Lecture Features Research on Historic Southland College, Arkansas’s First Black College

Thomas C. Kennedy
Photo Submitted

Thomas C. Kennedy

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Libraries' special collections department joins with the University of Arkansas Press to present "'We Surely Owe a Debt to These Long Downtrodden People': The Accidental Founding and Amazing Survival of Southland College, 1864-1925" by professor emeritus Thomas C. Kennedy on Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Giffels Auditorium in Old Main. A reception will begin at 3 p.m.; the lecture is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. followed by a book signing.

The lecture is based on Kennedy's research for A History of Southland College: The Society of Friends and Black Education in Arkansas just released by the University of Arkansas Press, which will be available for purchase at the event.

In 1864 Alida and Calvin Clark, two abolitionist members of the Religious Society of Friends from Indiana, went on a mission trip to Helena, Ark. The Clarks had come to render temporary relief to displaced war orphans but instead found a lifelong calling. During their time in Arkansas, they started the school that became Southland College, which was the first institution of higher education for blacks west of the Mississippi, and they set up the first predominantly black monthly meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in North America.

A succession of midwestern Quakers willing to endure the primitive conditions and social isolation of their work carried on the progressive racial vision of the Clarks in the succeeding decades. These missionaries often struggled to overcome the persistent challenges of economic adversity, social strife and natural disaster. Southland's survival through six difficult and sometimes dangerous decades reflects both the continuing missionary zeal of the Clarks and their successors as well as the dedication of the black Arkansans who sought dignity and hope at a time when these were rare commodities for African Americans in Arkansas.

The special collections department of the University of Arkansas Libraries houses a collection of records for Southland College that includes correspondence, predominantly during the last years from 1922 to 1925; student records, financial records, minutes of the Missionary Board of the Indiana Yearly Meeting, minutes and records of the Southland Monthly Meeting, and photographs. A finding aid describing the contents is available.

Thomas C. Kennedy is the author of The Hound of Conscience: A History of the No-Conscription Fellowship, 1914–1919 and British Quakerism, 1860–1920: The Transformation of a Religious Community. He has also written numerous articles on Quakers in Arkansas.

Additional information may be obtained by calling the University of Arkansas Libraries’ special collections department at 479-575-5577.

Contacts

Diane Worrell, Arkansas special projects librarian
University Libraries special collections departmen
479-575-5330, dfworrell@uark.edu

Molly Boyd, public relations coordinator
University Libraries
479-575-2962, mdboyd@uark.edu


Editor-selected comments will be published below. No abusive material, personal attacks, profanity, spam or material of a similar nature will be considered for publication.

comments powered by Disqus

Headlines

B.F.A. Student Wows New Media World with Hybrid Art

Artist Wanbli Gamache is making a name for himself in the growing world of time-based art. He has showcased his work in new media art festivals in Athens to Ecuador, as well as in Miami, Chicago, South Carolina and Little Rock.

Greenway Supports Students, Two Colleges with Campaign Arkansas Gift

A $250,000 gift from Greenway Equipment, Inc. will be used to fund two scholarships and an excellence fund at the University of Arkansas.

2017 Kernodle New Play Award Winner Announced

The winner of the Department of Theatre's 2017 Kernodle New Play Award is Barbara Hammond for her play Visible From Four States.

Center For Food Animal Wellbeing Hosting Annual Symposium Aug. 3

Academic and industry experts will be among the speakers discussing the challenges and opportunities involved in managing the health and well-being of cattle, poultry and hogs.

Recent U of A Graduates Can Receive a 50 Percent Discount on Razorback Tickets

Recent University of Arkansas graduates are invited to join the Young Alumni Program within the Razorback Foundation for a reduced rate on football and men's basketball tickets.

Newswire Daily