Entries - Race and Ethnicity: African American - Starting with H

Hackett, Nelson

Nelson Hackett was an Arkansas slave whose 1841 escape to Canada (then a colony of Great Britain) led to a campaign by his owner to have him extradited to the United States on charges of theft as a way of getting around the legal sanctuary that Canada provided to fugitive slaves. Hackett’s extradition aroused the ire of abolitionists on both sides of the border and ultimately resulted in a limitation of the 1842 Webster-Ashburton Treaty’s extradition provision. Nelson Hackett enters the historical record in June 1840 when he was acquired by Alfred Wallace, a wealthy Washington County plantation owner, storekeeper, and land speculator. Hackett was described as “a Negro dandy” of about thirty years of age. Slaves in the Arkansas …

Haley, George Williford Boyce

George Williford Boyce Haley was a U.S. ambassador, politician, civil rights activist, attorney, and policy analyst. He was one of the first African-American students to attend the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) since Reconstruction. He was also one of the first African Americans elected to the Kansas Senate. George Haley was born to Simon Haley and Bertha Haley in the small western Tennessee town of Henning on August 28, 1925. He had two brothers, one of whom, Alex, wrote the bestselling book Roots. His mother died when he was six years old. The family later moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), where, in 1939, Haley’s father accepted a position as head of the agriculture department at AM&N …

Haley, Loy (Lynching of)

Loy Haley, an African-American man, was lynched on June 15, 1915, likely near Lewisville (Lafayette County), for allegedly murdering Roy Lester, owner of a plantation in Lafayette County located in the Red River bottoms. Probably the earliest report on the violent chain of events was a June 13, 1915, article in the Arkansas Gazette. Though titled, “Lynching Near Lafayette County,” the article does not, in fact, describe a lynching but rather reports on the intended lynching of Loy Haley. According to the report, Roy Lester had remained on his plantation despite flooding on the Red River that had left his farm entirely surrounded by water, and made him “the only white man on the place.” No details of Lester’s murder …

Hall-Trujillo, Kathryn

Kathryn Hall-Trujillo is a public health expert and advocate who focuses on healthcare for African-American women. Best known for founding Birthing Project USA, “Mama Katt,” as she has been affectionately called, was named a 2010 hero by the CNN television network for her work with at-risk mothers and babies. She is a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Kathryn Hall-Trujillo was born on July 19, 1948, in Moscow (Jefferson County), a small town near Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Her mother’s name was Corrine. She has said that her grandmother was her mentor. She said of her childhood, “Even though I came from a family that was poor, I came from a very good family; we loved one another …

Hall, David

David Hall was an African-American pioneer who was part of a free black community that existed in Marion County prior to the Civil War. David Hall left no diaries or letters, but a document trail of tax records, censuses, and folk stories reveal details about his life. He was born in North Carolina in 1783, and sometime prior to 1805, he married a woman named Sarah (called Sallie), a free woman of Tennessee. Hall arrived at Bull Shoals (Marion County) in 1819 from Bedford County in central Tennessee. He and his wife settled on the White River with the two sons they already had, Absalom and David. They would later have five more children: Willoughby, Joseph, James, Margaret, and Eliza. …

Hallelujah

Hallelujah (1929), one of the earliest Hollywood feature films shot on location in Arkansas, was innovative in several ways. It was the first talking picture made by popular director King Vidor and one of the first Hollywood pictures with an exclusively African-American cast. It also introduced an early form of sound dubbing. Vidor had wanted to make a movie with an all-black cast for many years, but studio chiefs at Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) rejected the idea until Vidor suggested making a musical. Even then, Vidor had to defer his usual $100,000 directing salary against any of the film’s profits. Hallelujah tells the story of a young sharecropper-turned-preacher who must fight the temptations of a beautiful city girl. The musical …

Hamilton, Lawrence Olivier

Lawrence Olivier Hamilton was a Broadway star who appeared in such shows as Porgy and Bess, The Wiz, and Jelly’s Last Jam. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame in 2005. Lawrence Hamilton was born on September 14, 1954, in Ashdown (Little River County), one of six children of Oscar Hamilton and Mae Dell Neal-Hamilton. He later lived in Foreman (Little River County). He attended Foreman Public Schools and took piano lessons from a woman who had been a friend of ragtime composer Scott Joplin. He studied music education (as well as piano and voice) at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia (Clark County), receiving a bachelor’s degree. In …

Hampton Race War of 1892

aka: Calhoun County Race War of 1892
The Hampton Race War (also referred to as the Calhoun County Race War in many sources) occurred in September 1892 and entailed incidents of racial violence all across the southern part of the county. While many sources have attributed the events in Calhoun County to Arkansas’s passage of the Election Law of 1891, with provisions that vastly complicated the voting process for illiterate citizens of all races and effectively kept them from voting, it seems that the trouble in the county started prior to the early September election. Racial unrest was widespread in Arkansas in the 1890s, especially across the southern counties. Incidents increased after the state began passing Jim Crow legislation that limited the rights of its black citizens. (According …

Hampton, Sybil Jordan

Sybil Jordan Hampton has served as a higher education administrator, leader in philanthropy, and political advisor during her career. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2005. Sybil Jordan was born on September 1, 1944, in Springfield, Missouri, to Leslie W. Jordan and Lorraine H. Jordan. Her mother was a longtime educator, and her father was a World War II veteran who worked for the U.S. Postal Service. Jordan grew up in Little Rock (Pulaski County) under the Jim Crow system of racial segregation, drinking from “colored” water fountains and attending segregated schools. After the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision ruling that racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional, Little Rock …

Handy, Delores

Delores Handy became an award-winning African-American journalist, reporter, and news anchor. In a career spanning over four decades, Handy won four Emmy awards for her television work in Washington DC and Boston, Massachusetts. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2009. Delores Handy was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on April 7, 1947, to the Reverend George G. Handy Sr. and his first wife. She is the oldest of fourteen children—nine girls and five boys. George Handy Sr. pastored a Baptist church in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Handy attended Horace Mann High School, with her interests including flag football and track and field. She graduated in 1965 and began college in the fall at …

Harris, E. Lynn

aka: Everette Lynn Harris
Everette Lynn Harris was a bestselling author of novels about African-American men in gay and bisexual relationships. In his nine novels, which have sold more than three million copies, the gay characters are “on the down low,” or have not publicized their sexuality. Harris, a black man, endured years of abuse at the hands of his stepfather and for years denied his own homosexuality. E. Lynn Harris was born on June 20, 1955, in Flint, Michigan, to Etta Mae Williams and James Jeter, who were unmarried. When Harris was three, he moved with his mother to Little Rock (Pulaski County), where she worked as a housekeeper. She soon married Ben Odis Harris, who helped raise Harris until he was thirteen, …

Harris, Ernest James

Ernest James Harris was an accomplished entomologist known for his work on breeding Biosteres arisanus, a species of wasp that parasitizes fruit fly eggs. Thanks to the work done by Harris, B. arisanus has been bred on a large scale for the purposes of pest eradication. More than twenty nations have adopted use of the “Harris strain” of the wasp for fruit fly eradication. Harris was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1999. Ernest J. Harris was born on May 24, 1928. His parents had a farm in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), where Harris’s interest in insects first developed. After graduation, he attended Arkansas AM&N (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). There, he majored …

Harris, Frank (Lynching of)

On August 18, 1871, an African-American man named Frank Harris was lynched at Wittsburg (Cross County) for allegedly murdering a twelve-year-old white girl named Isy Sanders, the daughter of Isaiah Sanders. According to the 1870 census, farmer I. Sanders was living near Wittsburg with his wife K. Sanders, their daughter S. J. (age twelve), and two sons, I. L. G. (age eleven) and M. C. (age five). That same year, a twenty-five-year-old African-American farm laborer identified as F. Harris was also living with his wife near Wittsburg, only two households away from the Sanders family. In addition, there was another African American named Frank Hare living not far away near Wittsburg with his wife M. Hare and four children between …

Harris, George (Lynching of)

On February 23, 1892, an African-American man named George Harris was lynched by a mob near Varner (Lincoln County) for allegedly murdering E. F. Parker (sometimes referred to as S. F. Parker) the previous September. According to newspaper accounts, Parker was a “peaceable and inoffensive citizen of Lincoln County.” He had previously lived in Drew County, where he married Mary McCloy of Monticello in 1882. There is no official record of a man named George Harris in either Lincoln or Drew counties, but the Arkansas Democrat noted that he had formerly lived on Steve Gaster’s plantation in Drew County. At the time of the 1880 census, there was a Steve Gaster living in Ferguson (Drew County) with his mother-in-law, Rachel …

Harris, Gilbert (Lynching of)

On August 1, 1922, a mob of as many as 500 people broke into the Hot Springs (Garland County) jail and, brandishing guns, forcibly took a man and lynched him at the triangle in front of the Como Hotel located at the intersection of Central and Ouachita avenues. In his memoirs, Roswell Rigsby (1910–2001), an eyewitness to the lynching, stated, “I believe this was the last lynching in Hot Springs, at least in public.” There are some conflicting reports as to the first name of the man lynched. There are references to his first name being Punk, Bunk, and Gilbert; however, all accounts list his last name as Harris. Accounts of the hanging appeared in newspapers as far away as …

Harris, John (Lynching of)

On February 2, 1922, an African-American man was lynched in Malvern (Hot Spring County) for allegedly harassing white women and girls. While a number of newspaper accounts, as well as a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) annual report, identify him by the name of Harry Harrison, the Arkansas Gazette identifies him as John Harris, and there is no record of a Harry Harrison ever living in the Malvern area. John Harris was living in Malvern at the time of the 1920 census; he was thirty-eight years old, married, and worked as a laborer in a lumber mill. He was a native of North Carolina and could both read and write. According to the Arkansas Gazette, he …

Harrison Race Riots of 1905 and 1909

Though nowhere near as murderous as other race riots across the state, the Harrison Race Riots of 1905 and 1909 drove all but one African American from Harrison (Boone County), creating by violence an all-white community similar to other such “sundown towns” in northern and western Arkansas. With the headquarters of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) located nearby, Harrison has retained the legacy of its ethnic cleansing, in terms of demographics and reputation, through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. The U.S. Census of 1900 revealed a black community in Harrison of 115 people out of 1,501 residents. This constituted a vibrant community that, despite its poverty, had a cohesive culture and deep roots. By all accounts, …

Hartman, Ena

Ena Hartman is an unsung trailblazer of Hollywood whose smaller roles in 1960s media productions helped create a path for African Americans in film and television. African-American actresses working in the 1970s benefited from the trail Hartman helped blaze. Ena Hartman was born on April 1, 1935, in Moscow (Jefferson County). The daughter of sharecroppers, she was raised by her grandparents. At age thirteen, she moved to Buffalo, New York, to live with her mother. She dropped out of high school to open a restaurant, handling the duties of cook and waitress as she tried to earn money to go to New York City to become a model. She was discovered by a photographer in the lobby of a modeling …

Hathaway, Isaac Scott

Isaac Hathaway was an educator and artist most known for creating more than 100 busts and masks of prominent African Americans. Hathaway taught at what is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) for more than twenty years as the first chair of the department of ceramics in the college’s art department. Isaac Scott Hathaway was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on April 4, 1872, to Elijah and Rachel Hathaway. He and his two sisters were raised by their father and grandparents, as their mother died in 1874. Hathaway attended Chandler Junior College and the New England Conservatory of Music’s art department, pursuing his childhood dream of sculpting busts of “famous Negroes.” Hathaway spent two years at the Conservatory …

Havis, Ferd

aka: Ferdinand Havis
Ferdinand Havis was born a slave but became an alderman, state representative, assessor, and county clerk, and was called the “Colored Millionaire” of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). Ferd Havis was born in Desha County on November 15, 1846, the son of John Havis, a white farmer, and a slave mother. In 1859, Havis’s father moved his operations to Jefferson County. Havis received a little common school education and learned the barbering trade. Later, he owned a profitable barbershop on West Court Street in Pine Bluff. The shop later moved to Barraque Street. Havis married three times. His first wife, Dilsa, died childless in 1870. His second wife, Geneva, died on August 4, 1886; they had one child, Ferda. He married …

Hayden, Bud (Lynching of)

On June 3, 1898, Bud Hayden was lynched in Texarkana (Miller County) for allegedly assaulting twelve-year-old Jessie Scott, the daughter of the late James V. Scott, former circuit clerk. Although Hayden claimed to be twelve years old at the time, the authorities estimated his age to be at least eighteen. The Arkansas Gazette’s reports of the lynching were carried in newspapers across the country, including the Atlanta Constitution, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Herald. At the time of the 1880 census, J. V. Scott was living in Cut Off Township in Miller County. He was a twenty-four-year-old farmer living with his wife, Talitha, who was twenty. There was only one African-American family named Hayden in the county. …

Hayes, Morris Kevin

Arkansas native Morris Hayes is a talented musician, producer, and band leader. As a keyboardist, Hayes has worked with superstars such as Prince, George Clinton, Elton John, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder. He was one of the 2013 inductees into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Morris Kevin Hayes was born on November 28, 1962, in the small town of Jefferson (Jefferson County), just outside Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). He was inspired by the religious music he heard in church as a child. He majored in art at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). When a rhythm and blues (R&B) band on campus lost its keyboard player, Hayes—who had learned to play a bit in high school—offered to …

Haygood Seminary

Haygood Seminary in Washington (Hempstead County) was established in 1883 as one of the first schools for African Americans funded by the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) in Arkansas. Its mission was to prepare preachers and teachers for their vocation so that they could help with the education and development of other African Americans. Haygood Seminary was one of the first five educational institutions in the South supported by the CME Church in the late nineteenth century. Haygood Seminary, also known as Haygood Academy, was organized in March 1883 by former slave John Williamson in Washington. His former master was the Reverend Samuel Williamson of the Presbyterian Church in Washington. John Williamson was a member of the CME congregation in …

Haynes, George Edmund

George Edmund Haynes, the first African American to earn a PhD from Columbia University, was a pioneering sociologist, a social worker, a policy expert, and cofounder of the National Urban League. George Haynes was born in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) on May 11, 1880, to Louis and Mattie Haynes. His father was a laborer and his mother a domestic worker. He graduated from the Richard Allen Institute and, in 1903, earned a BA in sociology at Fisk University. He earned an MA in the same field at Yale University a year later and continued his studies at the University of Chicago, the New York School of Philanthropy, and Columbia University. Meanwhile, he was employed by the Colored Men’s Department of the …

Hellom (Lynching of)

In late September 1903, an African-American man named Hellom was hanged by a black mob in Mississippi County for allegedly assaulting two young girls. Census records for the year 1900 reveal that there were three black men in Mississippi County who might have been the victim of the mob. All lived in nearby households in Fletcher Township, and all had a similar surname. The first was Oscar Hullum, age twenty-five, who was working as a farm hand and boarding with Brady and Mary Randolph. The second was Will Hellum, age twenty-three, a farm worker who was living nearby with his wife, Lucy, and their son, Jonathan. Living with them was a brother-in law, Arthur Hullum, age twenty-two, and three other …

Henderson, Jeffrey Todd (Jeff)

While competing for Sylvan Hills High School in Sherwood (Pulaski County), Jeffrey Todd (Jeff) Henderson became one of the top track and field athletes in Arkansas, excelling in the long jump. As a collegiate athlete, he developed into one of the top long jumpers in the United States. In 2016, he won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the second Arkansas-connected athlete to win in the long jump. Jeff Henderson was born in North Little Rock (Pulaski County) on February 19, 1989, to Laverne Henderson and Debra Henderson; he was raised in McAlmont (Pulaski County). He is the youngest of five children. Henderson played football while at Sylvan Hills High School, but by his …

Hendricks, Barbara Ann

Barbara Hendricks is an internationally recognized leading lyric soprano. Whether performing light soprano roles in traditional operatic repertory, demanding premieres of twentieth-century vocal music, song recitals, or jazz, Hendricks has been recognized as a leading artist since the mid-1970s. In addition, she is recognized internationally for her work for human rights and world peace. Barbara Hendricks was born on November 20, 1948, in Stephens (Ouachita County). The child of a Methodist minister, she lived in various small towns in Arkansas and Tennessee. She graduated from Horace Mann High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County). She enrolled at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, and transferred to the University of Nebraska as a chemistry major. She graduated in 1969 with a BS …

Hibbler, Al

aka: Albert George Edward Hibbler
Albert George Edward (Al) Hibbler, a pop/jazz singer, was the first African American to have a radio program in Little Rock (Pulaski County). He was also the first blind entertainer to gain national prominence. He sang with the Duke Ellington Band for eight and a half years before he left to make five recordings as a solo artist; three became Billboard pop hits. Hibbler also became a prominent figure in the civil rights movement. Records are inconsistent about Al Hibbler’s early life. Most sources have him born on August 16, 1915, in Como, Mississippi, to Hubert Hibbler and Lucy Prokes Hibbler, a farm family; some sources have reported that Hibbler was born in Tyro, Mississippi, while still others report he …

Hicks, Ed

Ed Hicks was one of twelve African-American men accused of murder following the Elaine Massacre of 1919. After brief trials, the so-called Elaine Twelve—six who became known as the Moore defendants (including Ed Hicks and his brother Frank) and six who became known as the Ware defendants—were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. The appeal of his and others’ sentences led to the U.S. Supreme Court case of Moore v. Dempsey. Ultimately, the Ware defendants were freed by the Arkansas Supreme Court in 1923; after numerous legal efforts, the Moore defendants were released in 1925. Ed Hicks was born on December 23, 1873, in Dublin County, North Carolina, to Lucy Hicks. Hicks and his wife, Mattie Hicks, married …

Hicks, Robert (Lynching of)

In late November 1921, a young African-American man named Robert Hicks was lynched near Lake Village (Chicot County) for writing a letter to an eighteen-year-old white woman. While the identity of the woman remains a mystery, Hicks was probably the same Robert Hicks who was living with his mother, Minnie, in the household of his stepfather, Henry Singleton, in South Charlton Township of Chicot County in 1910. At that time, he was eight years old. In 1920, at eighteen, he was still in South Charlton Township working on a cotton farm owned by his uncle, Jessie E. Cooper. While newspaper reports put his age at twenty-three or twenty-five, the census information shows that he was only nineteen at the time …

Hildreth, James Earl King

James Earl King Hildreth, a leading HIV/AIDS researcher, is dean of University of California–Davis College of Biological Sciences. Previously, he was employed by Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was director for the Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research; program director of the Research Centers in Minority Institutions; director of the Meharry Center for Translational Research; associate director at the Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for AIDS Research; and professor of internal medicine, microbiology, and immunology. At the Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research, he worked on a cream that kills the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). James Earl Hildreth was born in Camden (Ouachita County) on December 27, 1956, to Lucy and R. J. Hildreth. He is the youngest of seven …

Hill, Mars Andrew, III

At the age of seventy-five, retired engineer Mars Andrew Hill III published a well-received coming-of-age novel, The Moaner’s Bench (1998). The novel draws heavily on Hill’s own childhood as an African American growing up during the 1920s and 1930s in rural Arkansas. Mars Hill was born into a prosperous merchant-class family in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). His father owned a grocery store and forest land. When his father died of complications from diabetes, the eleven-year-old Hill was placed in the care of his wealthy uncle. At the age of fourteen, Hill moved to Chicago, Illinois, to live with his maternal aunt. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, he completed a degree in architectural engineering at the …

Hill, Robert Lee

Robert Lee Hill was an African-American leader who was forced to flee Arkansas during the bloody Elaine Massacre of 1919. He spent the rest of his life in Topeka, Kansas, repairing freight cars for the Santa Fe Railway. Robert Hill was born in Dermott (Chicot County), the son of Robert L. Hill Jr. and Elizabeth Griffin Hill. He was born on June 8, but the exact year of his birth is inconsistently reported in official records, ranging from 1892 on his World War I draft registration card to 1898 on his Kansas death certificate. Hill married Hattie Alexander in 1916. In 1917, Hill was working at the Valley Planting Company in Winchester (Drew County). Hill was a grand counsellor, with …

Hill, Thomas Lionel

Thomas Lionel Hill is a track and field star, who, as a student at Arkansas State University (ASU), was ranked number one in the world in the high hurdles by Track and Field News. After graduating from ASU, he claimed the bronze medal in the 110-meter hurdles at the 1972 Olympic Games. Tom Hill was born on November 17, 1949, in New Orleans, Louisiana, one of five sons of Mattie Hill, who was a domestic worker. He grew up in the Magnolia Housing Project and attended Walter L. Cohen High School in New Orleans. In high school, Hill participated in track and field, competing particularly in the high jump and long jump. As a senior, he took third place in …

Hines, James Ray (Jim)

Jim Hines, born in Dumas (Desha County), is an Olympic track and field star who won gold medals at the 1968 Olympics in the 100-meter dash and the 4×100-meter relay, as well as establishing world records for both. His record for the 100 meters stood for fifteen years. James Ray (Jim) Hines was born on September 10, 1946, in Dumas, the ninth of twelve children of Charlie Hines and Minnie West Hines. In 1952, the family moved to Oakland, California, where his father worked in construction and mother in a cannery. As a center fielder on the Lowell Junior High School baseball team, he caught the eye of the McClymonds High School track coach, who asked Hines to join the …

Hodges, Jerry T.

Businessman Jerry T. Hodges Jr., who grew up in the Arkansas Delta, was one of a group of African-American men to serve as Original Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Approximately 992 pilots advanced through the segregated Tuskegee program, with over 450 seeing action in the war overseas. Hodges was one of the more than 500 who completed the training program but did not see action. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2012. Jerry Hodges was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on June 29, 1925, to Jerry Hodges Sr. and Mae Paterson Hodges. The family soon moved to Hughes (St. Francis County) and then relocated to a farm in Heth (St. Francis County). He attended the …

Hogan, John (Lynching of)

On June 28, 1875, an African American named John Hogan was lynched near Russellville (Pope County) for allegedly attempting to assault one of Russ Tucker’s daughters. Public records provide some information about the lynching victim. The 1870 census (five years before the incident) lists a twelve-year-old African American named John Hogan, who was living on the farm of a twenty-two-year-old white man named Reece B. Hogans. Hogans had a wife, Josephine, and a two-year-old daughter. Also living on the farm was another black laborer, fifteen-year-old Rose Hogan, who may have been John Hogan’s sister. If this is the correct John Hogan, he would have been only seventeen when he was lynched. Russ Tucker was probably David Russell Tucker, who in …

Hogan, Richard Nathaniel

Richard Nathaniel Hogan was one of the most influential preachers and essayists among black Churches of Christ in the twentieth century. Richard Hogan was born in Monroe County on November 30, 1902, the third child of Willie Hogan and Emma “Cathey” Hogan. He developed his skills as an orator and writer under the tutelage of George Philip Bowser, a black evangelist and educator from Tennessee. When Hogan was a child, his father died. He and his mother began living with her parents, who were devout members of the Church of Christ in Blackton (Monroe County). Perceiving few prospects for advancement or even secondary education in the racially oppressive Arkansas Delta, they allowed Hogan at age fourteen to move to Tennessee …

Honorable, Colette Dodson

Colette Dodson Honorable is an Arkansas lawyer and public official. A longtime member—and ultimately, chair—of the Arkansas Public Service Commission (APSC), she was appointed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2014 by President Barack Obama, beginning her service on January 5, 2015; her term ended on June 30, 2017. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2014. Colette Dodson was born in 1970 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Joyce and Harold Dodson. She and her twin sister, Coleen, have three older brothers and a half-sister. The family moved from St. Louis to California when the twins were young. After her parents divorced, Dodson moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County), where she attended Forest Heights …

Hoover, Dorothy McFadden

Dorothy M. Hoover was a pioneer in the field of aeronautical mathematics and research. The granddaughter of slaves, she overcame the significant obstacles facing African-American women in the early part of the twentieth century to earn advanced degrees in physics and mathematics. One of her greatest achievements in aeronautical research was her contribution to the development of the “thin swept-back tapered wing,” which revolutionized flight. Her life story was essentially unknown until she was briefly mentioned in the highly acclaimed book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016), by Margot Lee Shetterly. Hidden Figures, which was made into a major motion picture in 2016, told the …

Hoover, Theressa

Theressa Hoover worked for human rights and unity through the United Methodist Church for nearly fifty years. Born in Arkansas, she represented those who, in the words of her 1974 monograph, were in “triple jeopardy”: female, African American, and Christian. Hoover worked for justice and empowerment for women and children around the globe. Her influence has been far-reaching, as she provided inspiration for others through her words and actions. Theressa Hoover was born in Fayetteville (Washington County) on September 7, 1925. She was one of five children of James C. Hoover and Rissie Vaughn. Her mother died when Hoover was a small child, and she was reared by her father, who worked for many years at City Hospital in Fayetteville. …

Hot Springs Normal and Industrial Institute

aka: Mebane Academy
The Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA), or the “Northern” Presbyterian Church, began opening schools for freed slaves in the South as early as the 1860s. However, no schools were started in Arkansas until 1889, when a new presbytery was established and significant numbers of African Americans from the eastern states were resettling in the state. During the early 1890s, the Reverend A. E. Torrence, pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, opened a parochial school for black students in Hot Springs (Garland County). He conducted it independently but did receive some aid from the Board of Missions. By 1895, there were 100 students in attendance. According to Inez Parker, while the school was …

Houser, Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte Houser was a prominent African-American physician, owner of the Black Diamond Drug Store, and investor in Helena (Phillips County) from 1901 to 1920. He came to Helena from Charlotte, North Carolina, as the Arkansas Delta’s population and opportunities grew, but returned to the place of his birth following the Elaine Massacre. N. B. Houser was born near Gastonia, in Gaston County, North Carolina, on February 14, 1869. He was the son of William H. Houser, a well-to-do brick mason and contractor, and Fannie Houser, a housekeeper and mother. The youngest of six siblings, Houser attended public schools in Charlotte and worked as a farm hand on his father’s farm until the age of fourteen, when he began to …

Howard County Race Riot of 1883

aka: Hempstead County Race Riot of 1883
The Howard County Race Riot occurred along the Howard and Hempstead county line in late July and early August 1883. Two events spurred the outbreak of violence. First, a disagreement over the surveying of a property line led to the beating of Prince Marshall and his brother James Marshall, both African-American farmers, by Thomas Wyatt, a white sharecropper living on land owned by Joseph Reed, a white farmer. Second, a few days later, Wyatt is alleged to have approached a young black woman, a member of Prince and James Marshall’s family, as she was plowing alone in a field and “solicited” her. When she began to cry out, he hit her over the head with a fence rail. The latter …

Howard, George, Jr.

George Howard Jr. was a trailblazing African-American attorney and judge in the second half of the twentieth century. After becoming one of the first black graduates of the University of Arkansas School of Law, he pursued a career dedicated to the expansion and guarantee of civil rights for all citizens. He became the first African American to be appointed to numerous Arkansas judicial posts, including the Supreme Court of Arkansas. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1994. George Howard Jr. was born on May 13, 1924, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) to George Howard and Sara Howard, who was a public school teacher. He received his early education in Pine Bluff but left home to serve …

Howard, Jesse (Lynching of)

On May 26, 1883, an African-American man named Jesse Howard was fatally shot in Marianna (Lee County) for allegedly setting fire to a livery stable. The Arkansas Gazette, in a brief report published on May 27, does not name Howard, but newspapers across the country reported on the incident, giving not only Howard’s name but additional details. Interestingly, a few of these additional reports mistakenly identified the lynching victim as Henry B. Derrick, who was, in fact, the owner of the livery stable. Jesse Howard had lived in Arkansas since at least 1870, when the census listed him as a farmer and a native of Virginia living in Phillips County with his wife, Susan. By 1880, he and Susan were …

Howard, John Miller

John Miller Howard was an African-American artist and arts educator who founded the Art Department and taught at Arkansas AM&N—now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB)—from 1939 until his death in 1980. At AM&N, he worked to provide a top-quality arts education to his students, many of whom came from rural backgrounds and lacked exposure to art. Howard was recognized as a gifted painter and teacher. His life and work form an important chapter in the history of art in Arkansas. John Miller Howard was born in Alcorn, Mississippi, on September 22, 1908, to Lillie Howard, a young single mother who nurtured his early talent for drawing. He grew up in Brookhaven, Mississippi, attending segregated schools. He graduated …

Howlin’ Wolf

aka: Chester Arthur Burnett
Chester Arthur Burnett, known as Howlin’ Wolf or Howling Wolf, was one of the most influential musicians of the post–World War II era. His electric blues guitar, backing his powerful, howling voice, helped shape rock and roll. Chester Burnett was born on June 10, 1910, in White Station, Mississippi, four miles northeast of West Point, Mississippi, to Leon “Dock” Burnett, a sharecropper, and Gertrude Jones. His parents separated when he was one year old; his father moved to the Mississippi Delta to farm, and he and his mother moved to Monroe County, Mississippi, where she became an eccentric religious singer who performed and sold self-penned spirituals on the street. Burnett got the nickname “Wolf” because his grandfather would scare the youngster by telling …

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 …

Hunley, Dan (Lynching of)

On October 6, 1885, an African-American man named Hunley (or Hunly) was murdered for an alleged attack on a young white girl near Tuckerman (Jackson County). Although most reports identify the girl as Priscilla Bundy, census records reveal that her name was probably Drucilla Bandy. One account identifies Bandy’s attacker by the last name Hunly, but it is probable that Dan Hunley was the alleged perpetrator, as, in 1880, a widow named Nelly Hunley was living in Breckenridge Township of Jackson County with her two sons, Anderson (thirteen) and Dan (nineteen), and a daughter, Judy (ten). At the time of the 1880 census, nine-year-old Drucilla was living in Bird Township of Jackson County with her parents, farmer George W. Bandy …