Legacies & Lunch
The Great Flood
Wednesday, June 7, noon - 1:30 p.m.
CALS Ron Robinson Theater
100 River Market Avenue
Commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Great Flood of 1927 with a screening of a documentary film. Co-sponsored by Arkansas Sounds and the Clinton School of Public Service.
Slavery at Lakeport
Wednesday, July 5, noon - 1:00 p.m.
Main Library Darragh Center
100 Rock St.
Blake Wintory, Assistant Director of Arkansas State University’s heritage site at the Lakeport Plantation, will describe important new findings into the history of slavery at Lakeport and in Chicot County.
Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas
Wednesday, August 2, noon - 1:00 p.m.
Main Library Darragh Center
100 Rock St.
Michael Hibblen is news director at KUAR in Little Rock and the author of Rock Island Railroad in Arkansas, a collection of photographs of the crucial railroad that provided passenger and freight services in Arkansas for nearly 80 years.
About Legacies & Lunch
Legacies & Lunch 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.
September 2015: David Bailin
Artists are solitary beings, wrapped up in their own obsessions. The fact that three prominent Arkansas artists (David Bailin, Warren Criswell, and Sammy Peters) have been meeting for lunch for nearly thirty years without doing serious damage (physically or aesthetically) to each other is remarkable. During that time, their work has evolved, changed focus, and acquired new media and techniques but has remained a central part of their lives, both individually and collectively. The exhibition, Disparate Acts REDUX, on view at Butler Center Galleries through October 31, is the result of those years of companionship and long hours of discourse. In his talk, Bailin (work pictured here) will explore this thirty year artistic journey.
July 2015: Bill Ward
Bill Ward, of Conway, Arkansas, has been taking photographs in the state since 1959 and has an archive of nearly half a million images. He has created a photographic history of Conway entitled Conway As It Was…As It Is. His most recent book is Beyond the River…Stories of Life Near the Arkansas, which uses the Arkansas River as a metaphor for life throughout the state. The river originates in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and winds from Fort Smith through Little Rock and Pine Bluff to the Mississippi River, near people and places that have shaped the fabric of life in Arkansas. Ward and his wife, Emelene Russell, now split their time and artistic work between Colorado and Arkansas. At Legacies & Lunch, Ward will discuss his photography and creative process.
June 2015: Remembering Rosey – The Too-Brief Life of Roosevelt Thompson
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
CALS Ron Robinson Theater
100 River Market Ave.
Roosevelt Thompson was an extremely gifted young man who had a bright future in public service before his tragic death in an automobile accident in 1984. This year is the 35th anniversary of Thompson's graduation from Little Rock's Central High School, where he was student body president, an All-Star football player, and a National Merit Scholar. Thompson went on to attend Yale University, which has established a prestigious prize in his honor. While at Yale, he was selected as a Rhodes Scholar. It was widely believed that Thompson was poised to become Arkansas's first African American governor.
At this special Legacies & Lunch program, co-hosted by the Clinton School of Public Service, historic video footage featuring Thompson, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and others, will be shown. A panel, including Elaine Dumas, one of his teachers and mentors; Lee Thompson, his brother; and Beth Felton, his classmate at Central and a staff member at the CALS Roosevelt Thompson Branch Library, will discuss how his memory lives on today. Following this discussion, attendees may share memories and ask questions.
May 2015: Chris Engholm, White River Memoirs
The White River and its tributaries represent the most ecologically intact watershed in the continental United States. Over a million people inhabit it, living in 234 communities in 60 counties. For the past two years, Chris Engholm has traveled the White River in a cedar strip canoe, listening to people connected to it and collecting the artwork of 25 fine artists who maintain a special relationship with the river. This artwork is showcased in a gallery exhibition, White River Memoirs, on view through July 25, 2015, in Butler Center Galleries, 401 Pres. Clinton Ave. At Legacies & Lunch, Engholm will discuss his experiences on the river and present visual documentation of his findings.
February 2015: Black History Month
In honor of Black History Month, Legacies & Lunch will feature community leader Freeman McKindra Sr., Butler Center staff member Rhonda Stewart, and Henderson State University history professor John Graves, on the benefits and detriments of denoting a specific month for African American history. Does the promotion of Black History Month lead to decreased attention to this topic in other months, or does setting aside an entire month build commitment to the history of African Americans? Audience members are invited to hear our panelists' opinions and ask questions at the end of the discussion. This special program is co-hosted by the Clinton School of Public Service and will take place in the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.
January 2015: Ed Bethune
Ed Bethune, who served three terms in the United States House of Representatives, will share details about his childhood during World War II, his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, and his time as a special agent in the FBI. He will also discuss his family, cultural changes in his lifetime, and his career as a prosecuting attorney and trial lawyer. Finally, Bethune will share an exciting story about how he and his wife attempted to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in a 31-foot sailboat, detailed in his memoir, Jackhammered. Copies of Jackhammered and Gay Panic in the Ozarks, a novel by Bethune, will be available for sale; Bethune will sign books after the program.
September 2014: Marvin Schwarz
Rockabilly great Sonny Burgess, of Newport, Arkansas, and his band the Legendary Pacers are the topic of We Wanna Boogie, a new release from Butler Center Books by Marvin Schwarz, who will speak at Legacies & Lunch, the Butler Center's monthly lecture series, on Wednesday, September 3, at noon in the Main Library's Darragh Center, 100 Rock Street. Books will be available for purchase; Schwartz, Burgess, and band members Jim Aldridge, Fred Douglas, Bobby Crafford, and Kern Kennedy will sign copies after the talk.
In We Wanna Boogie, Burgess and his band members tell of their original recordings for Sun Records in the 1950s and their shows with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others. Burgess, whose music evolved in the Silver Moon and other clubs around the Arkansas delta, has influenced rock and roll music internationally and has led the contemporary rockabilly revival in the U.S. and overseas. The book also tells the history of a once prominent and high spirited delta community of extensive agricultural wealth. Newport was home to numerous music clubs, which often housed both performances by national artists and illicit back-room gambling.
July 2014: Elizabeth Griffin Hill
Arkansas Home Demonstration Clubs have been an outlet for strong, self-sufficient women in our state for over one hundred years. This history is detailed in A Splendid Piece of Work by Elizabeth Griffin Hill, who will speak at Legacies & Lunch on Wednesday, July 2, at noon, in the Central Arkansas Library System's (CALS) Main Library's Darragh Center, 100 Rock Street. Copies of the book will be available for sale, and Hill will sign books after her talk.
Excerpts of A Splendid Piece of Work will also be included in an exhibition entitled Arkansas Homemakers, which opens at Butler Center Galleries, 401 President Clinton Ave., on Friday, July 11, from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. as part of Second Friday Art Night. Arkansas Homemakers will also present photographs of the home demonstration clubs' history from the Arkansas History Commission and paintings by Katherine Strause.
Home demonstration clubs have worked to support and improve homemaking efforts in Arkansas since 1912, and these groups have a long history of serving their communities by providing canned foods to those in need, such as people affected by the Flood of 1927 and residents of Arkansas Children's Home and Hospital during the Great Depression. Over 350 home demonstration clubs continue their work today statewide through community service and education on topics such as health and money management.
May 2014: Mark Christ
Mark Christ, outreach director for the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program at the Department of Arkansas Heritage and winner of the 2013 Booker Worthen prize, will discuss This Day We Marched Again: A Union Soldier's Account of War in Arkansas and the Trans-Mississippi, a new release from Butler Center Books which Christ edited. It is the diary of Jacob Haas, a German immigrant from Wisconsin who saw some of the war's most savage combat in the west, including heated battles at Newtonia, Missouri and Jenkins' Ferry, Arkansas. Though Haas's health was ruined by war, he voiced no regrets for the price he paid to fight for his adopted country.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase; Christ will sign books after the program. Legacies & Lunch is sponsored in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council. Please bring a sack lunch; drinks and dessert are provided.
April 2014: A Conversation with Charlotte Schexnayder
Charlotte Tillar Schexnayder is well known in Arkansas as an influential voice in the life and politics of the Delta, a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives, and a pioneer among women in the professions of politics and journalism. She and her husband, Melvin, owned the Dumas Clarion newspaper for many years before and during her time as a state representative. Schexnayder has served as president of every professional journalism organization she has joined, including the National Federation of Press Women and the National Newspaper Association, and she was also the first female president of the Dumas Chamber of Commerce.
March 2014: Ann Early
The University of Arkansas Museum Collections may contain prehistoric collections, but they are far from ancient history. Dr. Ann Early, State Archeologist, will give a talk at the Butler Center's Legacies & Lunch program on Wednesday, March 5, at noon in the CALS Ron Robinson Theater.
Dr. Early will discuss a sample of recent and ongoing research projects that use old collections, some nearly a century old, kept safe here in Arkansas. The results include major advances in Arkansas studies and contributions to studies of human history on a national and international scale. Archeological collections may not always be on constant view, but they are living laboratories that are continually used by researchers, educators, descendant peoples, and citizens interested in history. People come back to these collections with new research questions and new methods of analysis. Like libraries and archives, museum collections will continue to offer new discoveries and new insights into Arkansas history far into the future.
November 2013: Kay C. Goss
Kay C. Goss, an educator and long-time aide to President Clinton in the Governor's Office and at the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, will discuss her biography of Arkansas's longest-serving congressman, Mr. Chairman: The Life and Legacy of Wilbur D. Mills. The book covers the entirety of Mills's life (1909-1992), including his work on fiscal issues and his relationships with the eight presidents under whom he worked. Goss's work also delves into Mills's personal battle with alcoholism, his successful recovery, and his legacy of supporting substance abuse treatment.
August 2013: Jan Davenport
Uncovering family secrets can be thrilling, no matter whose family holds them. In August, Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) patrons may learn about long-buried local mysteries as well as their own family history. Legacies & Lunch, a free program offered by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies on the first Wednesday of each month, will feature Jan Davenport, historian of the Oakland-Fraternal Cemetery, on Wednesday, August 7, noon - 1 p.m. in the Main Library's Darragh Center, 100 Rock Street. Finding Family Facts, a free beginner's genealogy course given by the Butler Center on the second Monday of each month, will be held on Monday, August 12, 3:30 - 5 p.m. in room 204 of the Arkansas Studies Institute building, 401 Pres. Clinton Ave.
After years of resting quietly, history is being uncovered at the Oakland-Fraternal Cemetery, as caretakers restore and research aged headstones. The cemetery is Little Rock's best-kept historical secret and the final resting place for people ranging from working-class families to an assassinated judge. In her talk, "Gone but Not Forgotten: 150 Years at the Oakland-Fraternal Cemetery," Davenport will discuss her efforts to raise awareness of the cemetery and the stories of the people resting there.
January 2013: Bob Nash
The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies will host Bob Nash as the speaker for Legacies and Lunch on Wednesday, January 9, at noon in the Main Library's Darragh Center, 100 Rock Street. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Bill Clinton's inauguration as President, Nash will discuss what it was like working with Governor Clinton, keeping the state government going during a presidential campaign, and going to Washington with some of President Clinton's Arkansas friends and colleagues.
Nash served as Governor Clinton's senior executive assistant in charge of economic development policy. He then served as President Clinton's U.S. Undersecretary of Agriculture and White House personnel director.
April 2010: Tom Dillard
The Butler Center's Legacies & Lunch series will host Tom W. Dillard, head of Special Collections for the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, who will discuss his new book "Statesmen, Scoundrels, and Eccentrics: A Gallery of Amazing Arkansans." Join us for Legacies & Lunch on April 7 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Darragh Center at the Main Library.
Dillard is the founding editor-in-chief of the Butler Center's Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. He has been writing the "Remembering Arkansas" column for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2002.
March 2010: John Gill
John Gill is a Little Rock attorney, the author of "Tours of Arkansas" and "The Crossroads of Arkansas," and president of the group restoring historic Curran Hall. He will speak on art work created during the New Deal in nineteen Arkansas post offices, part of the Franklin Roosevelt Administration's efforts to depict life in the United States and honor the hard work of its people.
February 2010: Tamela Tenpenny-Lewis
The Butler Center's Legacies & Lunch series will host Tamela Tenpenny-Lewis, co-founder and president of Preserving African American Cemeteries Inc.(PAAC), as she presents "Preserving the Black Family through Oral History, Death Records, Obituaries, and Tombstone Inscriptions." The lecture will take place Wednesday, February 3, 2010, noon to 1 p.m. in the Darragh Center at the Main Library (100 S. Rock St.).
Tenpenny-Lewis, charter member of the Arkansas chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS), is the 2007 recipient of the James Dent Walker Honorary Lifetime Membership Award from the national AAHGS.
Under her current position as president of PAAC, Tenpenny-Lewis has worked to uncover lost or forgotten cemeteries, form cemetery associations and hosted various workshops on cemetery preservation.
January 2010: Steve Teske
The Butler Center's Legacies & Lunch series will host Encyclopedia of Arkansas staff member Steven Teske as he discusses the ways Arkansans contributed to the national effort in both the Spanish-American War and World War I on Wednesday, January 6, 2010, noon to 1 p.m. in the Darragh Center at the Main Library (100 S. Rock St.).
His discussion will include how these wars shaped life in Arkansas and a slideshow presentation of artifacts.
November 2009: Project REACH
The Butler Center's Legacies & Lunch program will present Project REACH (Restoring Early Arkansas Culture and History), a project of Black River Technical College on November 4, from noon to 1pm at the Main Library in the Darragh Center (100 S. Rock St.).
Project REACH is working to restore two of Randolph County's historic structures, the 1828 Rice-Upshaw home — believed to be the oldest log structure of its type in Arkansas — and the 1833 Looney Tavern. Both have been nominated to be on the National Register of Historic Places.
Jan Ziegler and Ronnie Walker of Project REACH will discuss their important work in historic preservation.
October 2009: Billy D. Higgins
The Butler Center's Legacies & Lunch lecture series presents Billy D. Higgins, author of The Barling Darling: Hal Smith in American Baseball. Higgins, accompanied by baseball legend Hal Smith, will discuss Smith's career on October 7, from noon to 1pm at the Main Library in the Darragh Center (100 S. Rock St.). Read more »
Hal Smith developed his arm by throwing baseballs at a Dr Pepper sign on the side of a building. It was a habit that took him from his small hometown of Barling, Arkansas to an All-Star career as a catcher with the St. Louis Cardinals.
In The Barling Darling, author Billy D. Higgins tells the story of a man who not only stood out in his career but also reflected the dynamic evolution in American culture in the postwar era, when baseball's maturation during the 1950s paralleled that of American society.
The Barling Darling, published by Butler Center Books, will be for sale at the event, and the author will be signing copies after the discussion.
Higgins is professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. His previous book, A Stranger and a Sojourner: Peter J. Caulder, Free Black Frontiersman in Antebellum Arkansas, won the Ragsdale Award for excellence in historical writing about Arkansas.
August 2009: Bob Kendrick
African Americans began to play baseball in the late 1800s on military teams, college teams, company teams, and, eventually, on professional teams with white players. However, racism and Jim Crow laws forced them from these teams, leading black players to form their own league in the 1920s. Teams began to form all over the country and play any teams that would challenge them, black or white.
Join us at the Butler Center's Legacies & Lunch, Monday, August 3, when Bob Kendrick of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City discusses the history of Arkansas black baseball teams, the national leagues, and their contributions to society and the civil rights movement.
Year Unknown: Brian Robertson
The Butler Center's Legacies & Lunch series will host Brian Robertson as he discusses "FORGOTTEN: The Arkansas Korean War Project," on May 5 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Darragh Center at the Main Library.
An initiative of the Butler Center, the Arkansas Korean War Project was started in 2008 to document and preserve information about Arkansas's role in the war. Since then, the Butler Center has collected 30 oral histories from veterans and thousands of documents, including photographs and letters.
For more information, and to browse the oral histories and digitized documents, visit www.butlercenter.org/koreanwarproject.
Year Unknown: Architects of Little Rock
Charles 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.
Year Unknown: Frank Sata
As a young boy, Frank Sata was one of thousands of Japanese Americans who spent time in Arkansas during World War II, imprisoned by their own country merely because of their ancestry. He was eight years old when his family was shipped from their home in California to Jerome, where one of two Arkansas internment camps for Japanese Americans was built by the War Relocation Authority. Mr. Sata's father, J.T. Sata, was an accomplished artist who documented his family's time in camps in Arkansas and Arizona in a series of remarkable oil paintings and charcoal drawings. Much of that art is currently on display in Concordia Hall of Butler Center Galleries, as part of Drawn In: New Art from WWII Camps at Rohwer and Jerome, and will remain in the Butler Center's collection following the closing of the exhibition on August 23, 2014.
Mr. Sata, who lives in Pasadena, California, went on to become an architect. His own work was influenced by his experience of the World War II camps, his father's art and photography, and famed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright's fascination with Asian architecture. He will discuss the internment experience, his father's art, and the ways his work as an architect reflects his memories of his years in Arkansas.
Despite the sadness embedded in the injustice of the World War II camps, Mr. Sata says, "I have since developed a sense of comfort and place for Arkansas." He says, "Sometimes words do not come easily for me to describe that special meaning, but he is an eloquent interpreter of the power of a harsh experience visited upon a country's citizens by wartime frenzy and the healing power of creativity to overcome anger and bitterness.
Mr. Sata will be the speaker at Legacies & Lunch on August 6, from noon-1 p.m. This special program will be held in the CALS Ron Robinson Theater and is co-hosted by the Clinton School of Public Service.
Year Unknown: Kelly Houston Jones
Slave resistance in Arkansas is the topic of Legacies & Lunch on Wednesday, January 8, at noon in the Main Library's Darragh Center, 100 Rock Street. Kelly Houston Jones, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arkansas, will present "A Rough, Saucy Set of Hands to Manage," a discussion of her research on slavery in Arkansas.
In her research, Jones "seeks to recover the slave point of view in examining explicit resistance." Her work has been featured in numerous academic journals, including the Arkansas Historical Quarterly and the Pulaski County Historical Review. Jones has researched legal documents, oral histories, and other resources, and she has found that "slaves' resistance in Arkansas seems to have had more to do with making their lives a little easier than with a continuing, self-conscious effort to undermine the slave regime."
Year Unknown: Jeannie Whayne
Civil rights, the cold war, and the transformation of the plantation economy. It is in light of these historical topics that Jeannie Whayne, University of Arkansas history professor, will frame her talk, "The Memphis Sound and Northeastern Arkansas in the 1950s and 1960s," at Legacies & Lunch, a free monthly program hosted by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, on Wednesday, September 4, at noon in the Main Library's Darragh Center, 100 Rock Street.
Whayne will talk about growing up in northeast Arkansas and picking up Memphis radio and television broadcasts. She will address this experience in the context of regional and world events. One example is Sputnik Monroe, a Memphis wrestler who seemed to personify the Russian menace but in fact supported civil rights by promoting matches between black and white wrestlers at a time when the sport was highly segregated.
Date Unknown: Grace Blagdon and David Ware
Grace Blagdon and David Ware will talk about the Consolidated White River Academy (CWRA), a major part of the history of African American education in Arkansas, and discuss their process of creating the exhibition Old School: Remembering the Brinkley Academy from the school's few remaining historical materials.
The CWRA, or the Brinkley Academy, was a residential high school for African American students founded in 1893 and open for nearly 60 years. Blagdon, whose father was the school's principal, will share what she has learned about the school from surviving students. Ware, historian of the Arkansas State Capitol, will touch on the challenges they faced in creating an exhibit that connects seemingly minor details with larger issues such as institutionalized racial discrimination, community memories, and the persistent role of African American churches in creating educational opportunity.
Old School: Remembering the Brinkley Academy was displayed at the Central Arkansas Library System's (CALS) Main Library in 2013 and is currently being modified for entry into the Arkansas Humanities Council's traveling exhibition program.