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  • Clinton Presidential Center and LibraryClinton Presidential Center and Library Little Rock, Arkansas
    The William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park is the official presidential library of Bill Clinton, started by Bill, the 42nd President of the United States, in Little Rock, Arkansas, and houses the offices of the Clinton Foundation, the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and the presidential library. It is the 13th library constructed for Presidents in these United States, and the 11th to be managed and run by the National Archives and Records Administration; as well as being the third such facility to comply with the Presidential Records Act of 1978. Sitting proudly on 17 acres of landscaping, close by the interstate and Arkansas River, the main structure cantilevers over the river, somehow representing the campaign promises that Clinton made to "building a bridge to the 21st century". The library contains 68,698 square feet, and houses the biggest library for a president, in terms of physical space. The Reagan library has the biggest overall space, since it added another 90,000 square feet with the Air Force One pavilion added in 2005. Bill's archives are the biggest of all, with 2 million photographs, 21 million emails, 79,000 artifacts and 80 million pages of documents, and it should be large, since it did spend the most with its funding coming from 112,000 private donations. The museum contains relics that were used during Bill's two terms as president and also has a full-scale replica of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room. The five story main structure contains 20,000 square feet of ehxibition space, a full service restaurant, classrooms and the Great Hall that is used for any banquets or events that are that big. The top floor contains a 2,000 square foot office used by Bill, which is just one level above the main museum area, and it was inspired by the Long Room at the Old Library in Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. The second floor gallery, contains a 110 foot timeline, which represents every year at the White House for Bill as president, along with an 80 seat theater, the great hall and the copies of the Cabinet room and Oval office. The restaurant can be found in the basement, although it has excellent views of the grounds surrounding it. The park encompasses almost 30 acres of land and sits next to the waterfront. It has become one of the finest examples of urban renewal, since it had been the location of a run-down warehouse district, and alongside the abandoned railroad track of the old Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad that is now out of business. The heart of the park is Celebration Circle, containing a fountain plaza surrounded by the major buildings that has been constructed here. There is a children's play area, gardens, amphitheater and arboretum located there as well. Choctaw Station, is one of the restored historical buildings located there, a redbrick train station, that contains the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Public Policy Institute.

  • Center High Museum and Visitor Center
    Center High Museum and Visitor Center Little Rock, ArkansasThe Center High Museum and Visitor Center in Little Rock, Arkansas was the scene of a very intense stand-off between an angry mob of citizens, armed National Guard troops and nine African American students wishing, or perhaps being coerced into attempting to enter Central High School, a whites-only segregated high school in Little Rock, back in 1957. This small local event would become the scene of national and international television, such as it was in those days, as the group attempted to walk up the steps into the school while words of bitterness, rage and vehement anger was flung at them like rotten vegetables. It would become the first real test of the US Supreme Court's historic Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka's decision, desegregating schools around the United States. It was a difficult time to say the least, with the entire nation glued to the sets of black and white televisions that were prevalent during that year. With only four national stations, the nation watched as these brave young people walked into the school and history. The old Mobile service station that sits at 14th and Park Streets would be formally opened in 1997, as the Central High School Museum Visitor center in 1997, commemorating this incredible event that would change the face of the nation and its school systems forever. The museum contains a marvelous timeline that describes the events leading up to the confrontation, what happened during it and what happened afterwards. In 1949, the University of Arkansas School of Law would become integrated, and the same year, the school board approved making all of its facilities integrated as well. In 1951, the city library board would agree to integrate its libraries, and in 1954, the infamous decision by the Supreme Court would allow African Americans into any school they desired to attend in the nation. That same year, the school board stated that it would comply with the decision, and in 1955, the school board unanimously adopted the superintendent of schools' plan to gradually integrate the schools beginning in September, 1957. In January of 1956, 27 black students tried to register in the all-white schools and were all turned down. The NAACP filed a suit on their behalf, saying that 33 black students had been denied entrance into four all-white schools, and within six months, it would be denied, so then, the NAACP filed an appeal. In the fall of 1956, the city's public buses were quietly desegregated without incident, and the appeals court agreed with Judge Miller's dismissal of the original case. By the spring of 1957, 517 black students, living in the Central High's district, would be able to attend that high school in the fall, with only 17 selected after a grueling interview with the superintendent and staff; with eight later deciding to stay at the all-black school of Horace Mann High School. As the fall approached, those against the desegregation formed the Capital Citizens Council and the Mother's League of Central High School. August 27, 1957, one of the mothers files a motion to temporarily injunct the school's integration, saying that it could lead to violence, but three days later, Judge Ronald Davies denied it. On September 2, 1957, Governor Orval Faubus calls out the National Guard to surround the school so that peace could be continued and violence avoided, although many extremists came to the city in caravans; and Judge Davies orders the desegregation to begin the following day. September 4, 1957, the National Guard refuses to let the students enter the school, and on September 9, the Council of Church Women announces that they oppose segregation and admonish the governor for calling out the guard. They ask for a city wide prayer on the 12th to alleviate the turmoil, and on the 20th, Judge Davies ruled that the governor had called out the guard to prevent integration and the governor took the guard away, allowing the city police to come in instead. On September 23, with a mob of more than a thousand, the nine students are taken into the school through a side door and head to the principal's office to get their class assignments. Once the mob learns of this, they become so unruly and agitated that the students are taken out the side door and whisked away. The city mayor, Woodrow Mann, telegrams President Eisenhower to send federal troops to keep the order and finish what has been started. Ike sends in 1000 of the 101st Airborne Division, and federalizes the 10,000 members of the state's National Guard on the 24th, and on the next day, September 25, 1957, nine black teenagers are escorted into Central High School for the first time in history.

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  • Hearne Fine Art GalleryHearne Fine Art Gallery Little Rock, Arkansas
    The Hearne Fine Art Gallery in Little Rock, Arkansas has been showcasing some of the finest artworks by African American sculptures, painters and other media artists for more than two decades, and includes some of the best and brilliant artists of the last two centuries. The majority of the artworks are for sale, since that is how the gallery stays open, allowing many new artists the opportunity to feature their best works, in front of an appreciative and patronizing audience. Some of the magnificent artists that have works being shown, or offered for sale include; Xenobia Bailey, Phoebe Beasley, William H. Clarke, Kevin Cole, Frank Frazier, Kennith Humphrey, George Hunt, Leroy Johnson, Artis Lane, Sylvester McKissick, Charly Palmer, Alvin Roy, TAFA, Basil Watson and Marjorie Williams-Smith. The gallery has a marvelous bookstore connected with it, offering limited editions, some signed, art books, field trips, articles, conferences, documentaries and videos and information about collecting artworks. The gallery is also engaged in conservation framing, pickup and delivery services, corporate art collection, placement, fine art appraisals, search, secondary market services, fine art travel tours and fine art exhibitions.

  • Old State House
    Old State House Little Rock, ArkansasThe Old State House in Little Rock, Arkansas, is the oldest surviving state capitol west of the Mississippi River, and is well known since Bill Clinton celebrated his victory there after the 1992 Presidential elections. The building had been commissioned by John Pope, the territorial governor, and was built between 1833 and 1842. The architect who had designed the Kentucky state capitol in Frankfort, Gideon Shryock, decided to use a Greek revival style for this capitol building, although it would be much too expensive for the new state to financially fund; so it would fall to Gideon's assistant, George Weigart, to change the plans and lead the construction. The whole house of the general assembly would move into the new structure before it was completely finished, and in 1837, a fatal knife fight would break out between two of the legislators in the house of representatives, while it sat in session. While the Civil War raged around the nation, the structure would be used by Federal troops, who had arrived to occupy the city, and during Reconstruction, it would become the center stage for the Brooks-Baxter War, which turned the whole place into one gigantic fortress. The cannon that was named, "Lady Baxter" is still located there so you can view it while learning more about the small war that took place here during the 1860s. The lovely grand structure would be used as the state capitol until 1912, when a newer one was constructed, and then it was used as a medical school. Eventually, it would be renamed the Arkansas War Memorial and used to house state and federal agencies, along with a meeting place for patriotic groups. In 1947, the general assembly would make it a museum, which would be used for the backdrop to Bill Clinton's announcement that he would run for President of the United States, both times and also as the venue for his celebrations after winning. In 1997, it would become named as a National Historic Landmark and is still used as a museum for the state, pertaining to its history and culture; housing permanent collections of Civil War battle flags, Arkansas art pottery, African American quilts and the inaugural gowns of the governor's wives.

January 11, 2011