Little Rock Look Back: Twelve Jailed Aldermen

The Pulaski County Courthouse where the 12 Little Rock aldermen were arraigned.

On Monday, December 4, 1939, a dozen of Little Rock’s aldermen reported to the county jail to serve sentences for contempt of court.

The previous Monday, the twelve council members had voted against an ordinance which had been ordered by the judge in an improvement district matter.  The other aldermen had either voted in the affirmative or had been absent.  Because the twelve had refused to change their votes since that meeting, the judge ordered them jailed.

At the hearing, the judge brought each alderman up one by one. This seemed to be in order to further embarrass the aldermen.  The judge also interviewed Mayor J. V. Satterfield and City Clerk H. C. “Sport” Graham to put on the record that they had counseled the aldermen to obey the judge’s order.

Mrs. C. C. Conner, the only female alderman, was not jailed but was fined $50. The eleven men were held at the jail, though not in cells.  Newspaper photos showed the men playing cards in a conference room.  In order to get out of jail, the judge gave the aldermen the chance to change their votes.

Mayor J. V. Satterfield plead with the judge to let the aldermen leave the jail to attend the meeting at City Hall, which was nearby.  He requested that the city be allowed to maintain “what little dignity remained” by not having the meeting at the jail.  The judge relented, and the aldermen were escorted by deputies to the council chambers.

After the aldermen changed their votes, the judge suspended the remainder of their sentences.  The sentences were not vacated, they were only suspended.  The judge admonished them that should they attempt to reverse their reversal, he would throw them back in jail.

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Little Rock Look Back: Christmas songs on Robinson Center front steps

Today, the Arkansas Symphony wraps up its holiday music concert at Robinson Center.

Similarly, 77 years ago,on December 18, 1939, the sounds of Christmas carols filled the air at Robinson. Only that time it was outside the building, not inside.

That afternoon, 500 school children from elementary schools were joined by the A Capella Choir of Little Rock High School as they sang Christmas carols on the front steps of the auditorium on a weekday afternoon. The singers were accompanied by the Little Rock High School Brass Sextet. The invocation for the event, which was sponsored by the Little Rock Council of Parents and Teachers, was delivered by the Right Reverend Richard Bland Mitchell, the Episcopal Bishop of Arkansas.

A Christmas tree in front of City Hall was lit up as part of the ceremony as well. Media coverage noted that the audience witnessing the program stood on the front steps of the Pulaski County Courthouse, the side lawn of City Hall and in front of the steps of Robinson Auditorium. It was also noted that most windows in the nearby government buildings were filled with people watching the ceremony.

Little Rock Look Back: School Children Sing Christmas Carols at Robinson Auditorium

Christmas Carols

Photo from Arkansas Gazette

Right now, music is silenced at Robinson Center.  During the renovation, violins and tubas have been replaced by saws and heavy equipment.

Similarly, 76 years ago, the halls of that building were alive with only the sounds of construction.  But out front, on December 18, 1939, the sounds of Christmas carols filled the air.

That afternoon, 500 school children from elementary schools were joined by the A Capella Choir of Little Rock High School as they sang Christmas carols on the front steps of the auditorium on a weekday afternoon.  The singers were accompanied by the Little Rock High School Brass Sextet.  The invocation for the event, which was sponsored by the Little Rock Council of Parents and Teachers, was delivered by the Right Reverend Richard Bland Mitchell, the Episcopal Bishop of Arkansas.

A Christmas tree in front of City Hall was lit up as part of the ceremony as well.  Media coverage noted that the audience witnessing the program stood on the front steps of the Pulaski County Courthouse, the side lawn of City Hall and in front of the steps of Robinson Auditorium.  It was also noted that most windows in the nearby government buildings were filled with people watching the ceremony.

Little Rock Look Back: School Children Sing Christmas Carols at Robinson Auditorium

Christmas Carols

Photo from Arkansas Gazette

Right now, music is silenced at Robinson Center.  During the renovation, violins and tubas have been replaced by saws and heavy equipment.

Similarly, 75 years ago, the halls of that building were alive with only the sounds of construction.  But out front, on December 18, 1939, the sounds of Christmas carols filled the air.

That afternoon, 500 school children from elementary schools were joined by the A Capella Choir of Little Rock High School as they sang Christmas carols on the front steps of the auditorium on a weekday afternoon.  The singers were accompanied by the Little Rock High School Brass Sextet.  The invocation for the event, which was sponsored by the Little Rock Council of Parents and Teachers, was delivered by the Right Reverend Richard Bland Mitchell, the Episcopal Bishop of Arkansas.

A Christmas tree in front of City Hall was lit up as part of the ceremony as well.  Media coverage noted that the audience witnessing the program stood on the front steps of the Pulaski County Courthouse, the side lawn of City Hall and in front of the steps of Robinson Auditorium.  It was also noted that most windows in the nearby government buildings were filled with people watching the ceremony.

Little Rock Look Back: Twelve Aldermen Jailed

The Pulaski County Courthouse where the 12 Little Rock aldermen were arraigned.

The Pulaski County Courthouse where the 12 Little Rock aldermen were arraigned.

On Monday, December 4, 1939, a dozen of Little Rock’s aldermen reported to the county jail to serve sentences for contempt of court.  The previous Monday, the twelve council members had voted against an ordinance which had been ordered by the judge in an improvement district matter.  The other aldermen had either voted in the affirmative or had been absent.  Because the twelve had refused to change their votes since that meeting, the judge ordered them jailed.

At the hearing, the judge brought each alderman up one by one. This seemed to be in order to further embarrass the aldermen.  The judge also interviewed Mayor J. V. Satterfield and City Clerk H. C. “Sport” Graham to put on the record that they had counseled the aldermen to obey the judge’s order.

Mrs. C. C. Conner, the only female alderman, was not jailed but was fined $50. The eleven men were held at the jail, though not in cells.  Newspaper photos showed the men playing cards in a conference room.  In order to get out of jail, the judge gave the aldermen the chance to change their votes.

Mayor J. V. Satterfield plead with the judge to let the aldermen leave the jail to attend the meeting at City Hall, which was nearby.  He requested that the city be allowed to maintain “what little dignity remained” by not having the meeting at the jail.  The judge relented, and the aldermen were escorted by deputies to the council chambers.

After the aldermen changed their votes, the judge suspended the remainder of their sentences.  The sentences were not vacated, they were only suspended.  The judge admonished them that should they attempt to reverse their reversal, he would throw them back in jail.

Architects of Little Rock the focus of June’s Legacies & Lunch

Architects of LR bookCharles Witsell and Gordon Wittenberg, retired principals of Little Rock architecture firms and co-authors of the newly released Architects of Little Rock: 1833-1950, will discuss Little Rock’s architectural history at Legacies & Lunch on Wednesday, June 4, noon-1 p.m. in the CALS Main Library’s Darragh Center, 100 Rock Street.

Witsell and Wittenberg are retired principals of WER Architects/Planners (Witsell, Evans and Rasco) and WD&D (Wittenberg, Delony and Davidson). Architects of Little Rock: 1833-1950 profiles thirty-five architects, including George R. Mann, Thomas Harding, Charles L. Thompson, and more. Famous buildings such as the Arkansas State Capitol, St. Andrews Cathedral, the Pulaski County Court House, Central High School, and Robinson Auditorium are showcased as well. Copies of the book will be available for purchase; Wittenberg and Witsell will sign copies after their talk.

Legacies & Lunch, the Butler Center’s monthly lecture series, is free, open to the public, and supported in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council. Programs are held from noon-1 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided. For more information, contact 918-3033.

Architeaser – June 4

Yesterday’s Architeaser featured wrought iron dragons which grace the doorways to the Pulaski County Courthouse on Markham Street.  There are three sets of these dragons which were incorporated to the George Mann designed structure.

Here, for today, is another set of mythical creatures.