May 13, 2015 Edition

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Fayth Hill Washington (center), executive director of the Hill Foundation, discusses plans to mark the 60th anniversary of the Hoxie School integration during a recent meeting at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce office. Among those in attendance were Dr. Edward Salo, historic preservationist with Arkansas State University, and Fran Cavenaugh, president of the Chamber Board.

Anniversary of integration
of Hoxie School approaching

Gretchen Hunt
Editor

The 60th anniversary of the Hoxie School integration is approaching, and the county is making preparations to celebrate and remember the success of the small town during turbulent times.

Fayth Hill Washington, executive director of the Hill Foundation, said what happened in Hoxie was "success against the grain." That has become the theme for the foundation, which has been working to ensure the Hoxie integration is remembered and, as the website states, receives its "rightful place in history."

The Hoxie integration is referred to as "The First Stand" because it was the first school in Arkansas to fully integrate after the school board voted to do so following the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954.

The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce has formed a committee, chaired by Hoxie Mayor Lanny Tinker, to make plans to mark the anniversary and preserve the history of the "Hoxie 21," as the African-American students who first attended Hoxie School have come to be known.

In addition to Tinker, Chamber representatives, representatives of the Hill Foundation and Dr. Edward Salo, historic preservationist with Arkansas State University, were in attendance at a meeting last week.

Among things discussed were making video recordings of individuals' stories from the time of the integration to help preserve the history. It is hoped that once a date is set for the anniversary event that many of the students will be able to return and video interviews might be conducted at that time.

Fran Cavenaugh, president of the Chamber board, said it is essential to preserve these memories for future generations.

"We feel that the Hoxie 21 story is not just an Arkansas story - it is a national story," she said.

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