Born on June 14, 1912, Sidney Sanders McMath would play a key role in the development of Arkansas throughout the 20th Century.
A veteran of World War II, he was part of a new breed of Arkansas politicians who challenged the “old guard.” He won election of Prosecuting Attorney in Hot Springs and took on gaming and other corruption. This propelled him into the Governor’s Office (and to be the first family to reside in the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion.)
After being defeated in his bid for a third two-year term as governor, McMath returned to being a full-time attorney. He also remained active in the Marine Corps Reserves, achieving the rank of Major General. In 1967, he founded the Marine Corps JROTC program at Catholic High School.
After a lifetime of public service, Gov. McMath died on October 4, 2003.
In 2004, the Central Arkansas Library System opened the Sidney Sanders McMath branch library. A sculpture of him, created by Bryan Massey, Sr. and was commissioned to stand on the campus of the library branch which bears the Governor’s name. It was dedicated in 2006.
This bronze sculpture depicts Gov. McMath in shirt sleeves, slacks and a tie in mid stride. He confidently smiles as he raises his right hand to wave with the hat in the hand. It is based on a photo of the Governor walking in a Little Rock parade along side President Harry S. Truman.
Behind the statue are a series of medallions mounted on individual pedestals which depict scenes from McMath’s life. They are accompanied by a quote from U. S. Senator David H. Pryor “…the best friend Arkansas ever had.”
The plaza is flanked by the United States, Arkansas and Marine Corps flags.