On Sept. 21, 1863, Little Rock City Hall suspended operations for duration of Civil War

A few days after the defeat at the Battle of Little Rock, the City of Little Rock ceased operations on September 21, 1863.

Planning for this cessation had started in August, which would suggest that civic leaders were none too confident in the ability of Confederate forces to hold on to the city.  At the August 24, 1863, City Council meeting it was reported that the City’s funds (presumably Confederate) had been “placed in the hands of a reliable party who is well known to the Council.”  The identity of this “reliable party” has never been disclosed.

On September 21, the Council met and took three votes.  The first was to suspend the operation of City police (which at the time was not an official police force, it was a constable and some volunteers). The second was to suspend the collection of City taxes.  The final vote was to adjourn.

There is no record of Mayor William Ashley being present at this meeting.  Recorder A. J. Smith (the equivalent of City Clerk today) was not present.  The minutes were signed by “J. Ash, Deputy.” Records do not indicate if that gentleman was officially Deputy Recorder or if he had simply been deputized to take minutes at the meeting.  The five City Council members present were C. P. Bertrand (a former mayor and step-son of Little Rock’s first mayor, Matthew Cunningham), S. H. Tucker, W. B. Walt, I. A. Henry (would would also serve on the first City Council after the war in 1866), and Lou George.

On “Little Shop of Horrors Day” remembering Arkansas Rep’s 1996 production

Because it is referenced in the script, September 21 is “Little Shop of Horrors” day.  That brought back memories of productions I have seen and in which I have been involved.

But it also brought back a memory of a production I nearly did not get to see.  In September 1996, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre was preparing to open its season with LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS.  When horror struck.

During the Wednesday, September 4, preview performance, actor Kaleo Griffith injured himself severely enough that surgery would be required. He had no understudy.  The show was set to open on Friday, September 6.  The September 5 preview and opening night were cancelled.

Rep Founder/Artistic Director Cliff Baker, production director Brad Mooy and Rep staff sprang into action to try to find someone who could play the part on short notice. Howard Pinhasik, who had played the part before and was available, arrived in Little Rock, rehearsed with the cast, and the show opened one day late on Saturday, September 7.

Others in the cast were Joseph Conz, Kathrynne Haack, Tim Reynolds, David Johnson, Ericka Cooper, Tracey Lee and Tammi Phillips

The show played the rest of its run through September 29, 1996, without incident.  Well other than people getting fed to a talking plant every night.

AMERICAN MOONSHOT is focus of Clinton School program tonight

American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space RaceAfter the fiftieth anniversary of the first lunar landing passes, the award-winning historian and perennial New York Times bestselling author takes a fresh look at the space program, President John F. Kennedy’s inspiring challenge, and America’s race to the moon.

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”—President John F. Kennedy

On May 25, 1961, JFK made an astonishing announcement: his goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In this engrossing, fast-paced epic, Douglas Brinkley returns to the 1960s to recreate one of the most exciting and ambitious achievements in the history of humankind. American Moonshot brings together the extraordinary political, cultural, and scientific factors that fueled the birth and development of NASA and the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects, which shot the United States to victory in the space race against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

Douglas Brinkley is the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and Professor of History at Rice University, a CNN Presidential Historian, and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. In the world of public history, he serves on boards, at museums, at colleges, and for historical societies.The Chicago Tribune dubbed him “America’s New Past Master.” The New-York Historical Society has chosen Brinkley as its official U.S. Presidential Historian.

All Clinton School Speaker Series events are free and open to the public. Reserve your seats by emailing publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu or by calling (501) 683-5239.

After the fiftieth anniversary of the first lunar landing passes, the award-winning historian and perennial New York Times bestselling author takes a fresh look at the space program, President John F. Kennedy’s inspiring challenge, and America’s race to the moon.

“We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”—President John F. Kennedy

On May 25, 1961, JFK made an astonishing announcement: his goal of putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In this engrossing, fast-paced epic, Douglas Brinkley returns to the 1960s to recreate one of the most exciting and ambitious achievements in the history of humankind. American Moonshot brings together the extraordinary political, cultural, and scientific factors that fueled the birth and development of NASA and the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo projects, which shot the United States to victory in the space race against the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

Douglas Brinkley is the Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and Professor of History at Rice University, a CNN Presidential Historian, and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. In the world of public history, he serves on boards, at museums, at colleges, and for historical societies.The Chicago Tribune dubbed him “America’s New Past Master.” The New-York Historical Society has chosen Brinkley as its official U.S. Presidential Historian.

All Clinton School Speaker Series events are free and open to the public. Reserve your seats by emailing publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu or by calling (501) 683-5239.

Points South, new podcast series from Oxford American, is launched

The Oxford American has announced the premiere of Points South, a new magazine-style podcast.

The first episode, now available across platforms, features Ken Burns and Rhiannon Giddens on African and African-American contributions to country music—from the Carter Family to Lil Nas X—and how those influences have been erased in American cultural memory. Filmmakers Julie Dunfey and Ken Burns discuss the soundscape of their PBS documentary Country Music. Plus: Dom Flemons performs from Black Cowboys live from the Oxford American stage.

The premiere season, which will air through the end of the year, will feature longform storytelling, live music performances, and conversations with Southern artists and writers. Upcoming episodes include John Paul White, Mary Miller, Los Texmaniacs, John Jeremiah Sullivan, and many more. The season will also include “The Prologue,” a series of feature-length segments that examine underreported stories in Southern history and their reverberations in the present.

Points South’s music is arranged by Trey Pollard (S-Town), co-owner of Spacebomb Group, the podcast’s post-production team, which includes a house band that performs the Points South theme music and score. Spacebomb will also co-produce adaptations of stories from the OA. In addition to live music recorded from the Oxford American stage, Points South will feature performances and conversations captured by Fayetteville Roots Festival.

This podcast is made possible by support from Arkansas Humanities Council, UAMS, and Andy and Somers Collins.

For more information, visit oxfordamerican.org/pointssouth. Points South is available across podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Overcast, and Simplecast.