Entries - Time Period: Modern Era (1968 - the Present) - Starting with F

Fairchild, Barbara

  Throughout her career, Barbara Fairchild has been an influential singer and songwriter in both country and gospel music. Barbara Fairchild was born in Lafe (Greene County) on November 12, 1950, to Opal and Ulys Fairchild. She was raised in Knobel (Clay County) until she and her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, when she was thirteen. Fairchild’s passion for performing began early; she first performed in front of an audience at age five in a school talent show. Two years after moving to St. Louis, Fairchild released her first single, “Brand New Bed of Roses,” for the Norman label, and it appeared on local television channels. After graduating from high school, Fairchild moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue a career in …

Fairchild, Barry Lee (Trial and Execution of)

On August 31, 1995, Barry Lee Fairchild became the eleventh Arkansan put to death under the state’s modern capital punishment statute, despite controversy over the methods used to extract a confession that was later repudiated by Fairchild. On February 26, 1983, Arkansas state troopers pursued a car driven by two black males who managed to abandon their car and run away. The car was later identified as belonging to Marjorie “Greta” Mason, whose body was found the next day near an abandoned farmhouse in Lonoke County. Mason, a twenty-two-year-old U.S. Air Force nurse, had been raped and shot twice in the head. Six days later, acting on information provided by a confidential source, police arrested brothers Robert and Barry Lee …

Faith Voices Arkansas

aka: Arkansas Interfaith Alliance
Faith Voices Arkansas, founded in 1994 as a chapter of the Interfaith Alliance national organization, has morphed from an organization focused on pulling together ministers and lay leaders from across the religious spectrum for “civil dialogue” about the intersection of faith and politics into a faith-based organization of the political left in the state. Since its founding, the organization has also waxed and waned in its level of visibility and activity. The national organization of which Faith Voices Arkansas was formed as a state chapter had come into being in early 1994 “to challenge the bigotry and hatred arising from religious and political extremism infiltrating American politics.” The Arkansas Interfaith Conference (renamed Interfaith Arkansas two decades later) sponsored the creation of …

Falco, Tav

aka: Gustavo Antonio Falco
Tav Falco is an innovative rock musician who combines rockabilly, blues, and fractured noise. He has created films and documentaries about musicians and the cultural scene in Memphis, Tennessee, in addition to touring across the globe. The New York Times describes Falco as a “singer, guitarist and researcher of musical arcane who hasn’t let his increasingly technical expertise and idiomatic mastery compromise the clarity of his vision.” Tav Falco was born Gustavo Antonio Falco on May 25, 1945, to Rita Rose Falco on the East Coast. After his mother married Horace Homer Nelson, a sailor from Arkansas, they settled in the rural land between Gurdon (Clark County) and Whelen Springs (Clark County), where Falco was raised. Falco moved to Memphis in …

Famous and Historic Tree Program

The purpose of the Arkansas Famous and Historic Tree Program (AFHTP) is to create a greater awareness and appreciation of the state’s trees through the recognition of their historical background. The AFHTP used four criteria to determine the historic status of a tree or tree community. These criteria were modeled after the National Register of Historic Places criteria and include a tree’s association with significant events, people, and landmarks. Significant horticultural, ecological, or structural characteristics, or ability to yield cultural information in local, state, or national history are also assessed. The AFHTP formally originated in 1995 within Arkansas State Parks, though its establishment had been the ambition of several state agencies since the 1970s. The creation of the program led …

Farkleberry Follies

The Farkleberry Follies were a popular musical and theatrical stage show that spoofed politicians and other newsmakers. The show was performed every other year for more than thirty years in the late twentieth century. Journalists and other media professionals produced, directed, and acted in the show, which was staged for part of a week each spring in odd-numbered years, when the Arkansas General Assembly was in session. Legislators were the objects of parodies in nearly every show. The Arkansas Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, which was chartered in 1961, began the Follies as a way to raise money for college scholarships for aspiring journalists. The seventeen shows—they began in 1967 and ended in 1999—produced more than $125,000 for …

Faucett, Adam

Adam Faucett is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Benton (Saline County). With his trademark long beard and powerful voice, one critic called him an artist who “roams the backroads and gas station parking lots of some strange, haunted country, hinting at a terrifying truth behind mundane imagery.” By 2019, he had released five albums as a solo artist, the last two on the Little Rock (Pulaski County) label Last Chance Records. Faucett lives in Little Rock, but he tours regularly with his band, the Tall Grass, across the country and in Europe. With its often dark lyrics and subject matter, he has described his music as “Arkansas Gothic” and “swampy soul.” Adam Faucett was born on February 24, 1982, …

Faulkner County Museum

The Faulkner County Museum is located near the Faulkner County Courthouse at 801 Locust Street in downtown Conway (Faulkner County). The museum features various exhibits of local history, including a circa 1850 dogtrot cabin, a Works Progress Administration (WPA) exhibit, and sports memorabilia from local athletes Ivan Grove, Bob Courtway, Stacy Pinkett, Elijah Pitts, Bryce Molder, and Scottie Pippen, among others. The upstairs portion of the museum showcases a model railroad built by museum volunteers. This exhibit replicates the Missouri Pacific Railroad’s path through Faulkner County. The building housing the Faulkner County Museum was used as a jail from 1896 until 1936, when a new courthouse/jail was built by the WPA. The old jail was renovated by the WPA and …

Fayetteville Shale

The natural gas field known as the Fayetteville Shale, development of which began in 2004, became recognized as one of the ten largest gas fields in the United States. The exploration of this resource was initiated by Southwestern Energy Company, which, by its high point in 2008, had booked sufficient natural gas reserves to heat every home in New York City for four years. This large find attracted other operators, creating a large, although short-lived, economic stimulus for Arkansas. The Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) estimated the economic impact of the leasing programs, drilling operations, and royalty payments generated by the development in its first decade of operation at …

Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge

Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge encompasses approximately 65,000 acres at the confluence of the Ouachita and Saline rivers, spreading across the borders of three counties—Union, Bradley, and Ashley—in southeastern Arkansas near the Louisiana Border. The refuge takes its name from the nearby town of Felsenthal (Union County). The refuge was established in 1975 in order to mitigate the environmental impact of the Ouachita and Black Rivers Navigation Project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which entailed the construction of locks and dams along both rivers in order to facilitate river traffic and prevent flooding. Felsenthal Lock and Dam on the Ouachita River impounds Lake Jack Lee, which the refuge surrounds. Numerous other waterways, such as Caney Bayou and Big Brushy …

Felts, Narvel

Albert Narvel Felts is a singer and songwriter best known for a string of commercially successful country music recordings in the 1970s. Over the course of his career, Felts has been known for performing a wide range of music, including rockabilly, pop, R&B, soul, and gospel, but it is his traditional country and rockabilly recordings that gained him the most attention. Narvel Felts was born on November 11, 1938, near Keiser (Mississippi County) to Albert and Lena Felts. In 1953, when he was fourteen, the family, including Felts and his older sister Ogareeda, relocated eighty miles north to the community of Powe, Missouri. As a teenager, Felts taught himself to play a guitar that, he has said, “was held together with …

Fendler, Oscar

Oscar Fendler was a prominent Arkansas lawyer who, during his nearly seven decades practicing law in Blytheville (Mississippi County), served as a leader of the state bar and worked to improve the administration of justice in Arkansas. Oscar Fendler was born on March 22, 1909, in Blytheville. His parents, Alfred Fendler and Ray Fendler, were Jews who immigrated to America from Kraków, Poland, around the turn of the century. After moving many times in search of work, the Fendlers eventually settled in the community of Manila (Mississippi County), where they opened a general store. They had four children, of whom Fendler was the eldest. Fendler attended public school in Manila through the tenth grade, which was the highest grade in …

Ferguson, John Lewis

John Lewis Ferguson—historian, minister, author, archival administer, and historic preservationist—served as Arkansas state historian and the director of the Arkansas State Archives (previous called the Arkansas History Commission) from 1960 to 2005, only the third person to hold that position since 1905. His forty-five-year tenure was the longest in the agency’s history. John Ferguson was born on March 1, 1926, on a farm near Nashville (Howard County) to farmer and World War I veteran Clarence Walter Ferguson and his wife, Nannye N. McCrary Ferguson. As a child attending the rural York’s Chapel School, he read every history book he could find. Early on, he decided to pursue a career in history. He graduated from Nashville High School in 1944. In 1951, he was …

Fernandez, Josie

Josie Fernandez was superintendent of Hot Springs National Park from 2004 to 2018—the first woman to lead the park. Fernandez served a total of twenty-five years in the National Park Service, with fourteen being spent in Hot Springs (Garland County). Under Fernandez’s leadership, Hot Springs National Park rehabilitated its historic bathhouses and founded community engagement programs such as the Artist in Residence Program. Josie Fernandez was born in Cuba in 1957; she has one younger brother. Her family eventually fled Cuba for political reasons and immigrated to the United States when she was twelve, settling in Hialeah, Florida, in 1969. She became an American citizen on July 4, 1976. She spent one year at Miami Dade Junior College and then …

Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas (FWCA)

The Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas (FWCA) incorporated in 1989 as a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the encouragement of local writers and assistance in helping them get published. The group got its start in the spring of 1984 when Petei Engleby, owner of a secondhand bookstore in Little Rock (Pulaski County), posted a sign in her store inviting anyone interested in writing romances to meet with her. Engleby and three other women—Chrissy (Leister) Willis, Mary Watson, and Cathy Johnson—met and organized as the Central Arkansas Romance Authors. The group grew in size and, at the beginning of 1986, applied to become a chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) but was advised that local chapters had to incorporate, that …

Fighting Mad

B-movie mogul Roger Corman was responsible for three films made in Arkansas. After directing Bloody Mama (1970), he produced Boxcar Bertha (1972), which was directed by Martin Scorsese, and Fighting Mad (1976), which was written and directed by Jonathan Demme. After directing three movies for Corman, Demme went on to direct major films like Silence of the Lambs (1991) and Philadelphia (1993). In 1976, Peter Fonda, the star of Fighting Mad, was near the end of his brief period of stardom after his hit Easy Rider (1969). Supporting actor Scott Glenn was at the beginning of his starring career. Corman once said that his films should have “a little violence but not too much; a little sex but not too …

Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, The

The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs is a 2003 novel by international bestseller Alexander McCall Smith, who was born in Zimbabwe and has taught law both there and in Edinburgh, Scotland. A follow-up to Portuguese Irregular Verbs (originally self-published in 1996), the novel takes place partially in and around the campus of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs follows the comic misadventures of Professor Dr. Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld of the Institute of Romance Philology in Regensburg, Germany, who is the pompous author of the linguistic monograph Portuguese Irregular Verbs. Von Igelfeld, who had regularly spurned invitations to lecture in the United States, finds himself seeking an opportunity to do exactly that …

Finney v. Hutto

aka: Hutto v. Finney
In this series of landmark court cases, prisoners at the Cummins Farm and Tucker Intermediate Reformatory units of the Arkansas prison system continued to challenge their conditions of confinement, several years after Chief Judge J. Smith Henley of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas declared in Holt v. Sarver I (1969) and Holt v. Sarver II (1970) that confinement in the prisons constituted cruel and unusual punishment, violating the Eighth and Fourteenth amendments. Judge Henley called the conditions that prisoners faced “a dark and evil world completely alien to the free world.” The prisoners were represented by attorneys Jack Holt Jr. and Philip Kaplan of Little Rock (Pulaski County). Henley’s original decision ordered the Arkansas Department of Correction to remedy the …

Fisher, Derek Lamar

Derek Fisher is one of the most successful basketball players to hail from Arkansas. After an exemplary high school and college career in Little Rock (Pulaski County), he won five championships as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He also set an NBA record for participation in the most playoff games at 259. In 2011, he was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Derek Lamar Fisher was born in Little Rock on August 9, 1974, to John and Annette Fisher. He has an older half brother, Duane Washington, who also played in the NBA, and a younger sister. The Fishers lived on West 22nd Street in Little Rock. Derek attended Wilson …

Fisher, George Edward

George Edward Fisher was a political cartoonist whose work influenced and helped define Arkansas politics for a generation. He created a series of visual metaphors and themes that were widely associated with the politicians he caricatured and became a part of Arkansas political folklore. Fisher focused primarily on political, social, and environmental issues. George Fisher was born on April 8, 1923, near Searcy (White County) to Charles W. Fisher, a tree nursery owner, and Gladys Fisher. His mother died when he was five, and his father alone raised Fisher’s two brothers, sister, and him. Fisher grew up in Beebe (White County), where he attended school and started the Beebe Grammar School News. Fisher’s father was an avid reader and encouraged …

Fisher, Jimmie Lou

Jimmie Lou Fisher, a pioneering female politician, was the state treasurer or state auditor of Arkansas for twenty-four years. She is the longest-serving state treasurer in Arkansas history. Fisher got her start in politics by being elected treasurer of Greene County in 1970, but her friendship and alliance with young Bill Clinton when he campaigned for Congress in 1974 launched her state political career. Her final race came in 2002, when Democratic Party leaders persuaded her to run for governor against the popular Republican governor Mike Huckabee, who was running for his second full term. Though heavily outspent and suffering from a painful back ailment, Fisher nevertheless received forty-seven percent of the votes. Jimmie Lou Cooper was born on December …

Fisher, Rosemary Beryl Snook “Snooky”

Rosemary Beryl Snook Fisher was an artist and pottery instructor for the Arkansas Arts Center for several years. She had an active interest in the preservation of the art forms of the Ozarks but was influenced by many diverse cultures. As a devoted teacher into her last years, she influenced many future artists. She had added local notoriety as the wife of George Fisher, the chief editorial cartoonist for the Arkansas Gazette. Her husband regularly wove her nickname, Snooky, into his cartoons; for many years, a favorite game among readers was to find the hidden nickname. Rosemary Snook was born in early 1927 in Burnham-on-Sea, England, to Harold George Snook and Rose Annie Elliott; she had three younger siblings. On …

Flint Creek Power Plant

The Flint Creek Power Plant, located near Gentry (Benton County) and operated by Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), is one of four coal-fired power plants in Arkansas. On April 9, 1974, SWEPCO and the Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) jointly filed an application with the Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) to build and operate a single-unit coal-fired power plant and related facilities in western Benton County near Gentry, close to the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line. SWEPCO would build and operate the plant. This application was the second request to build a major coal-fired generating plant in Arkansas filed within the first year after the Arkansas General Assembly adopted a law known as the Utility Facility Environmental Protection Act. The first request, …

Flood of 1978

On September 13, 1978, a large rainstorm subjected much of central Arkansas to record-setting amounts of rainfall. Due to the resulting flash floods, ten people drowned in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and three more died in Benton (Saline County). In addition to local authorities, Governor David Pryor activated the Benton and Little Rock National Guard units to assist in search and rescue efforts. The flood affected Arkansans in at least fifty-seven counties and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage. The storm began moving from west to east beginning on September 13. The National Weather Service reported that 8.10 inches of rain fell on September 13 alone, a record second only to the 8.81 inches that fell on April …

Flood of 2019

The flood along the Arkansas River that occurred in the spring of 2019 broke a number of high-water records and proved to be one of the costliest natural disasters in the state’s history. In addition, the flood cast light upon the state’s aging levee and transportation infrastructure. Several climatological factors combined to produce the flood. First, a mild winter and warmer than usual spring (likely exacerbated by global warming) led to early snowmelt in the Rocky Mountains, the source of the Arkansas River. During the spring months, especially in May, the Great Plains were hit by repeated storms that brought record numbers of tornadoes and record rainfall; high pressure over the southeastern states stalled this weather in the Midwest. For …

Flowers, Gennifer

Gennifer Flowers is a singer and former model best known for her affair with Governor Bill Clinton. The relationship, which she claimed lasted for twelve years, was revealed by the tabloid Star in the early winter of 1992 and threatened to derail Clinton’s 1992 campaign for president. Eura Gean Flowers, who was known growing up as Geannie Flowers, was born on January 24, 1950, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the only child of Gene and Mary Flowers. After her birth, the family left Oklahoma for Anchorage, Alaska, and then moved to Washington state and Modesto, California. They eventually settled in rural Brinkley (Monroe County), and her father developed a crop-dusting business. Flowers says that she wanted to be an entertainer from …

Fly-fishing

Fishing for food and recreation has played a significant part in Arkansas’s history. Accounts of Hernando De Soto’s expedition mention Native Americans (possibly in northeastern Arkansas around the St. Francis River) having developed complex canals and marsh ponds for keeping fish to be caught later at a chief’s leisure. By the mid-1800s, early illustrations of Arkansas show anglers fishing from a bank with a rod and line (probably using a worm or minnow). In the 1920s and 1930s, as automobiles became more common, state parks and hatchery personnel discovered that fishermen did not hesitate to travel 200 miles or more to good fishing waters. Incidental newspaper reports began to appear about this time mentioning fly anglers traveling from Batesville (Independence …

Foley, Blaze

aka: Michael David Fuller
Singer-songwriter Michael David Fuller worked under the names Depty (or Deputy) Dawg and then Blaze Foley, being best known by the latter. His songs have been recorded by singers such as Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and John Prine. Blaze Foley was born on December 18, 1949, to Edwin Fuller and Louise Fuller in Malvern (Hot Spring County). His family traveled as gospel performers and were known as the Singing Fuller Family. Foley began singing with the group at the age of eleven with his mother, brother, and sisters. When Foley was a baby, the family left Arkansas for Texas, settling in San Antonio and later the Dallas/Fort Worth area. While an infant, he contracted polio, which was cured …

Ford, Archibald Washington (Arch)

Archibald Washington Ford was commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education from 1953 until his retirement in 1978. He served under five governors: Francis Cherry, Orval Faubus, Winthrop Rockefeller, Dale Bumpers, and David Pryor. Under his leadership, the state undertook significant work to provide a quality education to all students regardless of their race, age, abilities, or location in the state. Arch Ford was born in Wooster (Faulkner County) on January 25, 1906, to Thomas Noah Ford (1872–1959) and Minnie Lee Clements Ford (1880–1954). He was the fourth of six children. His father was a farmer and a Baptist minister who served on the local school board as well as the Faulkner County Board of Education. His father helped lead …

Ford, Richard Carrel

Richard Carrel Ford is a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist whose formative years in Little Rock (Pulaski County) helped shape his career as a writer. He has written seven novels and five collections of short works and was the first person to be awarded both the Pulitzer and the PEN/Faulkner Award for the same book. Ford was born on February 16, 1944, in Jackson, Mississippi, to Parker Carrel and Edna Ford. His mother was a native of Arkansas, and his grandfather, Ben Shelley, managed the Marion Hotel in downtown Little Rock. As a child, Ford often spent his summers at the hotel and, during his teen years, worked as a lifeguard at the Little Rock Country Club. Ford recalls that his residence in …

Fordyce on the Cotton Belt Festival

The small town of Fordyce (Dallas County) celebrates the railroad and its historical significance with the annual Fordyce on the Cotton Belt Festival, which is held each year on the fourth Saturday in April. Along with fun for the community, the festival has a major financial impact on Fordyce and the surrounding area. Joe Bill Meador, a member of the board of directors of the Fordyce Chamber of Commerce, first had the idea for an annual festival. As Meador traveled across the Southern states, he saw how a festival could infuse life into a small town. In 1980, he began discussing the idea with the other members of the chamber. A committee was formed to plan a festival for Fordyce. …

Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center

The Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro (Craighead County) was built through the efforts of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC). It is one of four such nature centers that were built after the 1996 passage of a one-eighth-cent conservation sales tax. Named after Forrest L. Wood, former commissioner and longtime supporter of the AGFC, the center opened on August 25, 2004, after nearly two years of construction. Located on the northern, wider part of the 200-mile-long Crowley’s Ridge, the center provides the public an opportunity to view wildlife in its habitat and learn about the area’s history. The facility maintains several interactive indoor/outdoor exhibits and offers two related films. Educational programs focus on Arkansas’s history …

Fort Smith Regional Art Museum

The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum (RAM) is an art museum with exhibits, art classes, and a studio art school for children and adults. It serves as a regional center for art education and appreciation in the greater Fort Smith (Sebastian County) area. What today is RAM began in 1948 as the Arkansas Association of University Women (AAUW). In September 1950, the AAUW held its first exhibit at the KFPW Studios Fine Art Gallery in Fort Smith. The AAUW also formed a sketch class at Fort Smith Junior College, now the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith (UAFS). In 1951, the AAUW became the Associated Artists of Fort Smith (AAFS) and began exhibiting art and holding classes across the city. …

Fort Smith Sedition Trial of 1988

For seven weeks beginning on February 16, 1988, Fort Smith (Sebastian County) was the site of a major trial in which a twelve-person jury sought to determine the guilt or innocence of fourteen right-wing radicals who were charged with a variety of crimes, most prominently conspiracy to engage in sedition. After hearing from a total of almost 200 witnesses, the jury found none of the defendants guilty. In the almost two-month-long proceeding, federal prosecutors presented evidence intended to prove that ten of the defendants had conspired and plotted to overthrow the federal government while also asserting that the others were guilty of trying to kill a federal judge and a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent. According to the scenario …

Foster, Vincent Walker (Vince), Jr.

Vincent Walker Foster Jr. was a prominent Little Rock (Pulaski County) lawyer and close friend and associate of Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Although he had a distinguished legal career in Arkansas, he became a historically important figure for the last six months of his life, when he was deputy counsel for the White House in the administration of President Clinton. Despondent over the political turmoil in which he became involved, Foster committed suicide in a suburban Virginia park, triggering a series of investigations that became part of what was popularly called the “Whitewater scandal.” Vince Foster was born on January 15, 1945, to Vincent W. and Alice Mae Foster in Hope (Hempstead County), where his father …

Foster, William Franklin (Bill)

William Franklin (Bill) Foster was a longtime and influential member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. Serving in the state legislature for over three decades beginning in the early 1960s, he was particularly well known for his work on behalf of senior citizens. Bill Foster was born on August 2, 1916, in Lonoke County. He was the oldest of three children born to Joseph R. Foster and Josephine Margaret Crutchfield Foster. Foster grew up in Lonoke County, graduating from Lonoke High School in 1934. In the midst of the Great Depression, he worked for the Arkansas Department of Transportation as a statistician for eight years. In 1943, with World War II raging, he joined the U.S. Army Air Force. Discharged in …

Fouke Monster

Fouke (Miller County) is a small town in southwest Arkansas that attracted attention in the early 1970s when a resident of Texarkana (Miller County) reported being attacked by a mysterious creature there. A reporter for the Texarkana Gazette wrote an article about the events, and from that small publication, a legend was born. Fouke and its monster became famous and were featured in a 1973 movie. In May 1971, Bobby Ford reported to the Fouke constable that he was attacked at his house by a hairy creature that breathed heavily, had red eyes, and moved very fast. Ford said the man-like creature, which was about seven feet tall and three feet across the chest, put its arm around his shoulder …

Fourche La Fave River

The Fourche La Fave River rises in the Ouachita Mountains near Boles (Scott County) and flows east-northeast for approximately 140 miles through Yell County and Perry County before emptying into the Arkansas River south of the town of Fourche (Perry County), which takes its name from the river. It is impounded in Perry County by Nimrod Dam. The origin of the river’s name is open to debate; “fourche” is French for “fork,” and “La Fave” may be in reference either to a family that once lived along the river or to early settler Peter La Fave. The “fork” of the river is the South Fourche La Fave River, which rises in the Ouachita Mountains near Onyx (Yell County) and empties …

Frazier, George Thomas

George Frazier was a well-known business, civic, and political leader in Hope (Hempstead County) for six and a half decades. He served as a close friend and advisor to prominent Arkansas Democrats, most notably two Hope natives: Bill Clinton and Mack McLarty. Frazier was also a key figure in the effort to preserve Clinton’s boyhood home in Hope as a National Historic Site. George Thomas Frazier was born on October 29, 1918, in Anderson, Kentucky, to Leonard Leigh, a machinist, and Faye Thomas, a secretary. Leigh left his family when George was two, and his mother married John Joseph Frazier, a construction worker from St. Louis, Missouri, in 1923. John Frazier adopted George, and the family lived in St. Louis …

Friedman, Honey Bruce

aka: Honey Harlow
aka: Harriett Jolliff
Harriett Jolliff was an Arkansas-born entertainer best known as the wife and muse of comedian Lenny Bruce. Jolliff maintained ties to her Arkansan maternal grandparents and took Bruce to visit them on at least one occasion. Harriett Jolliff was born on August 15, 1927, in Manila (Mississippi County) to Murl Jolliff and Mabel Layson Jolliff. She had a younger sister, Virginia. Jolliff’s father left the family when Harriett was a young child and Virginia was an infant; he did not maintain contact with his daughters. Mabel traveled to Detroit, Michigan, to look for work. The girls spent much of their early years at the farm of their maternal grandparents, Anna and Oliver Layson, in Poplar Corner (Mississippi County). Jolliff spent …

Front Porch Stage

Located in Mount Ida (Montgomery County), the Montgomery County Front Porch Stage (MCFPS) is a nonprofit organization that produces free music concerts on the lawn of the Montgomery County Courthouse. Officially incorporated in 2013, MCFPS is governed by a five-member board of directors and raises money to provide musical instruments and equipment to schools in Montgomery County. The original idea for building a stage came from musicians and friends who were meeting on the courthouse lawn on Saturday afternoons to visit and play music. The stage started with a donated flatbed trailer, donated lumber, and volunteer labor in the summer and fall of 2000. Soon, a covered stage was constructed on the eastern side of the courthouse lawn, with a …

Froug, William (Bill)

Emmy Award–winning Bill Froug was a writer, producer, author, educator, and television executive whose career in radio and television had a significant impact upon the entertainment industry. Film critic Roger Ebert once said of Froug, “He is not merely as sharp as a tack; he is the standard by which they sharpen tacks.” William (Bill) Froug was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 26, 1922. He was raised by adoptive parents Rita and Bill Froug in Little Rock (Pulaski County), residing first in Hillcrest and later in the Quapaw Quarter. Froug attended Rightsell Elementary School, East Side Jr. High, and Little Rock Senior High School (now Central High). Summer breaks were often filled with Arkansas Travelers baseball games and …

Fuller, Bennie

Bennie Fuller is the all-time leading scorer in Arkansas boys’ high school basketball history and ranks fourth on the national scoring list (as of 2015). Fuller scored 4,896 points at the Arkansas School for the Deaf in Little Rock (Pulaski County) from 1968 to 1971. In 1971, Fuller scored 102 points in a game against Leola (Grant County). Fuller is third nationally on the per-game scoring average list (50.9 points per game during the 1970–71 season). Bennie Fuller was born on March 13, 1951, the son of Tammy Fuller, who worked at the Pine Bluff Arsenal, and Birdie Missouri Fuller. Fuller grew up near Hensley (Pulaski County), where he learned to shoot a basketball into a hoop made from a …

Fuqua, Lela Rochon

Lela Rochon Fuqua, whose professional name is Lela Rochon, has appeared in nearly fifty movies and television shows, starring alongside some of Hollywood’s elite actors, including Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Gene Hackman, Whitney Houston, Timothy Hutton, Eddie Murphy, and Tupac Shakur. She is a member of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. She was born Lela Rochon Staples in Torrance, California, on April 17, 1964, to Samuel Staples and Zelma Staples of Camden (Ouachita County). Her parents, both alumni of Lincoln High School, attended Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal College, now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). Her father graduated from Arkansas AM&N and went on to own and operate Aladdin Enterprises, a graphic-arts business in California, from …

Fussell, Robert Foreman (Bobby)

Robert Foreman (Bobby) Fussell had a long career as a lawyer championing the legal rights of disabled veterans and the deaf, prosecuting prominent state political figures, and presiding over federal bankruptcy courts. He was a U.S. bankruptcy judge for twenty years, most of them as the chief bankruptcy judge of the Arkansas courts. Bobby Fussell was born on January 1, 1938, at Forrest City (St. Francis County), one of three sons of James V. Fussell Jr. and Dorothy Hall Fussell. His father ran a cotton gin and a service station. Fussell got a degree in business in 1959 and a law degree in 1965 from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He then became a U.S. Army …