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What Happened When Little Rock Closed Its Public Schools
Much has been written about the Little Rock School Crisis of 1957, but very little has been devoted to the following year—the Lost Year, 1958–59—when Little Rock schools were closed to all students, both black and white. Finding the Lost Year is the first book to look at the unresolved elements of the school desegregation crisis and how it turned into a community crisis, when policymakers thwarted desegregation and challenged the creation of a racially integrated community and when competing groups staked out agendas that set Arkansas’s capital on a path that has played out for the past fifty years. In Little Rock in 1958, 3,665 students were locked out of a free public education. Teachers’ lives were disrupted, but students’ lives were even more confused. Some were able to attend schools outside the city, some left the state, some joined the military, some took correspondence courses, but fully 50 percent of the black students went without any schooling. Drawing on personal interviews with over sixty former teachers and students, black and white, Gordy details the long-term consequences for students affected by events and circumstances over which they had little control.
Elizabeth Hadaway doesn’t just tell stories in her poems, she aims to delight as much as instruct, and her poems are scores for performance. Sparkling with shout-outs to Beowulf and Keats, varied meters, and surprising rhymes, she lifts centuries of hurt and anger into a contrary music. Her reach is vast, including everything from T. S. Eliot to the swans on her vinyl lace shower curtains. She warns us off from stereotypes and misconceptions about Appalachia and the South.
The Fire Landscape is a series of poem sequences that chronicle a wide variety of coming-of-age moments from childhood in the 1950s through the beginning of the 21st century. These deeply layered, complex narrative poems are connected by close personal observation of place and time but also by the politics of the Cold War and its aftermath, including a sequence driven by the May 4, 1970, shooting of students by the National Guard at Kent State where Gary Fincke was a student at the time.
The Foreign Slave Trade in the United States after 1808
Freebooters and Smugglers examines the tactics and strategies that the adherents of the foreign slave trade used to challenge the law. It reassesses the role that Americans played in the continuation of foreign slave transshipments into the country right up to the Civil War, shedding light on an important topic that has been largely overlooked in the historiography of the slave trade.
My 4,600-Mile Journey through the South
Inspired by a 1937 map and travelogue of a newspaperman’s tour, author Mark W. Nichols embarked on his own long journey into the unique cities of the South. En route he met beekeepers, cheese makers, crawfish “bawlers,” duck callers, and a licensed alligator hunter, as well as entrepreneurs and governors. His keen observations encompass the southern states from Virginia to Arkansas and points south, and he unpacks the unique qualities of every city he visits. “It’s easy to say that getting to meet so many interesting and wonderful people was the best part of the journey--because it’s true,” Nichols writes. “I know there are friendly people everywhere, but southern friendliness is different.” His story embraces a wealth of southern charm from local characters, folklore, and customs to food, music, and dancing. Besides being just plain fun to read, Nichols’s account of his journey gives readers a true taste of the flavor of the evolving modern South.
“Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum is not a poet of small ambition. He reaches after big subjects in the high style, and—mirabile dictu—he brings it off. There is something of Walt Whitman in McFadyen-Ketchum. He is a rhapsodist spinning words into a musical web. Line by line the poems pulse with verbal energy. His language is all meat and muscle. And yet, at the heart of the poems, one finds not simply a literary performance but a tender alertness to the world.” —Dana Gioia, author of Pity the Beautiful: Poems and Interrogations at Noon: Poems
“A most useful guide to a subject that has long been neglected, and McGhee deserves high marks for the tremendous amount of research that obviously was required.” —Journal of America’s Military Past “Deeply researched, skillfully compiled and deftly organized, and remarkably complete . . . authoritative.” —Civil War Books and Authors “This well organized and authoritative reference work reflects years of painstaking research, verification of details, and extremely careful editing.” —T. Michael Parrish, Baylor University
“The past is a flame you must learn to hold / your hand above,” Eric Leigh writes in this first volume of poems, a poignant meditation on the harm that we can and cannot keep from those we love, and the harm that cannot be kept from us. Taking place in both the rural and the urban, in fields and on sidewalks, in gay bars and in laboratories, with topics as diverse and powerful as a father's suicide, a mother's resilience, coming out, lost love and the continuing plight of HIV, Leigh’s poems locate the heartbreaking music in these struggles.
In 1981, James F. Cherry embarked on what evolved into a passionate, personal quest to identify and document all the known headpots of Mississippian Indian culture from northeast Arkansas and the bootheel region of southeast Missouri. Produced by two groups the Spanish called the Casqui and Pacaha and dating circa AD 1400–1700, headpots occur, with few exceptions, only in a small region of Arkansas and Missouri. Relatively little is known about these headpots: did they portray kinsmen or enemies, the living or the dead or were they used in ceremonies, in everyday life, or exclusively for the sepulcher? Cherry’s decades of research have culminated in the lavishly illustrated The Headpots of Northeast Arkansas and Southern Pemiscot County, Missouri, a fascinating, comprehensive catalog of 138 identified classical style headpots and an invaluable resource for understanding the meaning of these remarkable ceramic vessels.
The Society of Friends and Black Education in Arkansas
In 1864 Alida and Calvin Clark, two abolitionist members of the Religious Society of Friends from Indiana, went on a mission trip to Helena, Arkansas. The Clarks had come to render temporary relief to displaced war orphans but instead found a lifelong calling. During their time in Arkansas, they started the school that became Southland College, which was the first institution of higher education for blacks west of the Mississippi, and they set up the first predominately black monthly meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in North America. Their progressive racial vision was continued by a succession of midwestern Quakers willing to endure the primitive conditions and social isolation of their work and to overcome the persistent challenges of economic adversity, social strife, and natural disaster. Southland’s survival through six difficult and sometimes dangerous decades reflects both the continuing missionary zeal of the Clarks and their successors as well as the dedication of the black Arkansans who sought dignity and hope at a time when these were rare commodities for African Americans in Arkansas.