Wednesday 13 July 2011

The America project - Arkansas

Arkansas (AR) size 52,897 sq.m population 2.9 million

Bordering states Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississipi, Louisiana (6)
State capital & most populous city Little Rock
Other notable places Texarkana, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, West Memphis, El Dorado
Notable landmarks and natural features The Mississippi River (forms the State's eastern border), Buffalo National River, Crowley's Ridge

Statehood 15th June 1836 (25th)

Ten famous Arkansawyers
Glen Campbell (musician; born Delight, 1936 -)
Johnny Cash (musician; born Kingsland, 1932-2003)
Bill Clinton (politician, 42nd President of the USA; born Hope, 1946 -)
Beth Ditto (singer; born Searcy, 1981 -)
John Grisham (author; born Jonesboro, 1955 -)
Levon Helm (musician; born Marvell, 1940 -)
Sonny Liston (boxer; born Sand Slough, 1932-1970)
Douglas McArthur (army general; born Little Rock, 1880-1964)
Dick Powell (actor; born Mountain View, 1904-1963)
Billy Bob Thornton (actor and musician; born Hot Springs, 1955 -)

Three important events

1. Arkansas guarantees its pronounciation (1881)
Arkansas is the only one of the 50 US States which has passed legislation stating the correct way to pronounce its name. There was a nasty argument brewing, the type of which can only be caused by pronounciation. In 1881, it was signed into statute that anyone not saying it AR-kan-saw was to be pillioried and chucked into the sea.

2. The Great Migration (early 20th Century)
At the beginning of the last century, Arkansas was one of the most disenfranchised places in America. Voting was solely a preserve of white men, whilst a third of the population of the State were black. In common with a number of other southern States, the early part of the 20th Century saw black Americans up sticks to find better, and marginally fairer, conditions on the Atlantic coast or in California.

3. The Little Rock Nine (1959)
Desegregation of schools was guaranteed by the 1954 Brown vs. The Board of Education legal case in Topeka, Kansas. In 1957, nine black students went to enrol at Little Rock Central High, a previously all-white school. Segregationists from across the State came to Little Rock in order to physically blockade the door. The Governor of Little Rock responded by getting President Eisenhower to mobilise the 10,000-strong Arkansas National Guard. Eisenhower even issued the 101st Airbourne Division as cover. The nine students were eventually allowed into the school under military guard, but of course endured a year of abuse, some of it physical. However, one of their number, Ernest Green, would eventually go on to become the first African American graduate from Little Rock Central High.

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