Off the Grid: Nature, Black Power, & Freedom on the AR Frontier is topic of today’s CALS Legacies & Lunch

Image may contain: tree, outdoor and waterLegacies & Lunch kicks off 2020 with a program today at 12 noon, entitled “Off the Grid: Nature, Black Power, & Freedom on the AR Frontier.”

Through images, stories, and botanical specimens from the field, historian Story Matkin-Rawn and ecologist Theo Witsell will share their research on the challenges of frontier life and use of wild resources among newly freed African Americans in the Natural State following the Civil War.

Story Matkin-Rawn serves as vice-president of the Arkansas Historical Association and is an associate professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas, where she teaches courses on Arkansas, Southern, and Civil Rights history. She received her PhD in history from the University of Wisconsin in 2009. Her article “The Great Negro State of the Country: Arkansas’s Reconstruction and the Other Great Migration,” which appeared in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly in 2013, won the Violet B. Gingles Prize. This presentation on African American life on the Arkansas frontier is part of her current project, a book manuscript titled “A New Country: An African American History of the South’s Last Frontier, 1865–1940.”

Theo Witsell is the ecologist and chief of research for the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Prior to that, he served as a botanist for the agency for nineteen years, researching and protecting rare species and habitats across the state. His research interests include the historical ecology of Arkansas and the intersections of human history and our natural heritage.

Legacies & Lunch is a free monthly program of CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies about Arkansas related topics. For more information, please contact 320-5744.

Learn about Arkansas in Modern America at the December CALS Butler Center Legacies & Lunch program today at noon

Dr.-Ben-Johnson-Ark-Studies-Endowed-Professor-300x196Today (December 4) at noon, the Central Arkansas Library System’s Butler Center’s monthly Legacies & Lunch program will feature Dr. Ben Johnson discussing Arkansas in Modern America.

Ben Johnson will discuss the topics and themes in his book Arkansas in Modern America Since 1930, published in August by the University of Arkansas Press. This second edition is a comprehensive revision of and elaboration on the first edition, which was published in 2000. Johnson incorporates recent scholarship to extend the analysis of economic, social, and cultural developments in Arkansas into the present day.

Ben Johnson is the John G. Ragsdale, Jr. and Dora J. Ragsdale Professor of Arkansas Studies at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. In addition to Arkansas in Modern America, he has published Fierce Solitude: A Life of John Gould Fletcher and John Barleycorn Must Die: The War Against Drink in Arkansas, each published by the University of Arkansas Press.

Legacies & Lunch is a free monthly program of CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies about Arkansas related topics.  Program are generally held from noon to 1 pm on the first Wednesday of the month in the Main Library’s Darragh Center.  Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided.  A library parking discount is available upon request.  For more information, or to share ideas for future programs, please contact Heather Zbinden, 320-5744,

CALS Legacy & Lunch explores New Madrid Earthquake at noon today

Learn about “The New Madrid Earthquakes and Their Aftermath in Quapaw Country, 1811-1833” today (11/6) at 12 noon at the CALS Butler Center’s Legacies and Lunch program.  It will take place in the CALS Main Library.

The New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811–1812 were the strongest earthquakes in the North American interior in the last six centuries. Across the vast expanse of land the seismic events affected, people struggled to address the earthquakes’ religious meaning and material impact. This talk focuses on the earthquakes in Quapaw country, where the events featured in recorded Quapaw oral histories and became a factor in Quapaw territorial dispossession through the New Madrid Relief Act of 1815.

Jonathan Hancock is an associate professor of history and environmental studies at Hendrix College in Conway. He has published work in the Journal of the Early RepublicThe Princeton Companion to Atlantic History, and Warring for America: Cultural Contests in the Era of 1812 (University of North Carolina Press, 2017) and has held research fellowships from the Bright Institute at Knox College, the Huntington Library, the Newberry Library, and the University of North Carolina Royster Society of Fellows. He is currently completing a book, Convulsed States: Earthquakes, Prophecy, and the Remaking of Nations in Early America, and beginning research for a new book project, “The Indigenous Lowcountry: A 4,000-Year History of Native Communities near Charleston.”

Legacies & Lunch is a free monthly program of CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies about Arkansas related topics.  Program are held from noon to 1 pm on the first Wednesday of the month.  Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided.  A library parking discount is available upon request

CALS Announces Organizational Changes at Roberts Library

This spring, the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) unveiled a new strategic plan effective through 2022. The CALS strategic plan describes the library system’s mission, core values, and vision while also identifying goal areas where CALS will direct its energy and resources over the next several years.

The Roberts Library is CALS special collections branch composed of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Genealogy Department, and the Galleries at Library Square.

Beginning October 1, two key changes took place at Roberts Library in alignment with the strategic plan: Director of the Roberts Library David Stricklin will become Director of Strategic Partnerships & Community Engagement for the CALS system as a whole, where he will help guide the implementation of the Strategic Plan and strengthen relationships with governments, elected officials, community leaders and centers of influence; and Glenn Whaley will serve as Manager of the Roberts Library, expanding her role as operational leader for the past five years.

“The staffing changes will allow the library to benefit more from the unique gifts of two talented leaders,” said CALS Executive Director Nate Coulter. “David will be invaluable in driving the strategic evolution of our organization, and Glenn has already demonstrated her organizational and management skills as second-in-command of the Roberts Library. She’ll be an excellent leader to continue the vital and important work being done by the Roberts Library team.”

The CALS strategic plan is the result of broad-based community input, executive team engagement, consultation from national library planning experts, and board review and approval. The plan outlines seven organizational goals in the areas of (1) Extending Community Connections, (2) Services and Collections, (3) Facilities and Spaces, (4) Resource Allocation and Integration, (5) Public Awareness and Marketing, (6) Resource Development, and (7) Organizational Culture.