A commemoration of Daisy Bates’ 100th birthday

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, in partnership with Philander Smith College, will present a screening of the documentary Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock in celebration of Daisy Gatson Bates’ 100th birthday at 6:00 p.m. Monday, November 10, in the Harry R. Kendall Science and Health Mission Center on the campus of Philander Smith College.

Daisy Bates

Photograph of Daisy Bates. Daisy Bates Papers (MC 582), series 4, subseries 1, box 9, photograph number 2. Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville.

Daisy Gatson Bates was born Nov. 11, 1914, in Huttig, Arkansas, and died Nov. 4, 1999.

The event is free and open to the public.

At the conclusion of the documentary, Dr. Michael Twyman, director of the UALR Institute on Race and Ethnicity, will moderate a panel discussion focusing on the legacy and inspiration of Bates. 

The panelists are:

  • Elizabeth Eckford, member of the Little Rock Nine and recipient of the prestigious NAACP Spingarn Medal in 1958.
  • Dr. Terrence J. Roberts, member of the Little Rock Nine and recipient of the prestigious NAACP Spingarn Medal in 1958.
  • Janis F. Kearney, former publisher of the Arkansas State Press, presidential diarist for the Clinton Administration, and author of Daisy: Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
  • Treopia Washington, former Special Assistant to the Executive Director for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and current Vice President for Partnerships and Minority affairs at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
  • Sharon La Cruise, manager for the Ford Foundation JustFilms unit and producer, director, and writer of Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock, a 2012 documentary on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens.

As the president of the Arkansas State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Bates symbolized the legal fight to desegregate public schools after the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education found segregated schools unconstitutional.

Daisy Bates Day, commemorated on the third Monday of every February, is observed by the state of Arkansas – the first state holiday established in honor of an African American woman. Bates was also awarded the NAACP Spingarn Medal in 1958.

For more information, please call 501.374.1957 or email chsc_info@nps.gov.

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The Institute on Race and Ethnicity at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock was founded in July 2011. With a vision to make Arkansas the best state in the country for promoting and celebrating racial and ethnic diversity, the Institute conducts research, promotes scholarship and provides programs that address racial inequities. It does so by facilitating open and honest dialogue aimed at empowering communities and informing public policy to achieve more equitable outcomes.

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