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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Bates, Daisy. Papers

Repository: University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Special Collections

Collection Description (Extant): In 1942, Daisy Lee Gatson married L. C. Bates (1901-1980) and settled in Little Rock. Born in Liberty, Amite County, Mississippi, L. C. Bates attended Alcorn A & M College (now Alcorn State University) in Alcorn, Mississippi and Wilberforce University in Ohio. Although he was an insurance agent when Daisy met him, L. C. had previously worked for a Colorado newspaper for three years and later joined the staff of the Kansas City Call in Missouri. After working for newspapers in California and Memphis, he moved to Little Rock and established the weekly Arkansas State Press; the first issue appeared May 9, 1941. It became the largest and most influential black paper in the state.

During its eighteen-year history, the Arkansas State Press became a leading voice in the Civil Rights Movement. Unrelenting in its criticism, the paper attacked police brutality, segregation and the inequities of the criminal justice system. In 1948, the paper supported the candidacy of Sidney McMath for governor against segregationist Jack Holt and in 1952 supported former Governor Francis Cherry in his re-election bid against Orval Faubus.

The Bateses were members of the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] from the time of their move to Little Rock. In 1952 Daisy was elected president of the Arkansas State Conference of NAACP branches. It was in this capacity that Daisy Bates became the advisor to the Little Rock Nine. The Little Rock School Board's desegregation plan, upheld by the District Federal Court and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, was to begin September, 1957 at the senior high school level at Central High School.

Because of their involvement in the integration of Central High, the subsequent loss of advertising revenue forced the Bates to close the State Press in 1959. In 1960, L. C. became NAACP field director for the state until his retirement in 1971. In 1960, Mrs. Bates moved to New York City and spent two years writing her memoirs of the Central High crisis. The Long Shadow of Little Rock was published in 1962 with an introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt. After completion of the book, Mrs. Bates moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked for the Democratic National Committee and for the Johnson Administration's anti-poverty programs. After suffering a stroke in 1965, she returned to Little Rock.

The collection consists of general and NAACP correspondence of Mrs. Bates; the correspondence of her husband, L. C. Bates from 1960 to 1974; correspondence, grant proposals, partial financial records and other materials relating to the Mitchellville OEO Self-Help Project, 1968-1980; memorabilia, honors and awards, photographs and newspaper clippings; and audio tape and film.

Audio Tapes and Film Series: This series contains thirteen cassette tapes of oral interviews, speeches and radio broadcasts with Mrs. Bates, three of the Little Rock Nine, parents of the Little Rock Nine, reporters covering the Central crisis in 1957 and Governor Faubus; radio and television broadcasts of the Special Education Committee of the Arkansas Legislative Council hearings and its investigation of subversion in the state; and appeals to the senate committee on the state constitution concerning the state sovereignty bills. The series also contains a short negative film interview with Mrs. Bates in 1957.

Access Copy Note: Original reel-to-reel audio tapes have been restricted for reasons of fragility. Copies on cassette tapes are available for research use. Original 8 and 16 mm film of Mrs. Bates is also restricted. Copies on 1/2" VHH videotape are available for research use.

Date(s): 1948 - 1986

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: MC 582

Extent: Correspondence, Memorabilia, Photographs, Newspaper Clippings,
Audio Tapes and Film

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Related Archival Items: See the Daisy Bates Papers at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Interviewees: Daisy Bates, Orval Faubus


African American students--Arkansas
African American women civil rights workers--Arkansas
African Americans--Civil rights--Arkansas
Central High School (Little Rock, Ark.)
Civil rights movements--Arkansas
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
School integration--Arkansas--Little Rock


Sound recordings


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   May 15, 2015
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