Hello, guys! Earlier this month, I ventured off to a place that I have never been before and let me just say that I had a wonderful experience! I visited Little Rock, Arkansas also known as “The Natural State”. I know only one person personally from Little Rock and of course our former President William J. Clinton (that I got to actually meet here in Atlanta) but when I got an invite from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, I was so eager to visit because I heard that they have so much history there! Well, me and my camera guy Adam headed there last week and we had a blast! What did we do? Come on inside and check it out….
We landed in Arkansas on Monday, June 4th and hit the ground running! We had a very early flight which I requested because I wanted to make sure that we could cover as much grounds as possible lol. Our first stop was to drop off our luggage at the beautiful and historic Capital Hotel. When I tell yah that this hotel was beautiful, wow we were blown away! I really and truly enjoyed my stay there and the staff was amazing!
Ann Kamps(tour guide, she was so sweet)
After settling into the hotel, we were instructed that the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum was within walking distance from the hotel, so that was our very first stop. Once we arrived after about a 5 minute walk we were greeted by Ann Kamps, our tour guide. She showed us around the library and museum that featured the Little Rock Nine Congressional Medal alcove and so much more.
Bill Clinton’s bullet proof Presidential Limousine
Exact replica of the White House Oval Office
First Lady Hillary Clinton’s Oscar De La Renta embellished gown for the State Dinner
The Clinton’s custom china designed by Lenox
The Anne Frank Tree. The Clinton Foundation and the Sisterhood of Congregation B’nai Israel, in conjunction with the Anne Frank Center USA, joined together to create a powerful exhibit, The Anne Frank Tree, located on the grounds of the Clinton Presidential Park. Dedicated on Oct 2, 2015.
Me and Bill Clinton at Hank Aaron’s birthday party in Atlanta in 2009
After touring the museum that was full of artifacts and history, we were a bit hungry so we decided to stop for lunch and it was really good! We dined at a very well known BBQ spot called, Sims Bar-B-Que and everyone was so sweet to us, the food was very yummy too!
After lunch we stopped by the Old Statehouse Museum where we got to see the showing of A Piece of My Soul: Quilts by Black Arkansans. It was a very moving experience and I remember my granny having quilts on her beds and throughout the house when I was a little girl and her telling me stories about them and who made them, very touching and it brought back a lot of memories.
Later on after a quick change we headed out to dinner at Flying Fish and just relaxed back at the hotel lobby and mingled with guests.
On day two we got up really early because we were eager to tour the Daisy Bates House which is a historic home of the former president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP, who served as a liaison between the local school board and the Little Rock Nine. We were met by the sweetest lady who was our tour guide, Mary Hardin. She showed us the house and told us lots of stories and what took place back in the Little Rock Nine movement. The Klu Klux Klan burned a cross in the front yard during the era.
Ms. Mary in black polka dot outfit, loved her!
This house was considered state-of-the-art for the era it was built in, equipped with a telecom system, modern appliances and furniture and more. I also saw the basement where they held many meetings with dignitaries and pastors.
Next up was my favorite tour and that was the historical Central High School! It’s still a functioning school and was attended by the Little Rock Nine. Park Ranger Toni showed us around and told us so many great stories. Back in 1957, when the nine students came to this school the National Guard was called in. During their ordeal they were constantly harassed, spit on, pushed down steps and more.
Park Ranger Toni, our tour guide
Inside Central High School Auditorium
Little Rock Nine Memorial bronze sculptures that pay homage to the Little Rock Nine and their work to integrate Central High School. Comments from each student are included on plaques.
Lunch time and a Metro Streetcar tour, fun times!
Downtown Little Rock
Lunch at The Corner. Later we just hung out in the city and mingled with the locals.
Day Three, last day….sigh!
I must say I had a great time visiting Little Rock! On the last day we toured the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. This museum is dedicated to telling the story of the African-American experience in Arkansas. There was lots of artwork and displays with exhibits, its very well done and I encourage you to visit if you are in the area!
After slavery in Arkansas, most African Americans owned their own salons and barber shops
Black Hall of Fame
Me and Dj Blak had a great time, till next time! xoxo
- About Arkansas: Little Rock, Arkansas sits on the banks of the Arkansas River in Pulaski County, located in the center of the state. With a population of nearly 200,000 people, it’s the largest city in Arkansas and definitely the place to find a good time at a great value. The hub of Little Rock is the bustling River Market District featuring restaurants, shops, bars, nightlife, museums and hotels as well as the area’s main library.
The arts flourish in Little Rock, Arkansas with the gallery at the Arkansas Arts Center, offering free admission and housing one of the most-acclaimed collections of works on paper in the country. Performing arts opportunities are abundant, as are fine and casual dining, with a wide variety of restaurant options. Little Rock has plenty for outdoor lovers as well with great weather and numerous city parks offering running/walking trails, bike paths, fishing, private and public golf courses, sports facilities and picnic areas.
- The Civil Rights Trail debuted in 2018 to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the 155th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The national trail spans 14 states and includes over 100 historic churches, schools, museums, memorial sites and more from the civil rights era in the 1950s and 1960s. Visitors to the landmarks along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail can step back in time and personally experience the events that played a pivotal role in shaping the country and continue to inspire hope and strength today.
Six historical landmarks in Little Rock are included on this new Civil Rights Trail. Each of these six trail locations in Little Rock help tell the story of Arkansas’ civil rights history:
- The Central High School National Historical Site and Visitor Center opened in 2007 to mark the 50th anniversary of the school’s desegregation. The landmark includes historic clips, interactive displays and interviews with the Little Rock Nine, who were symbols of courage in the fight against segregation. Central High School is the only functioning U.S. high school located within a national historic site. The school is designated a Top 10 destination along the U.S. Civil Rights Trail.
- The Clinton Presidential Center is the home of the Little Rock offices of the Clinton Foundation, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum and the Clinton School of Public Service. Bill Clinton served five terms as the Governor of Arkansas before becoming the 42nd President of the United States, serving for two terms, from 1993 to 2001. Clinton is the recipient of numerous awards for his approach to civil rights throughout his political career.
- Mosaic Templars Cultural Center was founded in 2001 and is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and celebrating Arkansas’s African-American culture and community. The Center’s name is taken from the Mosaic Templars of America, a black fraternal organization founded in Little Rock in 1883 whose headquarters sat on the prominent West Ninth and Broadway location. Like many businesses throughout the United States, the Mosaic Templars of America organization was forced out of business during the Great Depression. Originally, the Center planned to restore the 1913 Mosaic Templars of America National Grand Temple, but the original building was destroyed by fire in March 2005.
- The Little Rock Nine Memorial, or “Testament,” pays homage to each member of the Little Rock Nine who integrated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The life-size statues are located on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol and each member of The Nine is identified on bronze plaques.
- The Daisy Bates House at 1207 West 28th St. is a National Historic Landmark and was the home of Arkansas NAACP president Daisy Bates. The house became the virtual headquarters for those engaged in bringing about the racial integration of Little Rock Central High School. Over the years, the historic site was host to many notables, such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Justice Wiley Branton, Federal Agent Ozell Sutton, and Actors Ossie Davis and wife, Ruby Dee. The site now serves as the L.C. & Daisy Bates Museum Foundation, Inc.
- The Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail was created by the Anderson Institute on Race and Ethnicity to acknowledge the sacrifices and achievements made by those who fought for racial and ethnic justice in Arkansas. The trail begins on the sidewalk outside the Old State House and extends down West Markham Street and President Clinton Boulevard to the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.
For more information visit the Visit Arkansas website.
This post was sponsored by Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.