So we are halfway home (so to speak). Please enjoy the video above of a drive around the country as we discuss our next state.
We've arrived at the home of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton. A note about the Arkansas flag: the diamond represents the only place in North America where diamonds have been discovered and mined. The twenty-five white stars around the diamond indicate Arkansas's status as the 25th state, while the single star over "Arkansas" denotes the state's membership in the Confederacy. The other three stars represent Spain, France and the United States, countries that had earlier ruled the land that includes Arkansas.
Arkansas was a reluctant participant in the US Civil War joining the Confederacy late (it was a slave state) and promptly found the majority of its territory occupied by Union troops. During the war for Texas, the region, which shared a border with Texas, had many soldiers passing through Arkansas on its way to secure Texan independence.
Arkansas later became a flashpoint in the Civil Rights struggle when Governor Orville Faubus [who served as Governor longer than any other individual] attempted to block the integration of Central High School in Little Rock in 1957. The school was to be desegregated as part of the landmark decision, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas, handed down in 1954. Nine students were enrolled at Central and angry crowds prevented them from entering the school. Faubus called out the Arkansas National Guard to bar their entry. Local police took the students to safety and President Eisenhower federalized the National Guard to allow the students to enter. Little Rock schools closed for a year and then reopened with limited integration. Faubus's showdown with Eisenhower did help him in Arkansas, he was reelected Governor four more times.
Two weeks in a row we have arrived at a presidential producing state, as noted above, Bill Clinton hailed from Hope, served as Governor of the State, and his Presidential Library was established in Little Rock. The current Governor of Arkansas is Democrat Mike Beebe. Arkansas' Senators are separated by the ideological aisle, Democrat Mark Pryor and Republican John Boozman. Here's an interesting trivia question to see how many people are paying attention (and reading these posts) - How many of the fifty states have split Senators, that is one from each party? The Arkansas Congressional Delegation is only four strong, three Republicans and one Democrat.
- 1st District - Rick Crawford (R)
- 2nd District - Tim Griffin (R)
- 3rd District - Steve Womack (R)
- 4th District - Mike Ross (D)
- State Capital (and largest city) - Little Rock
- Date of Admission - June 15, 1836
- Area - 53,179 sq mi (29th)
- Population (2011 est.) - 2,937,979 (32nd)
- State Motto - "Regnat populus" "The People Rule"
- State Nickname - The Natural State
- State bird - mockingbird
- State flower - apple blossom
- State gem - give you three guesses, first two don't count
- State tree - loblolly pine
- State University - The University of Arkansas
- State Archives - The Arkansas History Commission (http://www.ark-ives.com/ - isn't that cute?)
- arkansas.gov - the Official Website of the State of Arkansas
- The Arkansas Tourism site - arkansas.com
- 50states.com entry for Arkansas
- InfoPlease entry for Arkansas
- Arkansas Fact Sheet from the USDA
- The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture
- G. M. "Broncho Billy" Anderson, actor
- Maya Angelou
- Daisy Bates, who helped lead the charge to desegregate Central High School
- WWI Aviator Raynal Bolling (yes the guy for whom the DC base is named)
- Helen Gurley Brown (hey C in DC, check out this link)
- Paul "Bear" Bryant (born in Arkansas, forever for 'Bama)
- Former Senator and Governor Dale Bumpers
- The "Rhinestone Cowboy" Glen Campbell
- Hattie Caraway, the first elected woman Senator
- The Man in Black, Johnny Cash
- General and presidential candidate Wesley Clark (born in Illinois, but move to the state when he was four)
- Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver
- Baseball player Jay Hanna "Dizzy" Dean
- Poet John Gould Fletcher
- Former Senator J. William Fulbright
- The [very musical and right] Reverend Al Green
- John Grisham
- The Hutchinson boys, Asa and Tim
- Actor Alan Ladd
- Five Star General Douglas MacArthur
- Albert Pike, the only Confederate military officer to have an outdoor statue in Washington, DC (and character in National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets)
- Actor Dick Powell
- Former Governor and family "black sheep" Winthrop Rockefeller and his son, Win Paul Rockefeller
- Actress Mary Steenburgen
- Edward Durrell Stone, architect
- Actor Billy Bob Thornton
- The Waltons (no not those Waltons, the ones who started this place)
Answer to the question above - 17, now name them (the states, not the Senators).