Tonight Dr. John Kirk and Dr. Jess Porter discuss racial separation in Little Rock’s history as part of the 2014-2015 UALR Evening’s with History series.
This year marks the 24th year for the History Institutes’ Evenings with History. This nationally recognized series has featured a variety of subjects. The sessions take 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.
The contemporary urban landscape of Little Rock evokes questions of racial separation because of the persistently high rates of ethnic separation in housing and a public-private race cleavage in the local schools. How can these patterns be explained? Has it always been this way? Is the 1957 desegregation crisis at Central High School a reason for the persistent patterns of geographic separation between African Americans and whites within the city?
In fact, the story of ethnic separation in Little Rock begins prior to the Central High Crisis. This talk begins with an examination of spatial patterns of racial segregation in the first half of the 20th century. It then discusses these patterns as they evolved in Little Rock and shows, in particular, the role of urban renewal in the mid-century decades in producing the separation of races that came into existence.
John A. Kirk joined the department as Chair and Donaghey Professor of History in 2010. He was born in Rochdale, Lancashire, in the United Kingdom, and holds an undergraduate degree in American Studies from the University of Nottingham and a PhD in American History from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Dr. Kirk taught at the University of Wales, Lampeter (1994-99) and Royal Holloway, University of London (1999-2010) before coming to UALR.
Dr. Kirk’s research focuses on the history of the civil rights movement in the United States, the South, and Arkansas, and the history of post-New Deal southern politics, society and culture. He has published five books and written in a wide variety of journals, edited book collections, and popular history magazines including BBC History, History Today and Historically Speaking. He has won a number of awards for his research including the F. Hampton Roy Award (1993) from the Pulaski County Historical Association, and the Walter L. Brown Award (1994), the J. G. Ragsdale Book Award (2003), and the Lucille Westbrook Award (2005) from the Arkansas Historical Association.
Jess Porter came to UALR in 2009 and holds a PhD from Oklahoma State University where he was awarded with the Susan Shaull Medal for Excellence in Teaching Geography. Prior to UALR, Dr. Porter taught at Oklahoma State University, developed and implemented geospatial curriculum for rural schools, worked as an environmental analyst and mapping specialist in the oil and gas industry, and was employed by an adventure tourism company in Colorado.
Dr. Porter’s research interests include the American Dust Bowl, geospatial technology education, and urban geography. His research on the Dust Bowl was featured in an episode of The Weather Channel’s When Weather Changed History. He has published four, interactive textbooks in the Encounter Geography series.
Friday, Eldredge, & Clark and the Union Pacific Railroad help make these lectures possible. Other sponsors are the Ottenheimer Library, University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Historic Arkansas Museum, a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage; UALR Public Radio—KUAR-KLRE; UALR public television; and Grapevine Spirits.