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Natural State Notables

21 Famous People from Arkansas

Steven Teske

Publication Year: 2013

Everyone, including native Arkansans, may be surprised to find out how many famous and fascinating people come from or have strong ties to the state. Natural State Notables profiles twenty-one such people, including musicians, athletes, business leaders, and public servants. Readers will learn about a famous surgeon who was a pioneer in kidney transplantation, a woman who kept a hospital open during the Depression, and a teacher who wrote a famous song to match a history lesson. Featured are poor people who worked hard to become successful and a rich man who moved to Arkansas, fell in love with the state, and made it better. All of these people are “Natural State Notables” who helped make Arkansas what it is today.

Published by: University of Arkansas Press


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pp. 1-2

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 3-4

Table of Contents

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pp. 5-6

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pp. 7-8

None of the notable people in this book became famous by working alone. Whether they are famous for writing, for music, for athletics, for politics, or for business, they had the help and support of many other people. In the same way, this book would not have been possible without the help of many people. ...

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p. 9-9

What does it mean to be famous? People who are famous have done something that many other people notice. People who write books or play music sometimes become famous. People who play basketball or baseball or football sometimes become famous. ...

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Maya Angelou

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pp. 10-11

Maya Angelou is a famous writer and poet. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and named Marguerite Annie Johnson. Maya is a nickname for Marguerite that she has used for all of her writing and public appearances. ...

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Daisy Bates

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pp. 12-13

Daisy Bates is best remembered as a political activist. She worked to change the laws of Arkansas so that all people would have equal rights. ...

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Ruth Beall

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pp. 14-15

Not many people recognize the name of Ruth Beall. The result of her work, though, is world famous. Beall saved Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock from closing during the Great Depression. For almost thirty years, she was superintendent of the hospital. ...

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Johnny Cash

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pp. 16-17

Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas. Three years later, his family moved to Dyess. Dyess was a colony in Arkansas for people who wanted to farm but had lost all their money in the Great Depression. Cash learned how to sing and play the guitar while he lived in Dyess. ...

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Bill Clinton

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pp. 18-19

Bill Clinton was the forty-second president of the United States. He is the only president to come from Arkansas. Clinton was born in Hope, Arkansas, and grew up in Hot Springs. His family was not rich. ...

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William Dillard

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pp. 20-21

William Dillard created the chain of stores called Dillard’s. These stores sell clothing for men, women, and children. They also sell home furnishings, ...

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Jimmy Driftwood

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pp. 22-23

Jimmy Driftwood was a schoolteacher, a singer, and a songwriter. The most famous of his six thousand songs is “The Battle of New Orleans,” which was a number- one hit in the United States in 1959. Driftwood’s real name was ...

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Al Green

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pp. 24-25

When he was born in Forrest City, Arkansas, in 1946, his name was Albert Greene. When he became famous as a singer, he shortened both his first and last names and has been known ever since as Al Green. Green has sung various kinds of music throughout ...

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Bette Greene

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pp. 26-27

Bette Greene grew up in Parkin, Arkansas. Parkin was also the setting for her most famous book, Summer of My German Soldier. Her parents, Arthur and Sadie Evensky, owned and operated a dry goods store in Parkin. ...

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John Grisham

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pp. 28-29

John Grisham is a famous writer who was born in Arkansas and grew up in Arkansas. His parents were cotton farmers near Black Oak, Arkansas, when Grisham was born. His father later took jobs in construction. These jobs caused the family to move many times, but Grisham’s grandparents ...

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Johnnie Bryant Hunt

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pp. 30-31

Johnnie Bryant Hunt was usually known by his initials, J. B. He was born on a farm in Cleburne County, Arkansas, and he grew up working on that farm. He left school after his seventh-grade year to take a job at his uncle’s sawmill. He married Johnelle DeBusk ...

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John H. Johnson

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pp. 32-33

John H. Johnson was born in and grew up in Arkansas City near the Mississippi River. His father died in an accident at the sawmill where he worked when Johnson was eight. The next year, the river flooded and Johnson and his mother had to live on a levee with their neighbors. ...

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Samuel Kountz

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pp. 34-35

Samuel Kountz was a doctor who specialized in transplanting kidneys and other organs. To transplant an organ means to remove it from one person and implant it in another person. ...

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Blanche Lincoln

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pp. 36-37

Blanche Lincoln represented the state of Arkansas in the United States House of Representatives for four years and in the United States Senate for twelve years. She was the second woman from Arkansas to serve in the Senate and—at the time she was elected— was one of nine female senators in the hundred-member body. ...

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Scottie Pippen

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pp. 38-39

Scottie Pippen is one of several famous basketball players from Arkansas. He is a hero in the city of Chicago where he played for a professional team, the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls won six ...

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Winthrop Rockefeller

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pp. 40-41

Winthrop Rockefeller, Arkansas’s thirty-seventh governor, was not born in Arkansas. Rockefeller moved to Arkansas when he was forty-two years old. His family lived in New York. His grandfather, John D. Rockefeller, had founded Standard Oil. All of the Rockefellers were very wealthy. ...

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Rodney Slater

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pp. 42-43

Rodney Slater held important jobs in the government of the state of Arkansas and also in the government of the United States. As secretary of transportation, Slater was part of President Bill Clinton’s cabinet from February 1997 until January 2001. ...

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Mary Steenburgen

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pp. 44-45

Mary Steenburgen was born in Newport, Arkansas. When she was three years old, her family moved to North Little Rock. Her father had a job with the railroad. Steenburgen took dance lessons and also loved to read books. When she was eight, ...

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Donald Tyson

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pp. 46-47

The Tyson family changed the way chickens and other farm animals are raised and sold. When Don Tyson took over Tyson Foods, Inc., after his father died in 1967, it was one of many poultry processing companies in the United States. ...

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Hazel Walker

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pp. 48-49

Hazel Walker was a famous basketball player from Arkansas. She owned, managed, and starred on a team called the Arkansas Travelers. Before she created that team in 1949, Walker had already won awards and championships playing basketball for other ...

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Sam Walton

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pp. 50-51

Sam Walton was born in Oklahoma. As a boy he earned money delivering newspapers and selling magazine subscriptions. He worked in stores and then served in the United States Army during World War II. Walton married Helen Robson—daughter of a prominent local ...


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pp. 53-56

E-ISBN-13: 9781935106586
Print-ISBN-13: 9781935106524

Page Count: 65
Publication Year: 2013