This Week In Arkansas History: Desegregating The Capitol Cafeteria

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 66 views 

“Talk Business & Politics” has started a new collaboration on our KATV Ch. 7 TV show, which airs Sundays at 9 a.m.

With help from the University of Arkansas’ David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History, we’ll be bringing viewers and readers a look at significant events in Arkansas’ past through the extensive video archives in the center’s vault.

We look at events from this week in 1965. During the civil rights struggle, protestors sat in front of the entrance of the Arkansas State Capitol cafeteria, which is still in the basement today. The capitol cafeteria remained segregated in 1965, claiming it was a private club that allowed for it.

Then-Secretary of State Kelly Bryant ordered the state police to arrest 25 civil rights demonstrators who attempted to have lunch that day in mid-March.

Bishop Robert Brown of the Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas and several other clergy leaders from around the state joined forces with the protestors calling for an end to the practice on “moral grounds.”

They presented Gov. Orval Faubus with a petition asking him to intervene in the circumstances. You can watch footage of the events in the video below.

Also, the Arkansas Times presented a feature story on the experience last year, courtesy of John A. Kirk, George W. Donaghey Professor and Chair of the History Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

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