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

MacArthur, Douglas

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, one of the six men to attain that rank, was born in Little Rock (Pulaski County). MacArthur Park and the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History in Little Rock bear his name. Douglas MacArthur was born in the Tower Building of the Little Rock Barracks (previously the Little Rock Arsenal) on January 26, 1880, the third son of Captain Arthur MacArthur and his wife, Mary Pinkney Hardy. Arthur MacArthur had served in the Wisconsin Twenty-fourth Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War and was stationed at the Little Rock Barracks. The MacArthurs remained in Arkansas only six months before the captain was reassigned to New Mexico. Before departing Little Rock, Douglas MacArthur was baptized …

MacKrell, James “Uncle Mac”

James “Uncle Mac” MacKrell made a name for himself in Arkansas, first through radio and then through politics. Known as “Uncle Mac” to his adolescent radio audience and as a radio evangelical to others, he is perhaps most remembered for his two campaigns for governor of Arkansas, in 1948 and in 1970. James MacKrell was born in Houston, Texas, on August 8, 1902. He lived in Texas until 1929, and there he attended primary and secondary schools as well as Southern Methodist University in Dallas. After moving to Arkansas in 1929, MacKrell began his career in radio in Fayetteville (Washington County). In 1930, he moved to Little Rock (Pulaski County) and accepted a job at KLRA. In 1934, MacKrell began …

Magie, Futha Cone

Futha Cone Magie helped pioneer community journalism in Arkansas during a period when most newspapers were family owned. He also furthered the interest of tourism in the state through his service on the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Commission. Cone Magie was born on October 12, 1924, in England (Lonoke County) to Albert Hugh Magie and Rose Beauchamp Magie. His father was an army barber in World War I, and both his parents operated a grocery store on Main Street in England as well as farmed. He was the third of five sons. Magie’s newspaper career began at age eight as a carrier for the Arkansas Gazette. He also milked cows and delivered bread to earn money. Magie was editor of …

Mann, Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson Mann Sr. served as the fifty-third mayor of Little Rock (Pulaski County) during a tumultuous two-year term that included the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. Woodrow Mann was born in Little Rock on November 13, 1916, to Fred Mann and Ruby Pritchard Mann. In 1934, he graduated from Little Rock High School. Growing up, he delivered ice for his father’s business and played baseball. He attended the University of Illinois on a music scholarship. While there, he played trombone in the First Regimental Band and was a member of business organizations. Also while in college, he met his future wife, Beverly Burnett, whom he married in 1938. They had two sons. Following graduation in 1938, …

Manuel, Dean

Dean Manuel played piano for several noteworthy bands of the mid-twentieth century, on the West Coast and in Nashville, Tennessee. Most notably, he played with Jim Reeves and the Blue Boys. Manuel died in a plane crash with Jim Reeves after leaving Independence County, where he had been helping Reeves with a land purchase. Dockie Dean Manuel was born in Cleveland (Conway County), where his family was working, on January 1, 1934. His parents were Dockie Dickson “Doffie” Manuel, who was a noted fiddle player, and Josephine Clementine (Josie) Burks; he was the youngest of four children and grew up in Jamestown (Independence County). Dean Manuel learned piano on his own at an early age and devoted much of his …

Marinoni, Rosa Zagnoni

Rosa Zagnoni Marinoni was poet laureate of Arkansas from 1953 to 1970. A prolific poet herself, she worked to promote a greater appreciation of poetry, to establish an annual Poetry Day in Arkansas, and to encourage poets in her own time and place. Rosa Zagnoni was born in Bologna, Italy, on January 5, 1888, and came to the United States with her parents in 1898. They lived in Brooklyn, New York. Her father, Antero Zagnoni, was a journalist and drama critic. Her mother, Maria Marzocchi, was a poet and artist, and her uncle, Federico Marzocchi, was also a poet. She married Antonio Marinoni in Brooklyn on July 30, 1908, and moved to Fayetteville (Washington County), where her husband was on …

Marion County Courthouse

The Marion County Courthouse is located in downtown Yellville (Marion County). The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program recognizes the two-story building as architecturally and historically significant as an example of a Queen Anne-style building with Art Deco influences. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 19, 1994. Even with all its contributions to Arkansas history, Marion County has been unlucky in keeping a courthouse. Since the Civil War, four courthouses have burned down. Union soldiers burned the first one, and additional courthouses burned down in 1887, 1899, and 1943. The fourth courthouse, set afire by an arsonist in 1943, had stood as an impressive representation of the Queen Anne and Romanesque styles. Law enforcement determined that …

Martin, Roberta Evelyn

aka: Roberta Evelyn Winston Martin Austin
Roberta Evelyn Winston Martin Austin was one of the most significant figures during gospel music’s golden age (1945–1960). A performer and publisher, she reached iconic status in Chicago, Illinois, where she influenced numerous artists (such as Alex Bradford, James Cleveland, and Albertina Walker) and had an impact on an entire industry with her innovation and business acumen. Roberta Evelyn Winston was born in Helena (Phillips County) on February 12, 1907, one of six children of William and Anna Winston, proprietors of a general store. She began studying piano at age six. Her family relocated to Cairo, Illinois, before she was ten, after arriving in Chicago in 1917, Winston played for various church functions, working with Thomas A. Dorsey, the “Father …

Massey, Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth Massey was a history professor noted for her early studies of women in the Civil War, years before women’s history courses became common in university history departments. Her books have continued to be important decades after their publication. Mary Elizabeth Massey (she used her full name throughout her life) was born on December 25, 1915, in Morrilton (Conway County) to Mary McClung Massey and Charles Leonidas Massey. After graduation from Morrilton High School, she attended Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner County). For multiple years, Massey was president of her sorority (in an era when Hendrix had fraternities and sororities), and she served on the Interfraternity Council, the dormitory council, and the Student Senate, in addition to serving one-year …

Massie, Samuel Proctor, Jr.

Samuel Proctor Massie Jr. overcame racial barriers to become one of America’s greatest chemists in research and teaching. As a doctoral candidate during World War II, he worked on the Manhattan Project with Henry Gilman at Iowa State University in the development of uranium isotopes for the atomic bomb. In 1966, the U.S. Naval Academy appointed him as its first black faculty member. Massie’s research over fifty years led to the development of drugs to treat mental illness, malaria, meningitis, gonorrhea, herpes, and cancer. Chemical and Engineering News in 1998 named him one of the top seventy-five chemists of all time, along with Marie Curie, Linus Pauling, George Washington Carver, and DNA pioneers James Watson and Francis Crick. Samuel Massie …

Maumelle Ordnance Works Bunker No. 4

Maumelle Ordnance Works Bunker No. 4, located at 4 Willastein Drive in Maumelle (Pulaski County), is a reinforced concrete structure built in 1942 to store picric acid and ammonium picrate produced to create explosives during World War II. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 24, 2006. The U.S. War Department approved the contract with the Cities Service Defense Corporation on July 15, 1941, to construct a plant to produce picric acid and ammonium picrate to be used in American weapons in World War II on 7,614 acres near West Marche (Pulaski County). Construction began on September 2, 1941, and by March 29, 1942, the first ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility began production. The Maumelle Ordnance …

Maxie Theatre

When the Maxie Theatre opened in August 1947 in Trumann (Poinsett County), it was considered to be one of the most modern theaters in the area. The Maxie represented a prime example of Art Deco–style architecture in the Trumann area. For many years, the theater was one of the few single-screen movie theaters in the northeastern Arkansas area in operation. The theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 7, 2011. It closed its doors in 2012. Local entrepreneur Zell Jaynes served three and a half years in the U.S. Army during World War II. Zell and his brother Lonnie ran and operated several businesses in the Trumann area, including the Allis-Chalmers tractor dealership, a taxi …

McBrien, Dean Depew (D. D.)

Dean Depew (D. D.) McBrien was a college professor and academic administrator at Henderson State Teachers College (HSTC)—now Henderson State University (HSU)—in Arkadelphia (Clark County) for eighteen years. D. D. McBrien was born on November 14, 1892, in Tecumseh, Nebraska, to Jasper Leonidas McBrien and Eva Forbes McBrien. The oldest of five children, McBrien graduated from high school in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1909 and entered the University of Nebraska. McBrien first worked at the high school level, serving as principal of the high school in Phillips, Nebraska, in the 1912–13 school year. He graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1914 and obtained a position at Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC)—now the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner …

McCain, Paul Moffatt

Dr. Paul Moffatt McCain served as president of Arkansas College (which later became Lyon College) from 1952 to 1969, the second-longest consecutive presidential tenure in the institution’s history. Only the first president, Isaac J. Long, served longer. McCain led the college though a period of growth, with enrollment tripling, the budget increasing by more than 600 percent, the location moving a mile to the east, and new academic buildings and residence halls springing up. His most significant accomplishment, however, was gaining accreditation for the school from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, a step that gave Arkansas College greater credibility and opened the door to new funding resources. Paul McCain was born on January 25, 1920, in Atlanta, …

McClellan, John Little

John Little McClellan served longer in the U.S. Senate than any other Arkansan (1942–1977) and was one of its most powerful members. Under McClellan’s leadership, the Senate conducted some of its most significant investigations, including probes into the activities of such men as Jimmy Hoffa, Dave Beck, and Billie Sol Estes. Today, the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System serves as a notable example of the senator’s belief that large federal projects would boost Arkansas’s prosperity. John McClellan was born on February 25, 1896, on a farm near Sheridan (Grant County) to Isaac S. and Belle Suddeth McClellan. The McClellans were staunch Democrats and named their son for Congressman John Little. Educated in public schools, McClellan became interested in law and …

McCool, John Thurman (Murder of)

John Thurman McCool, a prominent businessman of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), was rebuilding his life after serving a prison sentence for forging state treasury warrants when he was shot to death outside Sheridan (Grant County) in 1962. McCool’s murder remains unsolved. The mystery surrounding the killing and the strange circumstances of his life in the six years prior to it made the murder a subject of rumors of a mob killing, of revenge, and of silencing a man who knew too much, although no evidence of any of those motives ever emerged. Thurman McCool was born in Sheridan on August 18, 1913. He grew up in Pine Bluff, married a Pine Bluff woman, and was prominent in the business and …

McCoy, Rose Marie

Rose Marie Hinton McCoy broke into the white, male-dominated music business in the early 1950s to become a highly sought-after songwriter whose career lasted over six decades. More than 360 artists have recorded her tunes, including Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, and Sarah Vaughan. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame in 2018. Marie Hinton was born in Oneida (Phillips County) on April 19, 1922, to Levi Hinton and Celetia Brazil Hinton. She and her older brother and sister attended the area’s two-room elementary school, went to church regularly, and worked on the forty-acre farm their parents rented. Though Oneida was located in the Mississippi Delta, often referred …

McCright, Ewell Ross

Ewell Ross McCright was an Army Air Corps lieutenant in World War II. While a prisoner of war, he secretly recorded detailed information about fellow prisoners of war while captive in Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany. McCright was awarded the Legion of Merit posthumously in 2004 after his ledgers were published. Ewell McCright was born on December 4, 1917, in Benton (Saline County) to Lewis Ross and Minnie Lee (Donham) McCright. He never married or had children. On December 4, 1940, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He applied for aviation cadet training on June 21, 1941, and was assigned to training as a bombardier on the B-17 on August 6. McCright was a B-17 bombardier with the 360th …

McDaniel, Irven Granger

Irven Granger McDaniel was a World War II bomber pilot and prisoner of war (POW) who, after returning home, joined his father’s architecture firm and later formed his own, designing a number of noteworthy buildings in Hot Springs (Garland County). Irven Granger McDaniel was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 24, 1923, one of four children of architect Irven Donald McDaniel and Camille Lewis McDaniel. McDaniel’s father had established a practice in Hot Springs by 1930, and McDaniel was a student at Hot Springs High School and taking flying lessons by the time he was seventeen years old. As Europe became embroiled in World War II, McDaniel went to Canada and enlisted in the Royal Air Force on July 4, …

McDonald, Maurice Neal “Nick”

Maurice Neal “Nick” McDonald was a patrolman for the Dallas Police Department who achieved international renown for arresting Lee Harvey Oswald shortly after the murder of John F. Kennedy. Nick McDonald was born on March 21, 1928, in Camden (Ouachita County), the second of three sons born to Beulah Lee Womack McDonald and Thomas “Bid” McDonald, a laborer in the southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana oil industry. After McDonald’s younger brother died, his parents divorced, and his mother moved to Maine; McDonald remained in Arkansas with his grandparents, Charles Womack, a local businessman, and his wife, Laura. While attending Camden High School, McDonald was given the moniker “Nick,” and, with his grandmother’s reluctant permission, he joined the U.S. Navy at …

McDonnell, James Smith, Jr.

James Smith McDonnell Jr. was one of the most significant aerospace industrialists of the twentieth century, building McDonnell-Douglas into the second largest military and commercial aviation corporation in the United States. James McDonnell was born on April 9, 1899, in Denver, Colorado, to James Smith McDonnell Sr. and Susie Belle McDonnell. The youngest of four McDonnell children, he was raised in central Arkansas, graduating from Little Rock High School in 1917. He spent his childhood in Altheimer (Jefferson County), where his parents had one of their two mercantile stores. Although McDonnell initially leaned toward a career in politics, his father encouraged him to pursue a career more suited to his personality. Completing his BS in physics with honors at Princeton …

McFerrin, Robert, Sr.

Robert McFerrin Sr. was an African-American baritone opera and concert singer who became the first black male to appear in an opera at the Metropolitan Opera house in New York City, his debut following by less than three weeks the well-publicized breaking of the color barrier by contralto Marian Anderson. However, McFerrin’s career at the Met was brief, being limited to ten performances in three seasons over three years. Although he sang in European opera houses and performed concerts extensively, he failed to attain major prominence. He is best remembered as the father of singer and conductor Bobby McFerrin, with whom he sometimes performed. He was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 1995. Robert McFerrin was born on March …

McGehee National Guard Armory

The McGehee National Guard Armory was built in 1954 and reflects standardized plans that featured open floor plans, steel-framed roofs, and concrete block walls—a functional design typical of National Guard armories built during a period when larger facilities were needed. Citizen-soldier militias have had a constant presence in the United States since the colonial era, but it was not until Congress passed the Militia Act of 1903—also known as the Dick Act for sponsor Senator Charles W. F. Dick, chairman of the Committee on the Militia—that the National Guard became an official partner in the nation’s armed services, receiving federal support for training, equipment, and wages. Arkansas’s state militia was organized into the Arkansas National Guard as a result of …

McHaney, James Monroe

James Monroe McHaney, a Little Rock (Pulaski County) native who graduated from law school in 1942, was recruited in 1946 to participate in the trials of German Nazi war criminals after World War II. In his obituary in the New York Times in 1995, he was lauded for his success as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials. James McHaney was born on April 23, 1918, one of the six children of Edgar L. McHaney, who was later an Arkansas Supreme Court justice, and Gail Myers McHaney. After receiving both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree from Columbia University, he joined a New York law firm. (This was during World War II, but he was determined physically unqualified for military …

McKennon, Pierce Winningham “Mac”

Pierce Winningham “Mac” McKennon was a talented musician but is more widely remembered as a famous World War II flying ace. He destroyed twenty German aircraft and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with four clusters, the Air Medal with sixteen clusters, the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Unit Citation, and the Croix de Guerre. Pierce McKennon was born in Clarksville (Johnson County) on November 30, 1919, to Dr. Parma D. McKennon, a dentist, and Inez Winningham McKennon. He had two older brothers. The family moved to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in 1921. He graduated from St. Anne’s Academy in Fort Smith and entered the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) on a music scholarship in 1937, but he left …

McLarty, Thomas Franklin (Frank), II

Frank McLarty was an Arkansas business leader who was prominent in the automobile business from the 1950s through the 1970s, expanding on the operation that his father, Thomas F. “Mr. Tom” McLarty, had been associated with in Hope (Hempstead County) since 1921. Along with acquiring other Ford Motor Company dealerships in southwest Arkansas, McLarty formed what would become the largest truck leasing system in Ford’s national dealer network. Thomas Franklin (Frank) McLarty II was born on November 2, 1919, in Hope as the only child of Thomas McLarty and Kathleen Briant McLarty. He graduated from Hope High School in 1938. He married Helen Hesterly of Hope on March 14, 1943, and they had two sons, Thomas Franklin III (Mack) and …

McMath, Betty Dortch Russell

aka: Betty Dortch Russell
aka: Betty Russell
Betty Dortch Russell McMath became Arkansas’s most prominent portrait artist during the second half of the twentieth century. Her commissions included governors, judges, literary figures, and numerous business, civic, and social leaders. Beyond portraiture, her paintings seized the everyday moments of small-town life in Arkansas and chronicled its plantation culture. She produced portraits of five Arkansas governors, including Sid McMath, who was her second husband. Betty Ruth Dortch was born on July 14, 1920, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the daughter of Steele Dortch and Mabel Wittenberg Dortch. She had one sister, Judith. The family lived on 1,200 acres near Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke counties) in a home her father built. The house was situated on Bearskin Lake about one …

McMath, Sid

aka: Sidney Sanders McMath
Sidney Sanders McMath—who became a prosecuting attorney, decorated U.S. Marine officer, and governor—rose to national attention by prosecuting Hot Springs (Garland County) mayor Leo McLaughlin, and he used that exposure to launch a campaign for governor. He was a close political friend to President Harry Truman and a dedicated foe to the Dixiecrat movement that tried to control the Democratic Party in the South in the 1948 presidential campaign. Sid McMath was born on June 14, 1912, to Hal Pierce McMath and Nettie Belle Sanders McMath in Columbia County. McMath’s father inherited the family farm when his father, the county sheriff, died in a shootout with bootleggers. McMath’s father had a restless spirit and gave up the farm before McMath was …

Meahl, Helen Mae Eidson Buchanan

Helen Meahl served in the Fifty-fifth Arkansas General Assembly, representing Nevada County, from 1945 to 1946. She later served as a professor of sociology in Tennessee and Pennsylvania.  Helen Mae Eidson was born in Springdale (Washington and Benton counties) on September 3, 1912, one of four children in the family of Robert Anson Eidson, who was a farm laborer, and Ruby Ann O’Neil Eidson, a homemaker. After graduating from Springdale High School in 1931, she lived with an aunt and uncle in Oklahoma for a year then attended Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee for one semester.  Moving back and enrolling at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), Eidson was vice president of the Home Economics Club, president of the Baptist Student Union, active in the YMCA, on the editorial staff of Arkansas Agriculturalist magazine, and named Who’s Who in Ag School, one of four senior women …

Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge

The Memphis-Arkansas Memorial Bridge on Interstate Highway 55 connects Arkansas with Tennessee at Memphis. Since its opening on the morning of December 17, 1949, the span has served as a vital link for automotive traffic to cross the Mississippi River. When the Frisco Bridge was built for railroads in 1892, automobile traffic was not a factor. The Harahan Bridge, the second bridge linking Arkansas and Tennessee, opened in the summer of 1916. Due to increasing numbers of automobiles on both sides of the river, carriageways were hung off both sides of the Harahan in 1917. These provided a single lane for traffic on either side of the bridge. Although Arkansas cars could cross the Mississippi River at Memphis beginning in …

Memphis-Arkansas Speedway

During a four-year span in the 1950s, the Memphis-Arkansas Speedway located near Lehi (Crittenden County) was the longest racetrack and one of the fastest racetracks on the NASCAR circuit. Only Darlington Speedway in South Carolina and the beach course in Daytona, Florida, saw speeds exceeding the Arkansas speedway’s. In the twenty-first century, approximately a third of premier NASCAR races are run on 1.5 mile, oval tracks; the Memphis-Arkansas Speedway was the first of this kind of track. The paper clip–shaped track, one and half miles in length, was made up of 550-foot-radius, high-banked turns, connected by 2,500-foot straights. “I remember going there a long time ago. We raced there in the summer and I went with Daddy,” said seven-time NASCAR …

Mercer, Christopher Columbus, Jr.

Christopher Columbus Mercer Jr. was an advisor to Daisy Bates during the 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. As field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), his legal background helped Bates understand and respond to the flood of litigation against the NAACP. Christopher Mercer was born Castor Mercer Jr. on March 27, 1924, in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), to Castor C. and Tarvell Linda Mercer; his mother soon changed his name. His father worked as a mechanic for the St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt) Railroad. His mother owned a dry-cleaning business. He has one brother and one half-brother. Mercer received his AB in social services from Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical & Normal College …

Merci Train

aka: Gratitude Train
aka: Train de Reconnaissance
Also known as the “Thank You” Train, the Merci Train was the response of the people of France to food shipments sent by Arkansas and other American states to post–World War II western Europe. In 1947, radio commentator and syndicated columnist Drew Pearson launched the effort to send food to Europe. Local efforts were organized through the Chamber of Commerce of North Little Rock (Pulaski County). Thanks to rice growers and farmers throughout the state, three and a half train boxcar loads of rice and half a boxcar load of wheat were collected, plus one boxcar load of canned goods gathered by Lions Clubs in northwestern Arkansas. These five boxcars of food were shipped, free of charge, by Rock Island …

Meyer, Rhena Salome Miller

aka: Goat Woman of Smackover
Rhena Salome Miller Meyer—better known as “the Goat Woman”—lived in Smackover (Union County) for over fifty years. Her sometimes reclusive nature, numerous pet goats, and considerable musical talents as a “one-woman band” all contributed to her folk-figure status in the region. Rhena (sometimes spelled Rhene) Miller was born in Orwin, Pennsylvania, on July 26, 1905. Her father, John R. Miller, was a Quaker who worked on a dairy farm and had a traveling medicine show that promoted the Seven Sisters Hair Tonic. He is said to have used young Rhena as a model in advertising the hair-growth tonic; however, as with much of her life story, no evidence has been found for this. Her mother, Katie Kessler, was an opera …

Mickel, Lillian Estes Eichenberger

Lillian Estes Eichenberger Mickel pioneered women’s roles in multiple fields. She served as a professional photographer, founded a nursing home, established a unique facility for handicapped children, was an accomplished portrait painter, and served as Johnson County’s historian. Lillian Eichenberger was born in Clarksville (Johnson County) on June 14, 1909, to Lafayette Eichenberger and Martha Louisa Black Eichenberger. She had seven siblings. Her father, a house painter, died in 1912. Her mother was an extremely talented seamstress. At the age of twelve, Eichenberger went to work in M. E. Anderson’s photography studio in order to give financial help to her widowed mother. She learned the photography business, becoming the first woman photographer in the state to make and distribute colored …

Mike Meyer Disfarmer Gravesite

Mike Disfarmer was a Heber Springs (Cleburne County) mid-twentieth-century portrait photographer whose work gained fame and popularity some years after his death. His Cleburne County gravesite was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 2009. Disfarmer is believed to have been born in Indiana in the early 1880s and to have moved to Stuttgart (Arkansas County) at an early age. After his father’s death, he and his mother then moved to Heber Springs. By 1926, he had built his own photography studio, where he lived and worked, earning a simple living for over forty years by photographing rural people for a few cents a sitting. Many believe that he changed his fame from Mike Meyer to …

Miller, Asbury Mansfield

Asbury Mansfield (A. M.) Miller was an African American who served for many years as an educator in Batesville (Independence County). A. M. Miller, the son of Randal and Pollie Miller, was born on February 4, 1893, in Perla (Hot Spring County). His father, a native of Mississippi, worked in a sawmill there. Miller graduated from Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock (Pulaski County), and he later did graduate work at what is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). During World War I, he worked as a waiter at Fort Logan H. Roots in North Little Rock (Pulaski County). On May 25, 1921, he married Ethel O. Walter in Clark County. At around this time, he worked …

Mills, Wilbur Daigh

Wilbur Daigh Mills served in the U.S. House of Representatives from January 1939 to January 1977, becoming one of the top three longest serving Arkansas officials. Mills is known for his role as architect for Medicare, interstate highways, Social Security, tax reform, and many other policies. He was also the longest continuously serving chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, becoming a member of the committee in 1942, becoming chairman in 1958, stepping down as chairman in 1975, and retiring from the committee and Congress in 1977. When anyone in Washington DC spoke of “Mr. Chairman,” everyone understood that the reference was to Mills. Wilbur Mills was born May 24, 1909, in Kensett (White County) to Ardra Pickens Mills, …

Millwee, Minor Wallace

Minor Wallace Millwee was a distinguished justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court who was the first political victim of the surge of racism that followed the showdown over school desegregation at Little Rock Central High School in 1957. After Governor Orval E. Faubus dispatched National Guardsmen to stop nine Black students from entering the high school, and President Dwight Eisenhower nationalized the guard and sent federal troops to protect the Black students in school, former state senator James D. Johnson, Arkansas’s most determined segregationist, ran against Justice Millwee in 1958, calling him “a pawn of integration,” although the judge had never expressed an opinion publicly about the issue. Johnson posited that his own election, rather than Millwee’s, would show the …

Minor, James Calvin (Jim)

James Calvin (Jim) Minor was an American country singer/songwriter, producer, publisher, disc jockey, and record label owner. He recorded country music for labels including Mercury and United Artists and managed the careers of other significant recording artists. Minor recorded under the name Jimmy Minor until 1960, when he recorded for United Artists as Jim Minor. Jim Minor was born on January 20, 1931, in DeValls Bluff (Prairie County). His mother, Margaret Meyer Minor, was a niece of noted photographer Mike Disfarmer. He learned to play the guitar and sing at an early age. When he was a teenager, he won a talent contest at what is now the Arkansas State Fair and Livestock Show; the prize was to go to …

Minute Man

Minute Man of America was a pioneering fast-food chain founded by Little Rock (Pulaski County) native Wesley T. (Wes) Hall (1915–2002). At the height of its operation during the 1960s and 1970s, Minute Man had fifty-seven locations—some franchised, some company-owned—in Arkansas and seven surrounding states. By 2018, the only Minute Man location in operation was in El Dorado (Union County). A location in Jacksonville (Pulaski County) opened in 2020, and a food truck began operating in downtown Little Rock in 2021. The first Minute Man restaurant opened at 407 Broadway in Little Rock on May 26, 1948, as a coffee shop with twenty-four-hour service. Hall had three partners at the time: Oliver Harper, Walter Oathout, and Alton Barnett. In 1956, …

Mitchell, Bobby

Robert Cornelius (Bobby) Mitchell played professional football for the Cleveland Browns and the Washington Redskins before becoming a scout for the Redskins. He is the only athlete born in Hot Springs (Garland County) to have been selected to the National Football League (NFL) Hall of Fame. Bobby Mitchell was born in Hot Springs on June 6, 1935, to the Reverend Albert Mitchell and Avis Mitchell. He became a four-sport standout at Langston High School in Hot Springs. The local media referred to Mitchell as “Mr. Touchdown” due to the talents he exhibited on the high school gridiron. In 1953, the senior-packed Langston team, coached by Fred Mason, took the Negro State Football Championship, going undefeated in conference play. Mitchell was …

Mitchell, Juanita Jackson

Juanita Jackson Mitchell was a pioneering African-American attorney whose many accomplishments included being the first black woman to practice law in Maryland. Born in Arkansas, she grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. There, she became a civil rights attorney, as well as the matriarch of one of Maryland’s most politically influential black families. Juanita Elizabeth Jackson was born on January 2, 1913, in Hot Springs (Garland County) to Keiffer Albert Jackson and Dr. Lillie Mae Carroll Jackson. Keiffer Jackson was an exhibitor of religious and educational films, which he showed across the country, and he and his wife were apparently in the midst of one of the exhibition tours when their daughter was born, but as soon as they were able, …

Mitchell, Richard Bland

The Right Reverend Richard Bland Mitchell was the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas. During his episcopate from 1938 through 1956, his leadership and administrative talent greatly improved the health of the weakened diocese he inherited. He was instrumental in creating a training and conference center on Petit Jean Mountain, named Camp Mitchell in his honor. His stance in agreement with the U.S. Supreme Court’s desegregation decision in Brown v. Board of Education set the stage for further Episcopal civil rights work in Arkansas. Richard Bland Mitchell (known as Bland) was born in Rolla, Missouri, on July 26, 1887, to Ewing Young Mitchell and Corinne Medley Mitchell. Mitchell attended the Rolla public schools and then the Sewanee Grammar …

Mitchell, William Starr (Will)

William Starr Mitchell was a distinguished Arkansas lawyer who emerged as a leader in 1959 during the crisis involving the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School and the subsequent closing of the city’s schools, serving as campaign manager for Stop This Outrageous Purge (STOP). Mitchell was long remembered for his television appearance in the midst of a recall election aimed at ousting segregationists from the school board when he told Governor Orval Faubus: “Governor, leave us alone! Let us return our community to a rule of reason.” Will Mitchell was born on June 5, 1907, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the son of William Starr Mitchell and Frances Emily Roots Mitchell. His father was affiliated with the Democrat Printing …

Montana, Patsy

aka: Ruby Blevins
Patsy Montana was a pioneering female country music singer whose signature song, “I Want to Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” was the first record by a female country artist to sell a million copies. Patsy Montana was born Ruby Blevins on October 30, 1908, near Hot Springs (Garland County). She was the eleventh child and only daughter of farmer Augustus Blevins and his wife, Victoria. By the 1920 census, the family was living in Hempstead County. Raised on church songs, fiddle music, and the music of country star Jimmie Rodgers, Blevins headed to Los Angeles with her brother and sister-in-law in 1930; hoping to catch the public’s eye, she changed the spelling of her first name to Rubye. She studied violin …

Moon, Wallace Wade (Wally)

Wallace Wade (Wally) Moon, named for one of the most prominent football coaches of the era, played twelve seasons of major league baseball. A member of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers, he won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1954 and made major contributions to the Dodgers’ World Series championship teams in 1959, 1963, and 1965. Wally Moon was born on April 3, 1930, in Bay (Craighead County) to Henry Albert Moon and Margie Leona Vernon Moon, the middle child in a family of two boys and a girl. Moon was unusual for his time because when he signed his first professional contract, his father made sure to include a provision that allowed Moon to …

Moosberg, Carl Avriette

Cotton breeder Carl Avriette Moosberg demonstrated that advances in the early maturing of cotton were possible. His Rex variety, introduced in 1957, reduced expense for pesticide by shortening the time required to maturity, while offering disease resistance and strong fiber. The success of Rex encouraged all major cottonseed companies to develop earlier maturing cotton varieties. Moosberg’s research improved the economics of growing cotton in Arkansas in the mid 1900s. Carl Moosberg was born on August 24, 1905, in Tyler, Texas, the third of four sons born to Frank Olaf Moosberg and Anna Trofast, immigrants from Sweden. He graduated from high school in Wills Point, Texas, in 1923 and went to work for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in …

Moose, James Sayle, Jr.

James Sayle Moose Jr. was an American Foreign Service officer and diplomat. A specialist in the Middle East, he represented the United States in a number of positions in that region, playing an important role in both World War II and early Cold War diplomacy. Over the course of a career spanning more than three decades, he served in posts across the Middle East, joining a select group of diplomatic figures who represented the United States to five or more foreign governments or international organizations. James S. Moose Jr. was born on October 3, 1903, in Morrilton (Conway County) to James S. Moose and Ellen Howard Moose. He received his early education in the local schools before attending Kentucky Military …

Moreland, Whitt Lloyd

Whitt Lloyd Moreland, a native Texan, received a posthumous Medal of Honor for gallantry during the Korean War and is buried in his mother’s family cemetery near Mount Ida (Montgomery County). Whitt Lloyd Moreland was born on March 7, 1930, in Waco, Texas, the son of Lloyd W. Moreland and Patsy Whittington Moreland. The family moved around Texas when he was young, following construction jobs, but he went to high school in Austin and Junction City, Texas, where he excelled on the track team before graduating in 1948. After working briefly at an Austin bank and a construction company, Moreland enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in September 1948, serving a year at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, California, before …