Daisy Bates (1914-1999) served as President, Arkansas State Conference, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, from 1952 to 1959. She is best known for her involvement in the struggle to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mrs. Bates was an advisor to the nine black students (The Little Rock Nine) trying to attend the previously all-white school. Among her other accomplishments she was a publisher, with husband L. C. Bates, of the Arkansas State Press newspaper (1942-87).
She published a book entitled, The Long Shadow of Little Rock (1962) and worked for the Democratic National Committee and government anti-poverty programs in the early 1960s.
An Elementary School in Little Rock was named in her honor in 1987. On February 19, 2001, a state holiday was named in her honor. The third Monday in February of every year (the same day as President's Day) is observed as Daisy Gatson Bates day in Arkansas. Arkansas is the first state to honor an African American female with a state holiday. Follow the list of links to learn more about the significant contributions and accomplishments of Daisy Lee Gatson Bates.
George Howard, Jr., (1924-2007) was born in 1924 in Jefferson County. He attended Lincoln University in Missouri and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he received his law degree in 1954. Mr. Howard practiced law in Pine Bluff and worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), serving as president of the State Conference of Branches. In 1980 he became Arkansas' first black federal judge. In 1969, then Governor Winthrop Rockefeller appointed Mr. Howard to the state Claims Commission. After that, he went on to serve on the state Supreme Court and the Arkansas Court of Appeals before arriving at the federal bench. He was the first black person to hold each of those positions in Arkansas.
His most widely known cases came during the Whitewater controversy. Judge Howard presided over the trials of James and Susan McDougal and former Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker. The trials came about because of the McDougal's and Governor Tucker's involvement in former President and Mrs. Clinton's failed Whitewater real estate transaction in northern Arkansas.