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Arkansas State University to host
Senator Hattie Caraway Day

Oct. 12, 2005 -- Arkansas State University in Jonesboro will host Senator Hattie Caraway Day in the ASU Student Union auditorium on Monday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is sponsored by the ASU College of Humanities and Social Sciences in conjunction Senator Hattie Carawaywith the faculty of the Women and Gender Studies minor and Phi Alpha Theta history honors society. It will recognize Caraway, a long-time Jonesboro resident, who in 1932 became the first woman to be elected to the United States Senate, serving until 1945. The event also recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Arkansas League of Women Voters. The event is free and open to the public.

Guest speakers include Memphis City Council member Carol Chumney; historian Dr. Elizabeth Jacoway of Newport; Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch, ASU assistant professor of history; Dr. Elizabeth Payne, director of the Honors College at the University of Mississippi; Jonesboro City Council member Anne Williams; Dr. Beverly Divers-White, vice president for programs at the Foundation for the Mid South in Jackson, Mississippi; Dr. Sarah Wilkerson-Freeman of the ASU history department, and Peggy Robinson Wright, director of the ASU Delta Studies Center.

The event opens at 10 a.m. with a special appearance by Dr. Nancy Hendricks as Hattie Caraway, describing the 1932 campaign which sent Caraway to the U. S. Senate, and spotlighting her instrumental role in the history of ASU. At 11:00 a.m., there will be a panel discussion on the role of Southern women in politics, followed by a special video from Senator Blanche Lincoln, who currently represents Arkansas in the U. S. Senate and is the only other woman to be elected to the senate from Arkansas since Hattie Caraway.

At 1:00 p.m. there will be a roundtable entitled, "Women Today and the Legacy of Senator Hattie Caraway: Power, Politics and Public Service." At 2:00 p.m., there will be an open forum, "Let Her Own Works Praise Her in the Gates," discussing how ASU and Jonesboro might honor Caraway's contributions to the university and community.

Carol Chumney was elected to the Memphis City Council in October 2003 and serves as chair of the Public Services and Neighborhoods Committee and vice-chair of the Economic, Development, Tourism & Technology Committee. As a Presidential Scholar the University of Memphis, she earned a B.A. in economics and history with honors, Magna Cum Laude, and was Student Government President (1982-83). She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Memphis Law School in 1986, as a Herff Law Scholar. During law school she served as editor-in-chief of the Law Review. As a trial attorney, she became a partner at the law firm of Glankler Brown, and currently owns her own law firm. In 2001, she was honored by the Association of Women Attorneys for outstanding achievements in and for the legal profession. After her election to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1990, she became chair of the House Children & Family Affairs Committee, House Majority Whip, and chair of the Shelby County Delegation. Councilwoman Chumney has been recognized with awards including the Tennessee Trial Lawyer's Consumer Protection Award (1995); Tennessee Citizen Action Leadership Award (1995); Tennessee Task Force Against Domestic Violence (1996); Tennessee Association for Education of Young Children "Champion Award" (2000); National Democratic Leadership Council's "100 New Democrats to Watch" (2003) and Memphis Woman magazine's "50 Women Who Make a Difference" (2003).

Dr. Beverly Divers-White is vice president of the Foundation for the Mid South and director of the Communities of Opportunity, a comprehensive community change initiative focused on the Delta region of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. She is former Superintendent of the Lee County School District and has devoted her career to equity and excellence in education. She served in a number of positions for the Little Rock School District including Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Research. She is the author of numerous publications and articles, and her awards include the Martin Luther King Community Service Award, the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce Alumni Leadership Award, Outstanding Professional Woman of the Year, and the Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Commission Salute to Greatness Award. She is an adjunct professor at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock and a mentor in the Women of Color Initiative, a special program for African-American, Native American and Latino professionals to mentor young emerging professionals.

Dr. Nancy Hendricks is an award-winning writer whose play, "Miz Caraway and the Kingfish," tells the story of America's first woman Senator, Hattie Caraway of Jonesboro. Its New Orleans production was nominated by the American Critics Association for "Best Play Produced Outside New York." She also performs a one-person show entitled "Hattie to Hillary: Women in Politics." Her most recent play is "Boy Hero: The Story of David O. Dodd" and her screenplay, "Terrible Swift Sword," about the Sultana disaster, is being perused in Hollywood. She was the recipient of the White House Millennium Award for her historical play, "Second to None."

Elizabeth Jacoway served on the Planning Committee for Little Rock Central High Museum and is the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She has published several books on Southern history, including Yankee Missionaries in the South (LSU Press, 1980) and Southern Businessmen and Desegregation (LSU Press, 1982).

Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch teaches 20th century U.S. and African-American history at Arkansas State University. Her research focuses on interracial cooperation among black and white women during the civil rights movement in South Carolina.  Her work has been selected for publication in The Proceedings of the South Carolina Association and The Avery Review. She has a chapter forthcoming in "Throwing Off of the Cloak of Privilege:" Southern White Women Activists in the Era of Civil Rights (University of Florida Press, 2004).

Dr. Elizabeth Payne teaches and writes women’s history at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. She has taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University, and the University of Arkansas, where she also directed the Honors Studies Program She is the founding director of the McDonnell-Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi and a co-founder of the Mississippi Women’s History Project. She has published books including Reform, Labor, and Feminism (University of Illinois Press) and Mississippi Women: Their Histories; Their Lives (University of Georgia Press). In addition to continuing her work with the Mississippi Women’s History Project, Dr. Payne is writing a book about the Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union to be published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Dr. Sarah Wilkerson-Freeman teaches twentieth century U.S. history, U.S. women's history and southern women's history at Arkansas State University. Her research focuses on women's political cultures, particularly the role of southern black and white women in the Democratic party. Her work has been selected for publication in The Journal of Southern History and The Journal of Women's History and she is currently writing a book, Southern Women and the Transformation of American Politics.

Anne Williams attended law school at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and worked for three years as staff attorney for the Arkansas Legislature in Little Rock. In 1980, she moved to New York and worked for nearly ten years for Prescott, Ball & Turbin in the World Trade Center. Returning to Jonesboro in 1991 she was a field attorney for Children and Family Services working for the Office of Chief Counsel for the Department of Human Services in cases involving dependency/neglect, child abuse and foster care. She is currently the owner of The Edge Coffeehouse. In 2002, she was elected to the Jonesboro City Council where she serves on the Finance Committee and chairs the Public Services Committee. She has also worked in numerous political campaigns, including Brooks Hays' unsuccessful campaign against 'Vinegar Bend' Mizell in North Carolina while she was in college.

Peggy Robinson Wright is director of the Delta Studies Center and instructor of Geography at Arkansas State University. She is currently completing doctoral studies in Policy & Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, New Hampshire. She works to develop partnerships and collaborations amongst the poor areas of the Lower Mississippi Delta at the grassroots level, serving as president, board of directors, Lower Mississippi Delta Service Corps as well as the Housing Assistance Council; Girl Scouts Crowley’s Ridge Council; Arkansas Humanities Council, and is Arkansas state co-chair for the Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus Initiative. Her work at the Delta Studies Center supports interdisciplinary studies, research programs, outreach activities and community partnerships directed towards the people, culture, heritage, and biological and physical environments of the Delta.
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Contact for more information: Dr. Nancy Hendricks
Phone: (870) 972-2451


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