School, Theater and Family Sustained Author in the Great Depression

While the statistics of the Great Depression years are well documented, what exactly did those facts and figures mean for a family just trying to make it through those tough times?

A Little Rock Boyhood: Growing Up in the Great Depression provides a young person’s view of those times in an evocative memoir as author A. Cleveland Harrison captures what Little Rock was like for him as a child growing up in the 1930s.

Just published by Butler Center Books, A Little Rock Boyhood follows the experiences of the Harrison family and their neighbors, showing how the nationwide Depression affected everyday individuals. The youngest Harrison is an able reporter, relating the memories of an observant, though naïve, child. Being a kid during the Depression was not all grim, however, and Harrison describes those happy times.

He remembers his life in the residential neighborhoods of downtown Little Rock "riding the streetcar to school and frequenting area movie theaters" when a child could grow up in difficult times without becoming difficult. Growing Up in Little Rock is an insightful look back at a time, a place and a childhood.

Dr. Harrison, who worked in educational theatre for 45 years, writes that a good work ethic, family support and public education were what carried him through the Great Depression.

"I chose to recall my Depression-era childhood rather than my professional career," Harrison says, "hoping to perceive how such an ordinary boy from a small-town family living far from America’s artistic centers became obsessed with the theatre arts.

"Perhaps my recollections, from the point of view of a growing boy, have also revealed how much public school education in the 1930s and 1940s in Little Rock, Arkansas, aided my development."

Celebrated Arkansas author Donald Harington, who died late last year, offered this tribute to Harrison’s writing: “The man has an eidetic memory and a way of recapturing the past that no one since Proust has been able to do.

6.25" x 9.25", 275 pages
$29.95 hardcover, ISBN 978-1-935106-18-0 | 1-935106-18-x