City celebrates 50 years of downtown desegregation by adding 11 honorees to Heritage Trail
Each year, the UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity recognizes individuals who have been integral in the civil rights movement in Arkansas by adding markers along the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail and holding commemoration ceremonies for the public.
In 2013, the Institute partnered with the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of downtown Little Rock businesses Sept. 21, 2013, at the Chamber.
This event was part of the Chamber’s 31st Annual Minority Enterprise Development Week and included a public unveiling of the markers, reception, and the seminar, “Developing Future Leaders: How Strong Mentors Can Increase Diversity in Leadership Positions.”
Eleven individuals from the Council on Community Affairs, Downtown Negotiating Committee, and Philander Smith College, were honored with bronze markers placed on the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail in front of the Chamber. See information about 2011 and 2012 honorees at Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Honorees.
In 1963, this diverse group made up of members from COCA, DNC, and students from Philander Smith College worked together to plan a peaceful integration of downtown retail and restaurant establishments. Because of their efforts and others, by the end of 1963 most of the downtown retail businesses and restaurants had integrated.
2013 Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail Honorees
- Dr. Garman P. Freeman, COCA
- Dr. Morris A. Jackson, COCA
- William Starr Mitchell, DNC
- James H. Penick, DNC
- Arthur Phillips, DNC
- Rev. Negail Riley, Pastor, Wesley Chapel at Philander Smith College; COCA
- Bert Strauss, Philander Smith College student; DNC
- Ozell Sutton, COCA
- Dr. William H. Townsend, COCA
- Dr. Evangeline Upshur, COCA
- B. Finley Vinson, DNC