L.C. Bates joins his wife, Daisy Bates, the Little Rock Nine, and attorney Christopher Mercer Jr. as a 2012 honoree for the 2nd Annual Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail and Commemoration. They are being honored due to their dedication to obtaining equal rights in education in Arkansas, particularly, during the integration of Central High School.
Lucious Christopher “L.C.” Bates was the founder of the Arkansas State Press newspaper, where he used the voice of the paper to help attack the system of unequal rights for African Americans. The State Press was published weekly in Little Rock and became a powerful tool to showcase daily live in the African American community and protest against unfair treatment. The paper will be the largest and most widely distributed statewide African American paper until 1959 when it officially went out of print.
Bates was also active in the NAACP and played a very active role in the desegregation of Central High School. He was Bates was one of the plaintiffs on behalf of his son, Clyde Bates, in Aaron v. Cooper case filed by the NAACP to enforce the Brown v. Board of Education of Topkea, Kansas decision in the Little Rock school district. During the 1957-58 school year in which the Little Rock Nine attended Central High, Bates was an advisor to his wife, Daisy. He continued to run his newspaper and along with other men from the community, he guarded his home from attacks during the night.
Bates continued to use the State Press as a tool to further the integration agenda, in fact, “until its demise in 1959, the State Press was the sole newspaper in Arkansas to demand an immediate end to segregated schools.” (Stockley, 2009.) The paper voiced it’s views of the crisis regularly on the front page even when advertisers began to withdraw their support.
Following the Central High Crisis, Bates continued to work for the NAACP. He served as a field secretary until 1970 throughout states such as Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee.
Bates, Daisy. The Long Shadow of Little Rock. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2000.
Kirk, John Andrew. Redefining the Color Line: Black Activism in Little Rock, Arkansas 1940–1970. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002.
Stockley, Grif. Bates, Lucious Christopher. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Retrieved June 15, 2012, from http://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=1587.