(Arkansas Part II) At Arkansas’ capital city of Little Rock was the Little Rock Central High School Historical Site. I stopped in as it is an important site in the history of efforts to end legal race segregation in public schools. The site invites you to step into the shoes of the Little Rock Nine, those nine black students who attended the former all-white high school after the Federal court ordered the school to desegregate. That un-imposing brick school building reminded me of the banality of evil. To put that into context is the Old State House Museum. It was said to have been the oldest State House west of the Mississippi River and it opened in 1836. In the legislative chamber, it featured a mock reenactment of a 1901 debate that led to the segregation of passengers by race on train cars. In a modern day note, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette noted “Martin Luther King Jr./Robert E. Lee birthday closings.”
After contemplating life, while standing on the bridge overlooking a river, I walked a few more steps over to the extremely informative Presidential Library for President William J. Clinton. I lived through that presidency, but I learned even more about its accomplishments and challenges after visiting the library. More so that any other presidential library I have visited, it used technology to let you pick what topics you wanted to know more about. After filling up with all that information, it felt good to stand again on the outside suspension bridge and watch the river below. Earlier, I had exercised restraint at the pottery shops, but I gave in and bought a mug in the Presidential Library’s gift shop when I saw it was the same style mug I had been admiring in Mountain View. Whenever I look at it, I think of the Arkansas Traveler.