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

Greer, William Ezra

William Ezra Greer was a minister and civil rights and social activist in Arkansas in the 1960s and 1970s. Ezra Greer was born in Illinois around 1925, but a lack of documentation makes it impossible to identify his exact date of birth. Not much is known about his early life, but early on he became a minister with the Church of God in Christ. He became particularly active in the Church of God in Christ’s department of evangelism and directed the public relations efforts of the church. Greer also served as a “national evangelist” for the church and conducted revivals around the country. He appears to have been assigned to Alabama; settling in Birmingham in the early 1950s, he served …

Gridiron

The Gridiron Show is a satirical musical production that makes good-natured fun of prominent people in politics, business, the judiciary, and the legal profession. It is presented biennially in Little Rock (Pulaski County) by Gridiron Productions, Inc., a nonprofit corporation composed of lawyers and others associated with the legal profession. All cast members are either lawyers or connected to the legal profession by employment, family ties, or friendship, and all are unpaid. The director, choreographer, musical director, and band are paid professionals. The script is written by a group called the Clandestine Committee. The Gridiron Show was first presented in 1916 by members of what was then the Little Rock Bar Association at a Gridiron luncheon. The luncheon was held …

Griffin, John Timothy

John Timothy (Tim) Griffin has been a major figure in Arkansas Republican politics in the first decades of the twenty-first century, serving in a wide variety of positions, both elected and appointed. Griffin began serving as lieutenant governor in 2015, but with term limits ensuring that his term would be set to end in January 2023, he announced his candidacy for state attorney general in the 2022 elections. Tim Griffin was born on August 21, 1968, in Charlotte, North Carolina, the youngest child of a preacher and a teacher. The family moved back to their hometown of Magnolia (Columbia County) when Griffin was in sixth grade. After graduating from Magnolia High School, he went to Hendrix College in Conway (Faulkner …

Griggs, Mildred Barnes

Mildred Barnes Griggs served as professor and dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and is a nationally recognized leader in the field of home economics. She was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2015. Mildred Barnes was born in Marianna (Lee County) on March 11, 1942. After graduating from Robert R. Moton High School in Marianna, she studied at Arkansas AM&N College in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County)—which is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB)—graduating in May 1963 with a degree in education. She earned graduate degrees, including a doctorate, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1967 and 1970. After joining the faculty in 1970, she …

Grisham, John

John Grisham is an internationally known bestselling author of legal thrillers and of one fictionalized account of his childhood in Arkansas, A Painted House. Many of his books have been made into popular Hollywood movies. John Grisham was born in Jonesboro (Craighead County) on February 8, 1955, to John Grisham and Wanda Skidmore Grisham. At the time, his parents were helping the extended family on the cotton farm near Black Oak (Craighead County). When Grisham was four years old, the family began following his father’s construction jobs, including spending three years in Parkin (Cross County), before eventually settling in Southaven, Mississippi, though he and his four siblings came to the Black Oak farm to spend the summers with their grandparents. …

Group, The

The Group, Inc., is an intentional community (or commune) that was established at two locations in rural Arkansas before relocating to Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the mid-1970s. In Little Rock, they established a number of successful businesses, including the Internet service provider Aristotle, Inc. In 1964, a group of high school students from Odessa, Texas, formed a musical group named after their leader, Dixon Bowles. They grew in popularity, practicing and playing around Texas. Later, in Hollywood, they met with Dan Blocker, the actor who played Hoss in the television show Bonanza. In 1966, Blocker, who was originally from Odessa and knew of the group, let them use his name. Living in Hollywood, the Dan Blocker Singers became popular …

Gunter, James Houston (Jim), Jr.

Lawyer and politician James Houston Gunter Jr. was a prosecutor and judge for thirty-six years in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century, spending the final eight years of his public career as a justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court. He retired after one term on the Supreme Court and returned to a private law practice and cattle farming. James Gunter was born on March 8, 1943, in Atlanta, Texas, the oldest of four children of James H. Gunter Sr. and Helen Marie Long Gunter. His father went into the U.S. Army when Gunter was an infant, and he and his mother lived with his grandmother until World War II ended. The family lived in Arkansas on the farm …

Gwatney, Bill

Bill Gwatney was an Arkansas business and political leader who served in the Arkansas Senate for a decade and was later appointed chair of the state Democratic Party. His 2008 murder at Democratic Party headquarters made national and international headlines. William Alan Gwatney was born on August 26, 1959, to Harold and Syble Gwatney in Jacksonville (Pulaski County), where his father owned the city’s first Chevrolet dealership. After graduating from Jacksonville High School in 1977, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Following graduation, he joined the family business of operating three car dealerships in Pulaski County, and he ultimately served as CEO of Gwatney Chevrolet in Jacksonville. He …