He was the personification of the emerging politics of progressive moderation in the South in the 1960s following the bitter end of Jim Crow segregation, and his legislative successes ushered in a wave of modernity unknown in Arkansas legislative history.
Now, the documents and papers from Dale Leon Bumpers’ time as Arkansas’s 38th governor are open for historians, students, and the public to study at the UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture located at the Arkansas Studies Institute in the River Market District.
Bumpers, 86, served as Arkansas’s governor from 1971 to 1975, when he was sworn in as U.S. senator. In the course of his political career, Bumpers defeated iconic Arkansas politicians Orval Faubus, Winthrop Rockefeller, and J. William Fulbright. The New York Times dubbed him “the giant killer.”
Born and raised in Charleston, Ark., Bumpers served in the Marines towards the end of World War II and earned a law degree from Northwestern University in Chicago before returning home to be, as he described it, “the best lawyer in a one-lawyer town.”
Slideshow: View Photographs from the opening ceremony.