A cold King Day in Little Rock, but plenty to do and think about | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 18, 2016

A cold King Day in Little Rock, but plenty to do and think about

Posted By on Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 6:46 AM

MARCHING: Voter rights remain at the forefront more than 50 years after the March on Washington.
  • MARCHING: Voter rights remain at the forefront more than 50 years after the March on Washington.

Something frozen seems to be lightly falling as I await sunrise of the state holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee. (First-time or chance readers from elsewhere: Yes, the state Arkansas has a dual holiday for the civil rights leader and the military leader of the fight to preserve slavery.)

No word on gatherings of Confederate re-enactors, but the annual King Day Marade begins at 9 a.m. at Daisy Bates and King Drive and proceeds toward the Capitol.

At the King Commission Facebook page you can find details about the Mega Kingfest underway from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Stephens Center at UALR. A gospel recording artist, a speech by the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, a prayer breakfast and food provided by Tyson are part of the program.

News of note in a time when the dominant Republican Party is rolling back voting rights gains of the civil rights era: NAACP National President and CEO Cornell William Brooks will speak during a program from 4 to 6 p.m. at Bethel AME Church in North Little Rock and the topics include a new voting rights initiative.  

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will speak at the prayer breakfast at UALR. He might mention his support for separating King/Lee recognitions in state law, though it would undoubtedly continue recognition for Lee. Of more moment is whether he'll continue his party's press for more obstacles to the ballot, such as Voter ID and curbs on early voting, that have bee aimed at holding down minority participation.

UPDATE: Good post on lrculturevulture by Scott Carter about King's visit to Little Rock in 1958 and the reaction to his assassination 10 years later. He posted the photo below of Ernest Green, being congratulated by King and Daisy Bates on the occasion of his graduation from Central High School in 1958, the first black graduate of the school.

click to enlarge greenking.jpg

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