50 Years since the Giant Leap for Mankind

On July 20, 1969, at 3:17 pm (Little Rock time), the lunar module Eagle set down in the Sea of Tranquility on the moon. Astronaut Neil Armstrong radioed to Mission Control in Houston, “The Eagle has landed.”

At 9:39 pm, several hours ahead of schedule, Armstrong opened the hatch and started his slow descent to the lunar surface.  At 9:56 pm, he set his booted foot on the moon and uttered his now famous (and garbled) statement: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

At 10:15 pm, astronaut Buzz Aldrin joined Armstrong on the moon.  The pair explored the surface, conducted experiments, took photos, and planted the US flag.  They also spoke with President Nixon.  Shortly after midnight on July 21, the pair returned to the Eagle.  Twelve hours later they began heading back to the Apollo 11 which was orbiting the moon piloted by astronaut Michael Collins.

Since the Arkansas Gazette was a morning paper, they did not carry the news until the morning of July 21.  Though the Arkansas Democrat was an afternoon paper, they published their Sunday edition in the morning. And since the events transpired after what would have been their afternoon deadline, their coverage did not appear until the afternoon of July 21.  (During liftoff, the Democrat got the lead on the Gazette by publishing stories on it in their July 16 edition while the Gazette had to wait until July 17.)

As expected, much of the news in those papers was about the moon landing. Even some of the other news had a lunar bent. A photo showed US soldiers in Viet Nam listening on the radio to coverage of the landing.

But there was other news going on.  Egypt and Israel were still fighting.  Indira Gandhi celebrated a political victory in India, while Spain was looking toward Prince Juan Carlos eventually becoming King upon the death or retirement of Franco (which would not come until 1975).  It was announced that Senator Ted Kennedy would be charged with leaving the scene of an accident after his wreck in Chappaquiddick which resulted in the death by drowning of his companion,  Mary Jo Kopechne.

Closer to home, the new Miss Arkansas, Marilyn Kay Allen, was adjusting to her new role.  The Arkansas Constitutional Convention continued to grind on.  The Travelers lost 4 to 1 to Amarillo on the road.

Little Rock Look Back: First TABRIZ Gala in 1971

After a casual evening on Friday, February 12, 1971, the next night, several hundred people donned their tuxedos and maxi-length formal wear to attend the first Tabriz Gala.

After eating a gourmet dinner, guests were treated to a live auction with over 90 items.  The auctioneers were Edwin C. Jenkins of Los Angeles and Little Rock’s Dalton Dailey.

Among the items in the live auction (which raised $30,000)  were usage of a billboard for a month, a five day cruise in the Bahamas and the opportunity to help create a sculpture.  One of the more unique items was a lot in Pleasant Valley, which went for $11,500 (the equivalent of $72,000 in 2019).  The final item in the live auction was lunch with Martha Mitchell. The Pine Bluff native was married to US Attorney General John Mitchell. Little did anyone know at the time that President Nixon would one day blame Watergate on Martha Mitchell making life difficult for John Mitchell.

The Fine Arts Club had desired that Tabriz would be a unique event in Little Rock’s social calendar.  It appeared they succeeded.  The Arkansas Gazette noted that the crowd was livelier than normally happened at black tie events in Little Rock.

Due to the success of Tabriz, the Arts Center more than had the money it needed for the National Endowment for the Arts challenge match program.

Spies and Pets Among Features at Clinton Presidential Center

Clinton LibraryToday is not Presidents’ Day. No such holiday exists within Federal or Arkansas governments.  However, a good way to celebrate the observation of George Washington’s Birthday (Federal holiday for today) would be to visit the Presidential Library of one of his successors – Bill Clinton.  Visiting that facility is also a good way to mark the Arkansas holiday of Daisy Gatson Bates Day since she and President Clinton were friends.

The Clinton Presidential Center features numerous permanent and temporary exhibits.  Two of the current temporary exhibits are:

Spies, Traitors, and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America -Created by the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America dramatically illustrates the challenge of securing our nation without compromising the civil liberties upon which it was founded.
Through artifacts, multimedia elements, and interactive exhibits, visitors can uncover stories of espionage, treason, and deception in the United States from 1776 to today.
Visitors can discover little-known accounts of foreign agents, militias, and radicals, and learn how responses to domestic attacks have driven counterintelligence measures that continue to affect our everyday lives.

This exhibit is designed to be viewed by families and schools, although the content is most appropriate for children ages 11 and up.

Presidential Pets. Socks. Buddy. Barney. Bo. The Clinton Center will debut a new temporary display, “Presidential Pets,” on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. “Presidential Pets” is a tribute to the presidential pets that helped make the White House a home.
From snakes to chocolate Labs, these famous pets provide an enjoyable look at presidential history. The display will include items from President George W. Bush, President Clinton, President George Bush, President Ford, President Nixon, President Johnson, and more.

Both exhibits run through April 27, 2014.