The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity today announced 10 additions to the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail, with plaques set to be unveiled on Feb. 1 to kick off Black History Month.
The trail, established in 2011, honors people who made notable contributions to civil rights in Arkansas. It begins on the sidewalk on West Markham just outside the Old State House and will eventually extend all the way to the Clinton Library. New plaques — 12-inch bronze markers — are placed in the sidewalk every year. Honorees have been based on themes, which in the past have been sit-ins and freedom rides; desegregation of Central High School, desegregation of downtown Little Rock, medical and healthcare professionals, and politics and law. This year’s theme is “Economic Advancement.”
The new plaques will be unveiled at a luncheon event at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the Ron Robinson Theater. The event is free and open to the public and features live music from the Civil Rights era.
This year’s honorees include Sue Cowan Williams, a former English teacher at Dunbar High School who successfully sued Little Rock School District for equal pay between black and white teachers.
From the press release, here are the honorees (for more on the late Sue Cowan Williams, a former teacher at Dunbar High School who successfully sued Little Rock School District for equal pay between black and white teachers, don’t miss this great 2015 cover story in the Arkansas Times from John Kirk):
· William Wallace Andrews, a prominent black leader and entrepreneur in Little Rock before and after the Civil War
· Scott Winfield Bond, a successful landowner, farmer and businessman in the Arkansas Delta and one of Arkansas’s wealthiest African Americans during the period before the New Deal in the 1930s
· John Edward Bush, co-founder of the Mosaic Templars of America, a fraternal organization that expanded to 26 states and six foreign countries between the 1880s and 1930s. He was also chair of the Arkansas Republican Party.
· Robert Lee Hill, founder of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America, which organized in the Arkansas Delta to gain fair wages for sharecroppers after World War I.
· John Harold Johnson built the largest black publishing company in the world, producing titles such as Ebony and Jet magazines.
· Walter “Wiley” Jones, one of the wealthiest African Americans in the South from his various business endeavors in late 19th century Pine Bluff.
· Chester W. Keatts, co-founder of the Mosaic Templars of America, a fraternal organization that expanded to 26 states and six foreign countries between the 1880s and 1930s.
· Josephine Irvin Harris Pankey, a successful real estate developer who accumulated large tracts of land in West Little Rock during the age of segregation.
· William “Sonny” Walker, head of the Arkansas Office of Economic Opportunity, which coordinated the state’s war on poverty efforts in the 1960s
· Sue Cowan Williams, an English teacher at Dunbar High School who successfully sued the school district for equal pay with white teachers during the 1940s