The Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, a division of the Arkansas Department of Education, will observe the 65th anniversary of the integration of the Hoxie School District in partnership with the Hoxie School District, city of Hoxie, the Hoxie the First Stand Board 65th Anniversary Board on Monday (Jan. 13) at the high school.
The program is free and open to the public and begins at 9 a.m.
The first battle to implement the historic Brown vs. Board of Education school desegregation decision was fought in Hoxie. The Hoxie School District, under the leadership of Kunkel Edward Vance, withstood strong opposition and became the first school district to fully integrate K–12 students on July 11, 1955.
“There were several “foot soldiers” in the Civil Rights movement, DuShun Scarbrough, executive director of the Arkansas Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission said.
The Commission makes every effort to honor the contributions of so many throughout the state who made a significant impact on the American Civil Rights movement, he said.
What happened in Hoxie set the stage for Little Rock Central High School and many to schools to follow.
As it was an unpopular decision during this time, we honor the bravery, courage, and resilience of the Hoxie School District who implemented the integration of the schools because they believed it was “the right thing to do” against the opposition, he added.