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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lawmen of color — yesterday and today

Posted By on Sat, Jul 21, 2012 at 5:57 AM

READING TODAY: From book on Bass Reeves
  • READING TODAY: From book on Bass Reeves
I've mentioned before that Little Rock is hosting a national convention — a conference of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. It begins today.

Keynote speaker is Attorney General Eric Holder, who's become something of a lightning rod for Republican criticism, at least when they have time to spare from blasting another African-American prominent in the current Democratic presidential administration. He'll be speaking at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Statehouse Convention Center.

I was happy to see that the program also includes a tribute to a historic black lawman from Arkansas.

The organization and the Marshals Service is partnering to have a special reading of “Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal.” Marshals' employees will read to inner city youth aged 9 and 10.

The convention itself will have a special tribute to Reeves at 4 p.m. today for conference attendees.

Reeves, a freed slave, was one of the first black lawmen west of the Mississippi and earned fame for the arrests he made in Indian Territory. He's honored with a statue unveiled this year in Fort Smith. More details from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

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