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Monday, February 19, 2007

Today is ...

Posted By on Mon, Feb 19, 2007 at 5:27 AM

... Daisy Gatson Bates Day in Arkansas. There'll be a groundbreaking this morning at the late civil rights leader's former home on W. 28th for the beginning of a project to turn the house into a museum. More money will be needed and details of a fund-raising drive will be discussed.

UPDATE: On the jump, Gov. Beebe's proclamation on Bates Day.

GUBERNATORIAL PROCLAMATIONI

LITTLE ROCK – Governor Mike Beebe today issued a proclamation commemorating Daisy Bates Day in Arkansas.  The text of the proclamation follows below.

WHEREAS:     Daisy Lee Gatson Bates, best known for her tenacious and courageous leadership in the 1957 struggle to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, became advisor to the nine black students who attempted to attend the previously all-white school; after Governor Orval Faubus called out the National Guard to prevent the students from enrolling, President Dwight D. Eisenhower intervened to ensure that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the unconstitutionality of school segregation was enforced; and

WHEREAS:     Daisy Bates wrote a memoir of the conflict, The Long Shadow of Little Rock, which is a primary text on the history of American race relations; and

WHEREAS:     Born in Huttig, a tiny Arkansas town, young Bates suffered a life-changing blow when she discovered that her mother had been brutally murdered, that her biological father had left town, and that she was being raised by friends of her parents; this personal tragedy led her to fight fearlessly and valiantly for justice and equality for all Americans, even when her own life became repeatedly threatened; and

WHEREAS:     Bates, with her husband, L. C. Bates, created, published, and wrote for the Arkansas State Press newspaper, an avid voice for civil rights, even before a nationally recognized movement had emerged; and

WHEREAS:     Daisy Bates was the only woman to speak at the March on Washington, following Dr. King's, "I Have a Dream" speech; and

WHEREAS:     Bates endured numerous hardships, but her unstinting work on behalf of equality and opportunity earned her numerous honors, among them the naming of an official state holiday on the third Monday in February, the first state to declare a holiday honoring an African-American woman;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, MIKE BEEBE, Governor of the State of Arkansas, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the laws of the State of Arkansas, do hereby proclaim February 19, 2007, as Daisy Bates Day across the State of Arkansas, and I urge all my fellow citizens to join me in paying tribute to the determined spirit, valor, and lifelong dedication of Daisy Bates in fighting for justice and equality for all Arkansans and the entire nation.

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