About Scott

A cultural thinker with a life long interest in the arts and humanities: theatre, music, architecture, photography, history, urban planning, etc.

THE ONLY PLANE IN THE SKY by Garrett Graff is focus of Clinton School program this evening

Image result for only plane in the skyLast week was the 18th anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001. Tonight, the Clinton School of Public Service presents journalist and author Garrett M. Graff discussing his book about that day, The Only Plane in the Sky.

This book represents the first comprehensive oral history of the American experience on September 11th, pulling together 500 oral histories from New York, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, as well as air traffic controllers, fighter pilots, on Capitol Hill, families of victims, and so forth, as well as a lot of unexpected perspectives too—the captain of the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier, a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and what it was like to be a schoolchild and college student across the country that day.

It’s a unique and illuminating perspective on a day that forever changed our country told only in the voices of those who lived it.

Garrett M. Graff is an American journalist and author. He is a former editor of Politico Magazine, editor-in-chief of Washingtonian magazine in Washington, D.C., and instructor at Georgetown University in the Masters in Professional Studies Journalism and Public Relations program

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.

Birth of Little Rock’s 42nd Mayor – Charles E. Taylor

Bill Clinton has the distinction of being both the 42nd President of the United States and the 42nd Governor of Arkansas.  But the 42nd Mayor of Little Rock was Charles E. Taylor.

On September 15, 1868, future Little Rock Mayor Charles E. Taylor was born in Austin, Mississippi.  After locating to eastern Arkansas, his family moved to Little Rock around 1880.

Taylor graduated from Scott Street High School in Little Rock and proceeded to work for various hardware stores and other businesses.  In 1895 he married Belle Blackwood, with whom he would have four children.

In 1910, Taylor announced his intention to run for mayor of Little Rock.  Though he had never held elective office, he had been involved in several civic organizations.  Taylor was the main challenger to Alderman John Tuohey.  Seen as a reformer, Taylor initially lost to Tuohey.  But after an investigation of voter fraud and a subsequent runoff, Taylor was elected Mayor.

Upon taking office in August 1911, Mayor Taylor focused on improving health conditions in the city, upgrading the fire department and enhancing the overall moral tone of the city.

As a progressive of the era, he fought against gambling, drinking and prostitution.  He created a Health Department and enhanced the City Hospital.  His efforts led to a decrease in the death rate in Little Rock.  As mayor, Taylor introduced motorized vehicles to the Fire Department.  He also led the City Council to establish building and electrical codes.  Mayor Taylor also oversaw the construction of the 1913 Beaux Arts Central Fire Stations (which today serves as the City Hall West Wing).

Under his leadership, the City of Little Rock annexed Pulaski Heights. One of the selling points to Pulaski Heights residents was Mayor Taylor’s ability to provide modern services such as paved streets, water mains, fire hydrants and street lights.

Though neither his 1911 Parks Master Plan nor his dreams for a civic auditorium came to fruition, they paved the way for future successes in both of those areas.

Funding for projects continued to be a problem throughout Mayor Taylor’s four terms in office.  He believed that one obstacle to city funding was the prohibition by the state constitution against cities issuing bonds.  Though that ban has since been lifted, Taylor tried three times unsuccessfully to get it changed while he was Mayor.

In April 1919, Taylor left office after having served eight years.  He was the longest serving Mayor of Little Rock until Jim Dailey served in the 1990s and 2000s.  Following several business ventures, Taylor moved to Pine Bluff and led their chamber of commerce from 1923 through 1930.

Mayor Charles E. Taylor died in Pine Bluff in 1932. He was buried at Oakland Cemetery in Little Rock.

During his time in office, Mayor Taylor was presented with an unofficial flag of Little Rock by a group of citizens.  During Mayor Dailey’s tenure, that flag was restored by some private citizens and presented to the City.  It is framed on the 2nd Floor of Little Rock City Hall.

Birth of Little Rock’s 35th Mayor – H. L. Fletcher

Little Rock has had several familial combinations serve as mayor, but only one set of brothers have both been mayor.  One half of that duo was born on this date in 1833.

On September 15, 1833, future Little Rock Mayor Henry Lewis Fletcher was born in Saline County.  His parents were Henry Lewis and Mary Lindsey Fletcher.  One of his siblings was future Little Rock Mayor John Gould Fletcher.

Though the life of John Gould Fletcher is fairly well documented, not much information is out there on his brother Henry Lewis (and some of what is out there is incorrect).  He married Susan Bricelin August 30, 1855, in Pulaski County.  During the Civil War, he served as a sergeant in the cavalry for the Confederate Army in Captain Ed Nowland’s Company.

As a civic leader, Fletcher oversaw Arkansas’ contribution to the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. Fletcher served as Mayor of Little Rock from 1891 to 1893.  When Fletcher became Mayor he appointed a new Police Chief (as most Mayors did) and the entire police force was dismissed (which was not always the case).  A new police force was hired by E. H. Sanders, who served as chief for 18 months.

Mayor Fletcher died on June 30, 1896 and is buried at Oakland Cemetery next to his wife (who died in 1911).

Ike and Orval meet face to face on September 14, 1957

On September 14, 1957, in an attempt to end the stalemate in Arkansas, President Dwight D. Eisenhower met with Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus.  The meeting was brokered by Rep. Brooks Hays, whose district included Little Rock.

The meeting took place in Newport, Rhode Island, where the President was vacationing.  After exchanging pleasantries, the President and Governor adjourned to the Presidents office where they met privately for about twenty minutes.  During that conversation, Faubus proclaimed to the President that he was a law abiding citizen and discussed his own World War II service.

President Eisenhower suggested to Faubus that as a law abiding citizen, he should change the National Guard’s orders so that they protected the Little Rock Nine, not kept them from the building.  He reminded Faubus that the Justice Department was prepared to issue a injunction against him and that the governor would undoubtedly lose in court.

Following their conversation, Congressman Hays and U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr.  joined the two in a larger office and continued conversations for approximately another 100 minutes.

When the meeting was over, the President felt like Faubus had agreed to refocus the mission of the National Guard and allow the Little Rock Nine to enter.  The President’s statement to the press thanked Faubus for his cooperation.  Upon returning to Little Rock, Faubus issued his own statement which did not address the President’s statement directly.  He did not even mention the National Guard or the students.

Apparently, President Eisenhower felt betrayed by the Governor’s actions.

The stage was set for these two to continue their face off.

Tinkerfest today at the Museum of Discovery

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Tinkering, a popular activity that is a key component of the nationwide “Maker Movement,” takes place every day in the Museum of Discovery’s Tinkering Studio.

Once a year at Tinkerfest, tinkering takes over the entire museum and neighboring streets for a day-long event with more than 40 hands-on, interactive activities. Each activity engages children and adults, teaches visitors how everyday objects such as cars and computers work, and provides opportunities to explore the engineering and science behind building objects.

Check out the planned list of Tinkerfest activities:
(Activities subject to change; * Denotes an activity excellent for toddlers)

  • Meet 501st Legion (Star Wars Characters)
  • String Petting Zoo with Arkansas Symphony Orchestra
  • Circuit Blocks with Southwest Power Pool
  • Robotics with Museum of Discovery’s Girls in STEM Robotics Team
  • Tech Take-Apart with Best Buy
  • *Sensory Station with The Discovery Network
  • Chain Reactions with Garver
  • Soap Sculptures with Mid America Science Museum
  • Phenakistoscopes with Science Museum Oklahoma
  • *Tinkering with Food with Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center
  • Rope Making with Kenneth Matoka
  • Robot Demos with Harding Robotics Team
  • Airplane Design and Testing with Dassault Falcon Jet
  • *Wind Tunnels
  • Balloon Maze
  • Plastic Panel Polygons
  • Custom Stamp Making
  • LEGO Shape Matching
  • LEGO Linkages
  • LEGO Rovers
  • Stop Motion Animation with Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources
  • Artificial Intelligence with Central High Computer Science Club
  • *Sand Pendulums
  • Tapestry Table Weaving and Vine Making
  • Chromatography Flowers
  • Water Rockets
  • *Wind Twirlers
  • *Simple Machines Busy Board
  • Acrylic Sculptures with Mr. Plastic
  • Tinkering with Wax with Galley Support Innovations
  • Drones with Central AR FPV Experience
  • Vacuum Play with Welspun
  • Making with Arkansas Innovation Hub
  • *Wrenches, Nuts and Bolts Exploration with Baldwin & Shell
  • Giant Linker Logs
  • *Sanding and Rasping
  • Car Take Apart
  • Solar Powered Scribble Bots
  • Solar Panels with Entegrity
  • *Percussion Playground
  • Flappy Arm Inflatable Machine
  • Engraving Dog Tags and Wood Slices
  • Pyrography (Wood Burning Art)
  • Marble Art Nail Polish
  • *Sensory Sand with Arkansas Autism Foundation
  • *Pegboard Pixel Art
  • *Mega Murals of Materials
  • *Water Play with Cascading Water
  • *Water Play with Troughs
  • *Water Play with Water Tower and PVC Pipes
  • *Water Play with Water Walls

Tinkerfest is included in regular museum admission ($10 for adults and $8 for children) or free for members.