The founding of the Joel E. Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity in July 2011 was the culmination of years of internal conversations, programming, research, and outreach on the subject of race and ethnicity.
When Joel E. Anderson became chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) in 2003 he made issues of racial and ethnic justice a cornerstone of his term in office and of the university’s mission.
To that end, Chancellor Anderson formed the Chancellor’s Committee on Race and Ethnicity, a voluntary group of faculty and staff that met on Monday afternoons to discuss issues of race and ethnicity.
It was out of those meetings that the Anderson Institute was born. Members of the Chancellor’s Committee travelled on a number of fact-finding trips to other institutions before drawing up the Anderson Institute’s mission and goals.
The Anderson Institute’s launch was held July 10, 2011, during the celebration and commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Riders coming to Little Rock to desegregate the Trailways Bus Terminal.
On that day, the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail, one of our award-winning projects, was created to acknowledge the sacrifices and achievements made by those who have fought for racial and ethnic justice in the state.
The Anderson Institute has launched a number of initiatives and served a number of different constituencies since then.
We are grounded in serving students. In conjunction with UA Little Rock’s History Department we provide a Race and Ethnicity Minor program to educate students about issues of race and ethnicity.
We also have a growing number of student affiliate groups. Throughout the year, we provide programming such as guest speakers, workshops and conferences that engage the student body.
We have associate faculty members from UA Little Rock and other campuses that teach on our minor, conduct research and assist with our programming.
We have extensive community engagement in Little Rock, in Arkansas, and beyond.
An Advisory Council of distinguished community figures guides our mission and provides support for our activities.
Since our founding in 2011, we have taken a leading role in producing the survey and putting together the conference.
For further information and inquiries, please feel free to contact us.