3 Exhibits open on 2nd Friday Art Night at 1 Historic Arkansas Museum

Join Historic Arkansas Museum for a reception for the openings of “Flourish,” “Olivia Trimble: Ozark Comforts” and “Featured Focus from the Permanent Collection.” Tonya Leeks and Company will be the evening’s live entertainment. New Province Brewing Company will be the evening’s featured brewery.

The reception is sponsored by the Historic Arkansas Museum Foundation, with special thanks to 107 Liquor. Beverages and appetizers will be served in the Stella Boyle Smith Atrium. The exhibits and reception are free and open to the public.

• • •

“Flourish”
Jessica Mongeon and Cara Sullivan
Trinity Gallery, February 8 – April 7, 2019

Mongeon’s inspiration comes from the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest and Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas. She creates her paintings on stone paper, an eco-friendly tree-free material made of calcium carbonate and resin. She says, “I hope that by capturing the unique landscapes of these protected natural areas, I will have encouraged people to support policies which fund their protection and to oppose decisions which may threaten them.”

Sullivan’s recent paintings pay homage to the overgrowth. Her spray painted surfaces reserve attention for the cast-aways: the uncultivated blooms of common weeds. She says, “More than a nod to the lowly weed, these paintings are for me a meditation on the irreverent, persistent nature and joy of rebellion.”

“Olivia Trimble: Ozark Comforts”
Second Floor Gallery, February 8 – May 5, 2019

Olivia Trimble cares about her community, and she understands the power of words and images to lift people up or tear them down. Using the tools of a traditional sign painter, she aims to improve the urban landscape and positively impact the people of Northwest Arkansas. Trimble opened her business, Sleet City Signs, determined to recapture the excitement and individuality common to hand-painted signs of times past. The quilt square paintings she is now known for began as a simple craft project to produce a gift for a friend, but as she made more of them, the meaning of her painted quilts became more significant. Olivia appreciates the long history of quilting in Arkansas, and the many hours of hidden work contained within a completed quilt. She was invited to paint quilt squares at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art for their American Made exhibit in 2016, and her work has appeared outside the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History, Perrodin Supply Co. in Springdale, and on many hand-painted signs around Northwest Arkansas.

“Featured Focus from the Permanent Collection”
Foyer of Cabe Gallery, Feb. 1 – 28, 2019

In honor of Black History Month, the Cabe Gallery foyer will display a selection of contemporary fine art by influential African American Arkansas artists during the month of February. The focused look includes an iconic delta landscape by Henri Linton, Larry Wade Hampton’s impressionistic scene of daily life, a country church by Glenda McCune and the delicate silverpoint realism of a Marjorie Williams-Smith still life.

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Today CALS Butler Center Legacies & Lunch explores “The Son of Little Rock Who Broke Ground for Black Journalists” at noon

Image may contain: 1 person, sunglasses and closeupJoin the Central Arkansas Library System’s Legacies & Lunch, for Benji de la Piedra’s talk on “The Two Herbert Dentons: A Principal and a Journalist, from Black Little Rock to Black DC and Beyond.”

It will take place at 12 noon at the Darragh Center Auditorium inside the main CALS building on Library Sqaure.

Herbert Denton Jr., a native son of Little Rock, was a pioneering African American journalist at the Washington Post from 1966 until his death in 1989. As the first person of color with a position of authority in the Post newsroom, he hired and mentored a generation of influential black journalists and revolutionized coverage of local life in the nation’s capital at a time when the city was more than seventy percent African American.

His father, Herbert Denton Sr., was a lifelong public educator in Little Rock and a pillar of the city’s black community, who so far has gone unacknowledged in the written record of Little Rock history. As Denton Jr.’s biographer, Benji de la Piedra will trace the career arcs of both father and son, with an emphasis on their powerful, if sometimes controversial, approaches to racial uplift, education, and civic responsibility.

Benji de la Piedra is a writer and oral historian from Washington DC, currently living in Little Rock. In addition to his work on Herbert Denton Jr.’s biography, he co-directs the Columbia Life Histories Project and serves on the coordinating committee of the Arkansas People’s History Project. A graduate of Columbia University’s Oral History MA program, and a former fellow of the Alliance for Historical Dialogue and Accountability, he teaches and consults on community-based oral history projects around the United States. He speaks and writes regularly about American history and culture, with an emphasis on black intellectual expression.

African Americans and Sports in Arkansas focus of Black History Commission of Arkansas program today (2/2)

Image may contain: one or more people and textThe Black History Commission of Arkansas presents “African Americans and Sports in Arkansas.”  The program runs from 9:45 am to 3 pm today at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.

Speakers: Evin Demirel, Jimmy Cunningham Jr., Dr. Wilbert Gaines, and Kenneth (Muskie) Harris. Lunch will be provided. Teachers can earn up to four professional development hours. Registration is required.

10 a.m.
Evin Demirel, author of “African-American Athletes in Arkansas: Muhammad Ali’s Tour, Black Razorbacks and Other Forgotten Stories”
• The legacy of African American sports in Jim Crow era with an emphasis on the now-defunct, all-black high school’s athletic association and stories from his book.

11 a.m.
Jimmy Cunningham, Jr., author of “African Americans of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County”
• Highlights and stories about three African American athletes from Jefferson County, including Boid “One Arm” Buie, Willie Roaf and Ivie Moore.

12:45 p.m.
Dr. Wilbert Gaines, former Arkansas State University professor
• Personal experiences and surmounting challenges and obstacles as a pioneer and trailblazer in sports, sports-related activities and academia.

1:45 p.m.
Kenneth “Muskie” Harris, community activist and former Razorback
• The history of the Razorbacks and integration of athletes, including facts about all 17 sports at the University of Arkansas and some of the first African Americans to receive sports scholarships.

For those unable to attend, footage from the programs will be on the Arkansas State Archives Facebook page in the coming days.

The Black History commission of Arkansas is an advisory board of the Arkansas State Archives, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

LR Culture Vulture turns 7

The Little Rock Culture Vulture debuted on Saturday, October 1, 2011, to kick off Arts & Humanities Month.

The first feature was on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, which was kicking off its 2011-2012 season that evening.  The program consisted of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A, Op. 90, Rossini’s, Overture to The Italian Girl in Algiers, Puccini’s Chrysanthemums and Respighi’s Pines of Rome.  In addition to the orchestra musicians, there was an organ on stage for this concert.

Since then, there have been 10,107 persons/places/things “tagged” in the blog.  This is the 3,773rd entry. (The symmetry to the number is purely coincidental–or is it?)  It has been viewed over 288,600 times, and over 400 readers have made comments.  It is apparently also a reference on Wikipedia.

The most popular pieces have been about Little Rock history and about people in Little Rock.

Little Rock Look Back: Duke Ellington refuses to play in segregated Robinson

Newspaper ad for the concert that was not to be

In August 1961, it was announced that Duke Ellington would perform in concert at Robinson Center.  He had previously played there in the 1940s and early 1950s.  His concert was set to be at 8:30 pm on Tuesday, September 5.

Due to the changes of times, the NAACP had a relatively new rule that they would boycott performers who played at segregated venues.  When it became apparent that Robinson would remain segregated (African Americans restricted to the balcony), the NAACP announced they would boycott any future Ellington performances if he went ahead and played Robinson.

The music promoters in Little Rock (who were white) petitioned the Robinson Auditorium Commission asking them to desegregate Robinson – even if for only that concert.  The Commission refused to do so.  Though the auditorium was finding it harder to book acts into a segregated house, they felt that if it were integrated, fewer tickets would be sold.

On September 1, 1961, Ellington cancelled the concert.

Robinson remained segregated until a 1963 judge’s decision which integrated all public City of Little Rock facilities (except for swimming pools).

Black History Month Spotlight – Politics and Law

Mahlon Martin Jr., City Manager Bruce T. Moore, Honorable Lottie Shackelford, Charles Bussey Jr.

Mahlon Martin Jr., City Manager Bruce T. Moore, Honorable Lottie Shackelford, Charles Bussey Jr.

The new Arkansas Civil Rights History Audio Tour was launched in November 2015. Produced by the City of Little Rock and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock allows the many places and stories of the City’s Civil Rights history to come to life an interactive tour.  This month, during Black History Month, the Culture Vulture looks at some of the stops on this tour which focus on African American history.

The Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail was launched in 2011 by the UALR’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity.  Each year, a theme is chosen to honor a particular group of people who were active in Arkansas’s civil rights movement.  Year by year, the trail grows.  The plan is that over time the trail will stretch from the current starting point at the Old State House, down West Markham Street and President Clinton Avenue to the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, and then back up the other side of the street to opposite the Old State House.

Politics and Law have been two central pillars in civil rights struggles.

The honorees contributed to those struggles in Arkansas in a number of ways. Annie Mae Bankhead was a community activist in Little Rock’s black College Station neighborhood; Charles Bussey was Little Rock’s first black mayor; Jeffery Hawkins was unofficial mayor of Little Rock’s black East End neighborhood; I. S. McClinton was head of the Arkansas Democratic Voters Association; Irma Hunter Brown was the first black woman elected to the Arkansas General Assembly; Mahlon Martin was Little Rock’s first black city manager; Richard L. Mays and Henry Wilkins III were among the first blacks elected to the Arkansas General Assembly in the twentieth century.

Lottie Shackelford was Little Rock’s first black woman mayor; Wiley Branton was head of the Southern Regional Council’s Voter Education Project in the 1960s; William Harold Flowers laid the foundations for the Arkansas State Conference of NAACP branches; Scipio Africanus Jones defended twelve black prisoners after the 1919 Elaine Race Riot; Olly Neal was the first black district prosecuting attorney in Arkansas; and John Walker for over five decades has been involved in civil rights activism in the courts.

The app, funded by a generous grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council, was a collaboration among UALR’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity, the City of Little Rock, the Mayor’s Tourism Commission, and KUAR, UALR’s public radio station, with assistance from the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Black History Month Spotlight – Healthcare Pioneers

UALR Trail HealthcareThe new Arkansas Civil Rights History Audio Tour was launched in November 2015. Produced by the City of Little Rock and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock allows the many places and stories of the City’s Civil Rights history to come to life an interactive tour.  This month, during Black History Month, the Culture Vulture looks at some of the stops on this tour which focus on African American history.

The Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail was launched in 2011 by the UALR’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity.  Each year, a theme is chosen to honor a particular group of people who were active in Arkansas’s civil rights movement.  Year by year, the trail grows.  The plan is that over time the trail will stretch from the current starting point at the Old State House, down West Markham Street and President Clinton Avenue to the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, and then back up the other side of the street to opposite the Old State House.

Healthcare

Healthcare has long been a civil rights issue. In the age of segregation, many blacks were denied healthcare by white physicians and hospitals under Jim Crow laws. African American physicians-such as Cleon A. Flowers, Sr., and John Marshall Robinson-played important roles in serving the black community. Nurse Lena Lowe Jordan founded the Lena Jordan Hospital in Little Rock in the 1930s. Edith Mae Irby desegregated the University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock in 1948. Dr. Irby paved the way for other black students and professors at the school. Thomas A. Bruce promoted access to quality healthcare to the underserved. Henry W. Foster became dean of Meharry Medical College in Tennessee. Billy Ray Thomas and Phillip Leon Rayford worked to increase underrepresented groups in the medical profession. Samuel Lee Kountz pioneered organ transplants. Joycelyn Elders, a UAMS graduate and director of the Arkansas Department of Health, served as the surgeon general of the United States during the presidency of Bill Clinton.

The app, funded by a generous grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council, was a collaboration among UALR’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity, the City of Little Rock, the Mayor’s Tourism Commission, and KUAR, UALR’s public radio station, with assistance from the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.