Time Period: Divergent Prosperity and the Arc of Reform (1968-2022)

Arkansas Business Publishing Group

Arkansas Business, a weekly newspaper and website based in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is the leading source of business news and information in the state. Started in the spring of 1984, the newspaper initially struggled before becoming a publishing powerhouse. In the twenty-first century, the business has dozens of employees in its downtown namesake River Market District office building. Arkansas Business was the brainchild of twenty-three-year-old Dan Owens, a Warren (Bradley County) native who was then the editor of the Jacksonville Daily News. Owens had created a business plan featuring a rate card, business articles, advertising contracts, and logo/letterhead/business cards. He was prepared to publish his first issue on a shoestring budget when a journalism colleague and friend, Arkansas Gazette …

Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail

The Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail is a walking tour in Little Rock (Pulaski County) that commemorates people and places that have played important roles in the state’s journey toward equal rights for all. A part of the United States Civil Rights Trail, the Arkansas trail was created by University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity to recognize “the sacrifices and achievements made by those who fought for racial and ethnic justice in Arkansas.” The trail also serves to raise awareness both for tourists and Arkansas residents of the important place of the civil rights legacy in the state’s history, the full extent of which is often overlooked. The several-blocks-long trail begins just outside the …

Bazzel, David

David Bazzel is an Arkansas media personality, public speaker, and sports promoter who came to Arkansas at age seventeen to play football for the Razorbacks at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). He later became well known for his morning drive show on radio station KABZ-FM, 103.7, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) and his leadership of the Little Rock Touchdown Club, one of the largest clubs of its type in the country. Bazzel helped elevate Razorback sports to Arkansas’s most prominent cultural institution. Harold David Bazzel was born on October 13, 1963, in Panama City, Florida, to Carolyn Branch Bazzel and Harold Bazzel. He excelled in athletics, leading his high school football team at A. Crawford Mosley …

City of Fort Smith v. Wade

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), one of the most significant governmental reform laws ever enacted by the Arkansas General Assembly, withstood many efforts in the state legislature and the courts to curtail the public’s right to know what state and local governments were doing. The efforts multiplied in the second and third decades of the twenty-first century. One such tactic that did succeed was a lawsuit, cited as City of Fort Smith v. Wade, in which the Arkansas Supreme Court altered the meaning of a public meeting so that private emails among city officials about an issue before the city board of directors did not violate the FOIA because the emails probably did not directly affect the city board’s …

Greenwood Tornado of 1968

On April 19, 1968, an F4 tornado touched down and caused immense damage to the city of Greenwood (Sebastian County) and the nearby area. Lasting only four minutes, the twister resulted in more than a dozen deaths, more than 250 people injured, and over a million dollars in storm damage. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) used data from the 1968 Greenwood tornado to better understand the weather phenomenon. Greenwood, one of the two seats of Sebastian County, had a population between 1,500 and 2,000 in 1968. It boasted general merchandise stores, grocers, multiple hotels, and medical professionals. On April 19, around 3:15 p.m., heavy rain began to fall in the area. Shortly thereafter, a tornado was sighted as …

Holmes, John Clellon

John Clellon Holmes was a novelist and poet known primarily for helping to define the “Beat Generation” of writers. He taught creative writing and literature at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) from the mid-1970s until 1987. John Clellon Holmes was born on March 12, 1926, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, to John McClellan Holmes Sr. and Elizabeth  Franklin Emmons (Betty) Holmes. He had two sisters. During the Great Depression, Holmes’s father moved through a variety of odd jobs, with the family income supplemented when Holmes took a job delivering milk during high school. He dropped out of high school in 1942 and briefly took a job in the Reader’s Digest subscription department before moving to New York City …