Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area


Justice Jim and the Red Scare focus of Old State House Brown Bag talk today

Justice JimNovember’s Brown Bag Lunch Lecture is presented by Marie Williams.

Arkansas Senator and state Supreme Court Justice, James D. “Jim” Johnson has been portrayed as one of the most outspoken racist politicians of Arkansas’s history. His legacy includes an Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution that gave Arkansas the right to nullify federal law. He is also remembered for being a constant thorn in the side of Governor Orval Faubus.

A look at the evidence surrounding Johnson’s political career suggests that Johnson was not purely motivated by race. Johnson started the White Citizens’ Council of Arkansas in 1955 in response to the integration of the Hoxie School District. Hoxie became Johnson’s soapbox and the Citizens’ Council became his campaign vehicle. The tactics he used to fight integration in Hoxie were unlike those of other Arkansas segregationists. Instead of citing race as the reason for his campaign in Hoxie, Johnson brought the Second Red Scare to Arkansas. He appealed to a wider audience by accusing integrationists of being communists.

Using primary source information, this presentation outlines the methods used by Johnson in 1955 as he started his campaign for governor. Marie Williams is currently finishing her Master’s Degree in History from Arkansas Tech University. She is an Arkansas native who lives in Dover with her husband and their two children.


Tonight Tales from the South returns to Arkansas Arts Center

talesfromsouthEach Tuesday, Tales from the South features stories about life in the South told by the people who experienced them.  After a sell-out engagement in July, tonight it returns to the Arkansas Arts Center.

The storytellers for this edition are Gary Pittman, Michael Hylden, and Randi Romo

Music is by Amy and Brad Williams and blues guitarist Mark Simpson.

“Tales From the South” is a radio show created and produced by Paula Martin Morell, who is also the show’s host. The show is taped live on Tuesday. The night is a cross between a house concert and a reading/show, with incredible food and great company. Tickets must be purchased before the show, as shows are usually standing-room only.

“Tales from the South” is a showcase of writers reading their own true stories. While the show itself is unrehearsed, the literary memoirs have been worked on for weeks leading up to the readings. Stories range from funny to touching, from everyday occurrences to life-altering tragedies.

Dinner is served from 5pm to 6:30pm, the show starts at 7pm.  Admission is $10.  Dinner can be purchased separately.

You MUST purchase your ticket before the show.

Previous episodes of “Tales from the South” air on KUAR Public Radio on Thursdays at 7pm.  This program will air on November 20.


True Ghost Stories tonight on Tales from the South at Stickyz

The annual Scaredy-Tales Night at Tales from the South features three true ghost stories.

The featured storytellers are Amy Manning, Phillip Taylor, and Jimmie Meese Moomaw.  Live music is provided by The Salty Dogs and bluesman Mark Simpson.

Tonight’s program takes place at Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack.

“Tales From the South” is a radio show created and produced by Paula Martin Morell, who is also the show’s host. The show is taped live on Tuesday. The night is a cross between a house concert and a reading/show, with incredible food and great company. Tickets must be purchased before the show, as shows are usually standing-room only.

“Tales from the South” is a showcase of writers reading their own true stories. While the show itself is unrehearsed, the literary memoirs have been worked on for weeks leading up to the readings. Stories range from funny to touching, from everyday occurrences to life-altering tragedies.

Doors open for dinner, socializing at 5 pm; Live music at 6 pm; Dinner available for purchase until the kitchen closes at 6:30.  Show starts at 7 pm Tickets $10 (show only).

You MUST purchase your ticket before the show.

Previous episodes of “Tales from the South” air on KUAR Public Radio on Thursdays at 7pm.  This program will air on OCTOBER 30.


LR Cultural Touchstone: Margaret Deane Smith Ross

Ross bookMargaret Deane Smith Ross was born August 24, 1922 in Central Arkansas.  She attended both what is now Arkansas Tech University and the University of Arkansas. A journalism major at the latter, she left the university before graduating to marry Captain Edwin L. Ross in September 1942; he was killed in combat in Normandy on July 4, 1944.

Following the death of her husband, she lived in Little Rock and worked as a freelance writer for the Arkansas Democrat. In 1953 she became an associate editor of the Arkansas Historical Quarterly, a position she retained until 1993. She was a charter member of the Pulaski County Historical Society, and from 1953 to 1957 served as its journal’s first editor. From 1954 to 1957 she was a research assistant at Arkansas History Commission.

In 1957 she became the Arkansas Gazette historian and curator of the J.N. Heiskell Collection of Arkansiana; she remained with the Gazette for twenty-seven years. From 1958 to 1968 she wrote a historical column for the Gazette, the “Chronicles of Arkansas.” She was a charter member of the Arkansas Genealogical Society, founded by Walter Lemke in 1962. In 1968 she became a member of the Arkansas Historical Association’s board of directors, a position she occupied until 1980. In 1969 she published a book, Arkansas Gazette: The Early Years, 1819-1866: A History; it received the Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History. From 1979 to 1984 she wrote “Grass Roots,” a genealogical column for the Gazette. Also in 1979 she became the first fellow of the Arkansas Museum of Science and History. In April 2000 she received a lifetime achievement award from the Arkansas Historical Association.

As a historian for the Gazette, she became the de facto historian for the State of Arkansas.  Her knowledge of Arkansas history was unsurpassed during her lifetime.  She also served as an unofficial teacher to generations who were interested in learning more about the history of their state, and how to do that research.

 

She died in Little Rock in December 2002.


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LR Cultural Touchstone: Kathryn Donham Rice

Katy RiceKathryn Donham Rice was better known by her friends as Katy.  As a historian, she was an archivist and an author.

A native of Little Rock, she was a lifelong Methodist.  Her interest in Arkansas Methodist history led to her appointment as the Archivist of the Little Rock Conference of the United Methodist Church. In 1980, she authored A History of the First United Methodist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas 1831 – 1981 to commemorate the church’s sesquicentennial. She served as church historian for twenty-eight years, creating with her husband, James H. Rice, Jr., the History Hall where many Methodist historic photographs and artifacts are displayed. She was a board member of the Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church and a charter member of the Arkansas United Methodist Historical Society.

In the 1970’s she was employed at the Old State House Museum, first as a guide, then as Registrar, a position for which she trained at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. In 1986 she was appointed to serve on the Arkansas Sesquicentennial Commission as head of the Religious Organizations Task Force. This group sponsored four regional workshops on church history-writing and church archives management during the year.

Katy was an active supporter of Hendrix College, her alma mater.  She volunteered as archivist in the Winfred Polk United Methodist Archives and the Bailey Library.  She also was active in the Aesthetic Club, where she served as President; the Arkansas Women’s History Institute; the Pulaski County Historical Society; and the Arkansas Historical Association.  She wrote two additional histories which were published: The History of Lakeside Country Club and The History of Belcher Lake Farms.

For several years she was a very active volunteer for the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History.  She assisted with registrar duties, including processing many of the photographs in the Allison collection. For several hours every week, she could be found in the basement of the museum with her white archivist gloves on helping out.  She would also give tours of the museum once it opened.

 


LR Cultural Touchstone: Ann Nicholson

ann_nicholsonAnn Nicholson has been in Little Rock since the 1970s. She maintains the distinctive accent of her native Great Britain, which she puts to use as the “voice of UALR Public Radio” and the host of the weekly interview show “Art Scene.”

For more than 25 years, Ann Nicholson has shared the news and promoted cultural events in Central Arkansas via the KLRE/KUAR airwaves.  Host of “The Arts Scene,” an in-depth interview program that features local and international artists in all genres and a weekly arts calendar, Nicholson has loyal listeners who have enjoyed her interviews, her soothing and inviting British accent and her tireless enthusiasm for the arts. Those at KLRE/KUAR often refer to her as “the heart of Little Rock public radio.”

Being featured on Arts Scene has been a boon to many emerging organizations and institutions.  But more than that, her insightful and engaging interview style allows listeners to learn more about the artists and the artistic process.  The program feels less like an interview and more like a chance to eavesdrop on an entertaining conversation.

In addition to hosting the weekly interview program, she has been an active supporter of Little Rock’s arts community since her arrival.  She has been on the Board of Ballet Arkansas and UALR Friends of the Arts. She is often in the opening night audience at the Arkansas Rep.  She also rarely misses a performance of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.  Ann was a longtime member of the Little Rock Arts and Humanities Promotion Commission. She is a supporter of the Little Rock Musical Coterie and the National Federation of Music Clubs. When that organization’s national meeting was in Little Rock in 2002, she was involved in the planning of the meeting.

 


THE GREAT NEW ORLEANS KIDNAPPING CASE focus of Clinton School lecture this evening

nola kidnapTonight at the Clinton School, a discussion by Michael Ross of his new book, The Great New Orleans Kidnapping Case.

An associate professor of History at the University of Maryland. Ross offers the first full account of one of the events that electrified the South at one of the most critical moments in the history of American race relations. The book covers the kidnapping, where two African American women kidnapped seventeen-month-old Mollie Digby in front of her New Orleans home. From the moment it happens through the highly publicized investigation and sensationalized trial that followed, Ross paints a vivid picture of the Reconstruction-era South and the complexities and possibilities that faced the newly integrated society.

Ross’s book also serves as a reminder that a fascination with sensationalized trials is hardly an invention of the last twenty-five years.

The program begins at 6pm at Sturgis Hall.  Following the comments, Ross will sign his book.

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