost forty years, Swedlun lived and worked in Eureka Springs (Carroll County). Glenn Swedlun was born in Illinois (either Cairo or Elgin, depending upon the source) on May 11, 1902, the first child of Frederick Ernest Swedlun and Cordella Florence Cayle Swedlun. He had one sister. Swedlun grew up in the Chicago area, where he completed one year of high school. For five years while a young man, Swedlun played professional baseball. At age twenty-seven, he gave up baseball to become an artist like his father. His father, a well-known Illinois landscape painter who worked under the pseudonym Ernest Fredericks, taught Swedlun the fundamentals of …

Swindler, John Edward (Trial and Execution of)

John Edward Swindler was a habitual and violent criminal who was executed on June 18, 1990, for the 1976 murder of on-duty Fort Smith (Sebastian County) patrolman Randy Basnett. He was the first Arkansas death row inmate executed following reinstatement of the death penalty in 1977 (the last execution before Swindler had been in 1964). Unique circumstances caused him to be the last Arkansas inmate to be executed in the electric chair. Having served in multiple penal institutions since the age of fifteen, Swindler was released from the United States Prison at Leavenworth, Kansas, on September 17, 1976. He returned to his home state of South Carolina, where a former cellmate provided him a gun. He began a crime spree …

Switzer, Barry

Barry Switzer is a native Arkansan who became one of the most successful football coaches of all time. He is one of only two men to win both a collegiate national championship and the Super Bowl. Barry Switzer was born in Crossett (Ashley County) on October 5, 1937, the son of Frank M. and Mary Louise (Wood) Switzer. Frank Switzer was a bootlegger and money-lender who spent time in prison. Both of the elder Switzers died under tragic circumstances. Switzer graduated from Crossett High School in 1955 and won a football scholarship to the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), where he graduated in 1960 with a degree in business. After a brief stint in the army, he …

Sykes, Roosevelt “The Honeydripper”

Roosevelt Sykes was a leading blues pianist in the 1930s and is considered by many in the music world to be the father of the modern blues piano style. Sykes’s early musical experiences in Arkansas provided the blues background that served as the foundation for his later recording successes. He was a professional bluesman for more than sixty years, recorded on a dozen different labels, and played in St. Louis, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Memphis, Tennessee; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Europe. Roosevelt Sykes was born the son of a musician on January 31, 1906, in the sawmill town of Elmar (Phillips County). By 1909, the Sykes family had moved to St. Louis. However, Sykes often visited his grandfather’s farm near West …