Ms. Bates was a civil rights activist, journalist, and newspaper publisher. She served as the mentor of the Little Rock Nine when they integrated Central High School in 1957. She was president of the Arkansas NAACP, and, with her husband, owned the Arkansas State Press, a weekly newspaper that focused on civil rights. As a result of her support of the Little Rock Nine, she received bomb threats, had rocks thrown through her window, was arrested, and eventually lost her newspaper. Undaunted, she continued her life of service, working on anti-poverty programs in the Johnson administration and founding a self-help program in the rural Black community of Mitchellville, helping them get basic services. Ms. Bates revived her newspaper in 1980. In 1996, Ms. Bates, in a wheelchair, carried the Olympic torch through Atlanta. The third Monday of February has been declared “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, and an elementary school in Little Rock bears her name. I highly recommend reading “Daisy Bates: The Power of One,” by Judith Bloom Fradin and Dennis Brindell Fradin.
Sanguine Fromage, WERU radio personality since 2005, current host of UpFront Soul, former host of The Nightfly, Off the Wall, Enjoy Yourself, and Sound Travels.
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