The Says of our lives 

Highlights from the colorful public history of Robert McIntosh.

November 1976 — McIntosh, who had previously been celebrated in the Little Rock press for playing Santa Claus and distributing toys to poor children at Christmastime, is profiled in the Arkansas Gazette for his plan to feed a free Thanksgiving meal to up to 500 needy Little Rock residents.

December 1976 — Gov. David Pryor declares Christmas Eve "Say McIntosh Day" in Arkansas.

September 1977 — McIntosh dumps empty liquor and beer bottles in the offices of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in Little Rock to protest the sale of liquor near his restaurant at High Street and Wright Avenue.

June 1978 — Interrupts a black-tie dinner in Little Rock honoring community volunteers to complain that no blacks are being honored.

September 1979 — Brings a truckload of farm animals to the downtown Metrocentre Mall to protest littering there, and threatens to set 500 chickens free downtown as a further protest.

October 1979 — Put on trial for an incident in which Pulaski County Prosecutor Lee Munson said McIntosh came to his office, tipped over his desk and assaulted him because McIntosh felt charges that had been filed against him were unjust. McIntosh is acquitted.

May 1980 — Stages a protest at Fort Chaffee in Northwest Arkansas to show his disapproval of the government's decision to house thousands of Cuban refugees there. That October, he offers to cook a free meal for the refugees, but is turned away by guards.

January 1980 — Interrupts a celebration of the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. at the state Capitol by shouting for the blacks in attendance to get back to work.

July 1981 — After being refused a meeting with Gov. Frank White, sets up a wooden cross and "crucifies" himself in front of the state Capitol. Believing that his sweat would keep him cooler, he wears long thermal underwear. The stunt has to be cut short after he passes out from heat stroke and nearly dies, requiring hospitalization.

August 1982 Poses as an intoxicated hobo on Little Rock's chi-chi Pleasant Valley Drive to demonstrate that people don't care about public drunkenness.

November 1982 — Hangs a sign in his restaurant saying he'll refuse service to whites. Two weeks later, he takes the sign down and whites are allowed to eat there again.

November 1983 — After being awakened in the middle of the night by a neighbor who was banging on his door after being assaulted by her boyfriend, McIntosh scuffles with her attacker and later shoots the man in the buttocks. McIntosh is eventually acquitted of assault.

January 1984 — McIntosh uses a double-bladed axe in an attempt to cut down a tree planted on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. He later said it was to protest the lack of representation by blacks in city government. McIntosh is arrested. Three months later, the MLK tree is chopped down in the middle of the night, with "Friends of McIntosh" taking responsibility.

November 1984 — Opens a new restaurant on Asher Avenue.

January 1986 — Angry with unfavorable coverage in the Arkansas Democrat, McIntosh attempts to stuff a newspaper into the mouth of editor John R. Starr.

September 1988 — Gets in a street fight with an off-duty cop while putting flyers on car windshields. After a colorful trial — including wearing boxing gloves and a boxer's robe to enter his not guilty plea — he is acquitted of the charges two years later.

October 1989 — Vows to stay outside in frigid temperatures until he either freezes to death or raises $30,000 for the Urban League. McIntosh later publicly burns the checks he received for the charity.

March 1989 — Releases hogs at Central High School to illustrate the need to clean up litter there.

June 1990 — After setting up a televised event on KARK, Ch. 4, to publicly endorse candidate Ralph Forbes as the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, McIntosh instead punches Forbes — a former member of the American Nazi Party and KKK sympathizer — several times in the head. Afterward, he endorses Forbes as a candidate. McIntosh is put on trial in August for assault, and though he says it was all a publicity stunt cooked up by him and Forbes, he is found guilty and is fined $500.

July 1990 — Says he will burn the American flag on the steps of the state Capitol, a move which brings out scores of protestors, including a contingent of the Ku Klux Klan. At the last moment, however, McIntosh kisses the flag and wraps it around him, saying that he has decided not to burn it.

August 1991 — Tells the press that a Republican group tried to hire him to go to New Hampshire to hound presidential candidate Bill Clinton, but says he turned down the offer.

May 1992 — McIntosh goes through with his threat to burn the American flag on the Capitol steps.

January 1993 — While Gov. Jim Guy Tucker is out of state attending the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, McIntosh's son Tommy — who had been sentenced to 50 years in prison for cocaine trafficking — is granted clemency by McIntosh's friend Sen. Jerry Jewell, who was serving as acting governor. McIntosh later tells the press that his son's release was a payoff from Clinton in exchange for toning down his attacks during the campaign, including the charge, often seen in McIntosh's flyers and later proven false by DNA testing, that Clinton had fathered an illegitimate black child.

May 1996 — Scuffles with a CNN producer who was trying to push a smiling, dancing McIntosh out of a reporter's live shot following the fraud conviction of Gov. Jim Guy Tucker in the Whitewater case. McIntosh is eventually convicted of assault, sentenced to eight months in jail and fined $1,000.


Speaking of Robert "Say" McIntosh


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