Wednesday, January 29 | Doors open at 4:30 p.m.; Program starts at 5 p.m. (Wally Allen Ballroom, Statehouse Convention Center)
In partnership with Association of Presbyterian Church Educators
Elizabeth Eckford helped change the course of American history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine African-American students who desegregated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The situation at Central High resulted in the nation’s greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War. Federal troops were sent to Little Rock to ensure that Eckford and other students could attend the school.
In 1958, she and the other members of the Little Rock Nine were awarded the prestigious Spurgeon Medal. In 1998, Little Rock Central High School became Little Rock Central National Historic Site. At a White House ceremony in 1999, Eckford, along with other members of the Little Rock Nine, received the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian award.
A graduate of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, Eckford went on to serve in the United States Army. In 2018 she wrote a book about her experience, “The Worst First Day: Bullied While Desegregating Central High.”
Panel Discussion with The Rep on ANN
Thursday, January 30 at Noon (Sturgis Hall)
In partnership with The Rep
Tony Award winner Elizabeth Ashley is the legendary Ann Richards in ANN, a no-holds-barred look at the brassy, blue governor who changed the face of Texas politics.
A woman who always had the right one-liners loaded and ready to fire, ANN is brought to vivid life in a tour-de-force performance by Tony Award-winner and Emmy and Golden Globe-nominee Elizabeth Ashley (Barefoot in the Park and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway, “Evening Shade”, Netflix’s current hit “Russian Doll”) and directed by Drama Desk Award-winner Michael Wilson (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man and The Trip to Bountiful on Broadway).
Come sit a spell for this story of an impassioned woman who enriched the lives of her followers, friends, and family…with all the charm, charisma, and persuasion that makes a politician good at her job.
Making of an Entrepreneur
Tuesday, February 4 at Noon (Sturgis Hall)
In partnership with The Venture Center
Selected from a field of hundreds of global fintech companies, ten entrepreneurs have the chance of a lifetime at the ICBA ThinkTECH Accelerator in Little Rock.
In this panel discussion, you will hear the candid stories of five entrepreneurs and their journeys toward making a meaningful impact in the world. You’ll hear from Booshan Rengachari, Founder + CEO of Finzly; Nicky Senyard, Founder + CEO of Fintel Connect; AK Patel, Founder + CEO of Lendsmart; Donald Hawkins, Founder + CEO of Griffin Technologies; and Moshe Teren, Co-Founder and CTO of Finscend – and you’ll leave uplifted and energized by their creativity and courage.
Join us as we hear their inspiring stories from the entrepreneurs participating in the ICBA ThinkTech Accelerator program at The Venture Center.
Thomas Abt – “Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Violence – and a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets”
Thursday, February 13 at 6 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
Book signing to follow
Thomas Abt is a senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice. Previously, he served as a policymaker in Barack Obama's Justice Department and worked for New York governor Andrew Cuomo, overseeing all criminal justice and homeland security agencies in the state.
Both in the United States and globally, Abt writes, teaches, and studies the use of evidence-informed approaches to reduce urban violence, among other criminal justice topics.
In his new book, “Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Violence — and a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets,” Abt outlines a concrete, multipronged strategy of prevention and policing to bring peace to America’s cities.
Scott Whiteley Carter – “On Lasting Pillars”
Wednesday, February 19 at 6 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
In February 1940, the Joseph Taylor Robinson Memorial Auditorium opened in Little Rock. Like all of that city’s public facilities at the time, it segregated its audiences based on race. This continued a practice which dated back to Little Rock’s earliest days. Unlike some Southern cities which forbade African Americans from using their municipal auditorium, Little Rock allowed them to use the building, but insisted on strict adherence to rules. Segregation would continue at Robinson until a February 1963 court order mandated the integration of the City’s public facilities. Until that decision, African Americans had long performed in Robinson, but for either segregated or single race audiences.
In honor of the 80th birthday of Robinson Center Performance Hall and as part of Black History Month, this program looks at the history of race and the auditorium, from its architecture to the policies which kept it segregated.
Scott Whiteley Carter is a Public Affairs and Creative Economy Advisor for the City of Little Rock; in that capacity he is also the City’s historian. He is currently finishing a manuscript entitled “On Lasting Pillars” which chronicles the six-decade effort to construct a municipal auditorium in Little Rock, which also provides an insight into the City’s daily and political life from the 1880s through the 1940s.
South Words: Silas House
Tuesday, February 25 | Doors open at 6 p.m.; Program starts at 6:30 p.m. (Ron Robinson Theater)
In partnership with Oxford American
Book signing to follow
Silas House is the author of five novels. His book for middle-grade readers, “Same Sun Here,” was a finalist for the E. B. White Read-Aloud award. A frequent contributor to the New York Times and a former commentator for NPR’s All Things Considered, House is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and is the winner of the Nautilus Award, the Appalachian Writers Association's Book of the Year, and other honors. In “Southernmost,” a tender novel about judgment, courage, heartbreak, and change, evangelical preacher Asher Sharp offers shelter to two gay men after a flood in a small Tennessee town. In doing so, he starts to see his life anew—and risks losing everything.
Moderating the discussion is OA contributor and editor-in-chief at Sibling Rivalry Press, Seth Pennington. Pennington is the author of “Tertulia,” which was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Chapbook Award.
Kevin Salwen – “The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle”
Wednesday, February 26 at Noon (Sturgis Hall)
Book signing to follow
Kevin Salwen is the co-author of “The Suspect: An Olympic Bombing, the FBI, the Media, and Richard Jewell, the Man Caught in the Middle.” The book is a source for the new Clint Eastwood film, Richard Jewell, starring Sam Rockwell, Kathy Bates, and Jon Hamm.
Salwen was a reporter, columnist and editor at the Wall Street Journal for 18 years. At the nation’s largest newspaper, he helped cover two presidential administrations, wrote two columns and launched two publications. After leaving the paper in 2000, Salwen built several media companies, consulted to the U.S. Olympic Committee and Yahoo, and wrote (along with his then-teenaged daughter) “The Power of Half: One Family’s Decision to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back.”
In 2016, Salwen was a partner at Stanford University’s Distinguished Careers Institute, and is a recipient of the Northwestern University Service to Society Award.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Kevin has served on the boards of Year Up Atlanta and Habitat for Humanity in Atlanta.
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.