College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education
George W. Donaghey Distinguished Professor of History
Dr. John Kirk is the George W. Donaghey Distinguished Professor of History. Among his notable accomplishments, of which there are many, the unifying theme is his dedication to unveiling the history of the Arkansas fight for civil rights against the brutality of racial injustice.
Thanks to his dedication to the fight for racial and social justice, he has become a valuable scholar whose support has been noted throughout Arkansas in presentations, publications, and interviews on the radio, television, and beyond. His accomplishments include publishing “The Civil Rights Movement: A Documentary Reader” in 2020; serving as a featured speaker in a series of podcast episodes for CNN’s “Up from the Grave” in 2019; appearing in the documentary “Dream Land: Little Rock’s West 9th Street” in 2017; and serving as a consultant for the documentary, “Teach Us All,” in 2017.
Writing in support of his service specifically to Lincoln County, Arkansas, Leatrice Russ-Glenns highlighted Dr. Kirk’s invaluable support in the creation and publicity of the annual Carnell Russ Day Community Unity Festival. Dr. Patricia Griffen wrote about Dr. Kirk as a valuable supporter for the Little Rock community, citing a presentation at a collaborative initiative hosted by the Arkansas Association of Black Psychology Professionals (AABPP) and the Little Rock Chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers as well as his continued support for other activities hosted by the AABPP. As a scholar especially, Dr. Patrick Williams noted Dr. Kirk’s past experience as the leader of the Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity and his involvement in the development of the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail. Dr. Kirk recently served as an expert witness in the death penalty case of People v. Leroy Johnson in Fresno County, California. According to attorney David Mugridge, Mr. Johnson received a life verdict thanks in part to Dr. Kirk’s expert testimony on the impact of “intergenerational trauma and the effect on African-American males.”
Dr. Kirk joined UA Little Rock 11 years ago. Previously, he earned the rank of full professor at the University of London. He received a B.A. in American studies from the University of Nottingham and a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.