Time Period: World War II through the Faubus Era (1941 - 1967) - Starting with J

Jack Tar Hotel and Bathhouse

aka: Garland Tower
The Jack Tar Hotel and Bathhouse is a historic hotel built in the International style located on Oriole Street in Hot Springs (Garland County). The building was constructed in 1950 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 21, 2006. Hot Springs was a popular resort location in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries due to the supposed medicinal properties of the numerous springs located in the area. The growing use of the automobile in the early twentieth century led more visitors to the city, and numerous businesses were created to support this rise in tourism. Park Avenue served as a major thoroughfare into the city from the north, and many restaurants and motels opened along …

Jackson, Ransom Joseph (Randy)

Randy Jackson was a talented multi-sport athlete who played approximately ten years with three different major league baseball teams in the 1950s. During his collegiate and professional athletic careers, the Little Rock (Pulaski County) native received recognition for his skills in both baseball and football. Ransom Joseph (Randy) Jackson was born in Little Rock on February 10, 1926, to Ransom Joseph Jackson, who was a cotton broker and insurance salesman, and Ann Polk Coolidge Jackson. He had a younger sister, Suzanne. Ransom grew up in Little Rock attending what is now Central High School. Sports were severely cut during his time at the school due to World War II. Neither football nor baseball were played, leaving Ransom to participate in …

Janes, Roland

Roland Janes was a well-known session guitar player who worked with Sam Phillips at the legendary Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. He was elected to the Southern Legends Entertainment & Performing Arts Hall of Fame and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. His guitar is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Roland Janes was born on August 20 ,1933, in Brookings (Clay County) to R. D. Janes and Mary Pearl Janes; he had three brothers and three sisters. Janes learned to play guitar and performed in country bands with his cousins while living in Arkansas. His parents divorced when he was about ten, and his mother moved to St. Louis, Missouri; he shuttled back and …

Japanese American Relocation Camps

After Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, and America’s subsequent declaration of war and entry into World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the War Relocation Authority (WRA), which selected ten sites to incarcerate more than 110,000 Japanese Americans (sixty-four percent of whom were American citizens). They had been forcibly removed from the West Coast, where over eighty percent of Japanese Americans lived. Two camps were selected and built in the Arkansas Delta, one at Rohwer in Desha County and the other at Jerome in sections of Chicot and Drew counties. Operating from October 1942 to November 1945, both camps eventually incarcerated nearly 16,000 Japanese Americans. This was the largest influx and incarceration of …

Jeannette, Gertrude Hadley

Throughout her career, Gertrude Hadley Jeannette was a playwright, producer, director, and actress with roles on Broadway. Involved in the civil rights movement, she also became a rare woman taxicab driver in New York. Retired after a seven-decade theater career, she remained active in the New York theater scene. Jeannette was a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Gertrude Hadley was born in Urbana (Union County) on November 28, 1914, to Willis Lawrence Hadley and Salley Gertrude Crawford Hadley. She attended Dunbar High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and had plans to attend Fisk University. Instead, she eloped in 1934 to New York City with Joe Jeannette II, a prizefighter and president of the Harlem Dusters, a motorcycle club. …

Jeffress/Phillips Music Company

The Jeffress/Phillips Music Company, located in Crossett (Ashley County), is one of the five remaining seven-shape gospel publishing companies in the United States and is the sole seven-shape gospel publisher in the state of Arkansas. While known best as a rural tradition, shape notes, sometimes referred to as character or patent notes, are visual cues that act as points of reference, creating a unique notational style composed of geometric figures. This teaching mechanism led to the development of a rich and varied canon of American folk hymnody notated and practiced in shape notes, of which seven-shape gospel music comprises one specific tradition. Successor to the Jeffress Music Company, Jeffress/Phillips Music is a family-run operation. William Nolin Jeffress, founder of the …

Jerome Relocation Center

The Japanese American relocation site at Jerome (in Drew County and partially in Chicot County) was listed on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places on August 4, 2010. This Japanese American incarceration camp, along with a similar one built in Desha County, eventually housed some 16,000 Japanese Americans forcibly removed from the West Coast during World War II. The Japanese American population, of which sixty-four percent were American citizens, had been forcibly removed from the West Coast under the doctrine of “military necessity” and incarcerated in ten relocation camps dispersed throughout the inner mountain states and Arkansas. This was the largest influx and incarceration of any racial or ethnic group in Arkansas’s history. The Jerome Relocation Center was in operation …

Joe Marsh and Maxine Clark House

aka: Joe Marsh Clark House
The Joe Marsh and Maxine Clark House in Fayetteville (Washington County), often referred to as the Joe Marsh Clark House, is located along the northern side of Rockwood Trail on the eastern slope of Mount Sequoyah. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 3, 2020. The Joe Marsh Clark House was designed and constructed by acclaimed Arkansas architect Fay Jones between 1959 and 1961 for Joseph Marsh Clark and Maxine Clark, a couple who had retired to Fayetteville. Joe Marsh Clark, a geologist, and wife Maxine Bradford Clark, a botanist, were both charter members of the Ozark Society with Dr. Neil Compton. They also were both the long-time editors of the award-wining Ozark Society Bulletin. …

John, “Little Willie”

aka: William Edgar John
William Edgar “Little Willie” John was a powerful rhythm and blues vocalist and songwriter who recorded several hit songs, including the original version of “Fever” at age eighteen. Little Willie John was born on November 15, 1937, in Cullendale (Ouachita County). He was one of ten children. His father, Mertis, was a logger in northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas; his mother, Lillie, played guitar and sang gospel songs, teaching them to her children. His sister Mable, also raised in Ouachita County, recorded as a Raelette for Ray Charles and solo for Stax Records. In 1942, the Johns moved to Detroit, Michigan, so Mertis could pursue factory work. The eldest children, including Willie, formed a gospel quintet in the 1940s. A …

Johns, Riley “Doc”

Riley “Doc” Johns was an African-American athletic trainer at Little Rock High School (now Little Rock Central High) from 1930 to 1950. He was also the groundskeeper and equipment manager for the school’s sports teams until his death seven years before the Central High Crisis of 1957. Riley Johns was born on September 14, 1895, in Fort Smith (Sebastian County) to Joseph Johns and Nettie Flynn Johns. He was the youngest of three sons that included Clarence (born 1891) and Percy Legette Johns (born 1892). His parents had lived in several northwestern Arkansas counties before settling in Fort Smith. During World War I, he was drafted into the military from Fort Smith and entered service on August 1, 1918. At …

Johnson v. State (1942)

Six months before the United States went to war with Japan and Germany in 1941, but as war hysteria was building, Joseph Paschall (Joe) Johnson, a farmer with eight children in the St. Joe (Searcy County) community, went to the county courthouse at Marshall (Searcy County) to get food relief for his family. He refused the county welfare commissioner’s demand that he salute the American flag in the commodities office because doing so would violate his Christian beliefs about swearing fealty only to God. He was denied commodities, arrested, and convicted of violating a 1919 state law prohibiting desecration of the flag. In the case of Johnson v. State of Arkansas (204 Ark. 476), the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld his …

Johnson, John Harold

John Harold Johnson rose above abject poverty and racial discrimination to build a publishing empire that helped forever change the perception of African Americans in the United States. Johnson Publishing Company became the largest African-American-owned and -operated publishing company in the world and launched Ebony and Jet, two very successful magazines that gave a voice to millions of black Americans. Born Johnny Johnson on January 19, 1918, in Arkansas City (Desha County) to Leroy Johnson and Gertrude Jenkins Johnson, a cook in a Mississippi River levee camp, Johnson was a third-generation descendent of slaves. After the death of Johnson’s father in a sawmill accident when Johnson was eight years old, his mother married James Williams, who helped raise him. During a …

Johnswood

Johnswood, located at 10314 Cantrell Road in Little Rock (Pulaski County), was built in 1941 as the home of poet John Gould Fletcher and his wife, writer Charlie May Simon. Designed by architect Maximilian F. Mayer, Johnswood was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 20, 1994. John Gould Fletcher and Charlie May Simon were married on January 18, 1936, and five years later hired their friend, architect Max Mayer, to design a house for them on wooded property they owned eight miles from downtown Little Rock and, at the time, well outside of the city limits. Simon later wrote of Mayer that “because he was also a dear friend, I’m sure he took more pleasure watching …

Jones, Celesta Fern

Celesta Fern Jones was an American gospel singer, songwriter, and musician. Compared by some music writers to Patsy Cline, she is best known for her song “I Was There When It Happened,” which was recorded by Jimmie Davis, Johnny Cash, and others. Despite her talents as a singer and a flare for rockabilly, she recorded only one full album (under the name Fern Jones) and retired from the music business at a relatively young age. Fern Salisbury was born on April 6, 1923, in Oil City, Louisiana. She was the daughter of Tennessee native Charles W. Salisbury, whose father was from England. Charles Salisbury served in the army during World War I as a private. Her mother was Zula Annie …

Jones, Edith Irby

Edith Irby Jones was the first African American to attend and to graduate from the University of Arkansas Medical School, now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), in Little Rock (Pulaski County). Not only was she a pioneer in the desegregation of higher education in Arkansas and the South, but she also served as a highly successful doctor, educator, and philanthropist in Arkansas, Texas, and overseas. Edith Irby was born on December 23, 1927, near Conway (Faulkner County) to Robert Irby, a sharecropper, and Mattie Buice Irby, a maid. Her father died when she was eight, and the family moved to Hot Springs (Garland County). Irby’s older sister died of typhoid fever at the age of twelve, largely …

Jones, Maxine Temple

Maxine Temple Jones was a Hot Springs (Garland County) businesswoman during the period from 1945 to the early 1970s. A well-known madam with numerous political connections, she managed a lucrative brothel operation that catered to politicians, businessmen, and mobsters. She documented her life in an autobiography published in 1983 titled Maxine “Call Me Madam”: The Life and Times of a Hot Springs Madam. Dora Maxine Temple was born on June 15, 1915, in Johnsville (Bradley County) to David F. Temple and Maude Orr Temple. She had five brothers and one sister. Her father was a farmer and logging contractor. When referring to her early youth, Temple described herself as a “tomboy” who preferred spending time with her father in the …