Civil Rights

"Love me or leave me and let me be lonely," sings a confident, captivating Nina Simone on her singular version of the American standard. The interpretation also captures her lesser known, classical background when halfway through she breaks into a Bach-inspired piano solo.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Arkansans don't need special civil rights protections, according to the Arkansas legislature and governor. Act 137 of 2015 bars cities and counties from passing ordinances that "create protected classification or prohibits discrimination" on anyone not covered by the state's existing civil rights codes.

Arkansas's Civil Rights Act bans discrimination on the basis of race, religion and other classifications — but not sexual orientation or gender identity. And because several state anti-bullying and domestic violence statutes offer LGBTQ Arkansans protection, opponents say local codes are redundant — codes such as Fayetteville's Ordinance 5781 that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  

State Act 137 also ensures that “businesses, organizations and employers doing business in the state are subject to uniform nondiscrimination laws and obligations.”

But Act 137 has come under judicial scrutiny.

J. Froelich / KUAF

A pair of Fayetteville civil rights activists are constructing a peaceful coalition they've named "Not My City" working with law enforcement and civic groups to make Fayetteville a safer place to live. 

Retired U.S. Marshal Makes History Without Realizing It

Jan 18, 2016
courtesy photo

Richard Bowden served as a police officer for the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, he was involved with infiltrating illegal drug rings, and he served as a U.S. Marshal.  It was in that capacity that he drove the car in which Martin Luther King, Jr. rode to the March on Washington in 1963.  He is the keynote speaker at Thursday evening's Unsung Heroes Program at UAFS. 

Central High and Civil Rights in Arkansas

Sep 28, 2015

This month marks the anniversary of the integration of Central High in Little Rock, probably the most famous episode in Arkansas' civil rights history.