Favorite

One more bite of the Central High 50th 

'EPITAPH:' Essay collection on LR school crisis.
  • 'EPITAPH:' Essay collection on LR school crisis.

If only “An Epitaph for Little Rock” would be the last look back at the Little Rock school crisis for a good while. After a year bursting with 50th anniversary events, this collection of essays (University of Arkansas Press, paper, $17.95), some dating to the 1960s, arrives to something less than eager anticipation. Do we really want to eat another bite of that particular cake?

But the collection, edited by British historian John A. Kirk and with a foreword by journalist Juan Williams, offers many a useful perspective with contemporary value.

The essays were drawn mostly from the Arkansas Historical Quarterly. The federally enforced desegregation of Central High School hadn't even reached its 10th anniversary when Numan V. Bartley wrote of the failure of government leaders.

There are many selections worthy of note. Roy Reed's essay on Gov. Orval Faubus' roots and the betrayal of his socialist father's beliefs illuminates a slice of Arkansas history with almost TV-sharp images. Editor Kirk's own essay on postwar black activism is important because so much of the Central crisis history over the years was written by and about white people.

The book closes with an important valedictory by Southern Arkansas University historian Ben F. Johnson. The recent anniversary events celebrated the heroes of 1957-59 and tended to obscure the decades that followed of de facto school segregation, calculated segregation in housing and, when the courts would countenance resistance no longer, the establishment of the private Pulaski Academy. That fueled the segregated march of well-to-do whites to the western edge of town. Historic Central High stands today as a tattered crown amidst acres of decay, its doors too often opening to hundreds of black children whose test scores are no testament to what was achieved there.

The UA Press rightly views such history as important work. It has two other recent titles on the subject. One is a paperback edition of Elizabeth Jacoway's “Turn Away Thy Son: Little Rock, the Crisis that Shocked the Nation.” The other, more important, is “With All Deliberate Speed: Implementing Brown v. Board of Education.” The book, edited by Brian J. Daugherity and Charles C. Bolton, is an assessment of desegregation in 12 states by accomplished historians, including UALR's Johanna Miller Lewis.

Favorite

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • It's official: Arkansas Senate resolution blames refs for Hog loss; calls for ref education

    Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • A whiny Mike Huckabee endorses arts funding

    Mike Huckabee, whose daughter works for Donald Trump, has written an op-ed for the Washington Post endorsing continued funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, which Trump has proposed to eliminate.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • Cave's clock is ticking again

    The Downtown Little Rock Partnership proudly announces that a Little Rock land mark, the Cave's clock at Capitol Avenue and Main Street is ticking again.
    • Mar 23, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in Books

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Swamp brawl

    • Doesn't hurt with the Godzilla tie-in. With the mentioning of Monarch, and the atomic bomb…

    • on March 21, 2017
  • Re: Feeling the power of Green Day at Verizon

    • Rock out & Fight back with the rousing new protest song: "The Good Fight" by…

    • on March 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation