The 21st year of the UALR History Institutes’ Evenings with History continues on November 1.
Tonight’s presenter is Dr. Story Matkin-Rawn, a special guest from the University of Central Arkansas. Her talk is entitled “From Land Ownership to Legal Defense: The World War I Watershed in Black Arkansan Organizing.” The session takes place at the Ottenheimer Auditorium of Historic Arkansas Museum. Refreshments are served at 7 with the program beginning at 7:30 pm. The cost is $50 for admission to all six programs.
Dr. Matkin-Rawn examines the time period around The Great War and how that affected blacks in the South, especially Arkansas. A rise in farm commodity prices during World War I should have helped many black farm families break the cycle of sharecropping. But due to fraud and exploitation, it did not. This caused hundreds of black farmers to organize Progressive Farmers and Householders Union. The Elaine Massacre destroyed their movement and claimed scores of black Arkansan lives. Though the organization was ended, the movement and quest for economic stability was far from over.
This talk traces how a rising generation of activists regrouped from broken wartime promises and white terrorism to create new strategies, new networks, a new vision, and indeed, a new generation who would confront white supremacy through a constellation of statewide political, civic, and legal justice campaigns.
Dr. Matkin-Rawn is an Assistant Professor in the History Department at UCA. She received her Ph D from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her specialty fields are Southern and African American History, 20th Century US History and the history of Education.
The corporate sponsors for the 2011-2012 season are Delta Trust, Union Pacific Railroad, the Little Rock School District—Teaching American History Program; the law firms of Friday, Eldredge & Clark and Wright, Lindsey & Jennings. Support and gifts in kind have been provided by the UALR Ottenheimer Library; Historic Arkansas Museum, a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage; UALR Public Radio–KLRE-KUAR; and Grapevine Spirits.