University Planning Campus Monument to Civil Rights Pioneer
Silas Hunt, first African American student to attend University of Arkansas School of Law
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Public Art Oversight Committee is seeking established professional artists to send qualifications and proposals for an outdoor monument to honor Silas Hunt, the first African American student to attend the university’s School of Law.
At this point, two possible sites are being considered for the monument: outside Silas Hunt Hall, which houses the office of admissions and is located at the intersection of Maple Street and Garland Avenue; or north of Old Main, near the Academic Support Building, which was the School of Law when Hunt enrolled. Other sites may be considered as well. The Public Art Oversight Committee will make recommendations regarding both the artist and the location for the monument; the chancellor will have final approval.
“We want to commission an artist, or team of artists, to create an original, permanent monument with timeless qualities and broad community appeal,” said Brad Choate, chair of the Public Art Oversight Committee. “We want something that will represent Silas Hunt and his importance to the University of Arkansas to current and future generations.”
Silas Herbert Hunt, a native of Ashdown and veteran of World War II, was still recovering from wounds suffered during the Battle of the Bulge when he returned to Arkansas to finish his undergraduate degree at Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal College, now known as the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, in 1947. On Feb. 2, 1948, he became the first African American student to integrate a Southern public university since Reconstruction.
Hunt died of tuberculosis in 1949 before finishing his law degree. The university established the Silas Hunt Legacy Award in 2006 to honor people who carry on his spirit, and the university posthumously awarded Hunt an honorary Juris Doctor in 2008.
The estimated budget for the Silas Hunt Monument is $30,000.
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