President's Report to the Membership, 2001

Article excerpt

Whether or not you consider 2001 the true start of the new millennium, this is a memorable year for the Arkansas Historical Association. Our annual meeting will mark the Association's sixtieth year. We begin the year financially sound, supported by a dedicated membership, and eager for opportunities to share stories of Arkansas's past with people across the state and the country. There are many people who have helped the Association and the cause of history in Arkansas this past year, but their contributions are more than I could recount here. I hope, however, that we will have the opportunity at our awards banquet, in the pages of the Quarterly, and elsewhere to recognize all of their efforts.

The Association's mission is to promote the preservation, writing, publishing, teaching, and understanding of Arkansas history. We have made progress in all of these areas over the last year. First, the Association continued to make its singular contribution to the state's historic legacy by producing four issues of its journal, the Arkansas Historical Quarterly. Editor Jeannie M. Whayne, Associate Editor Patrick G. Williams, Assistant Editor J. Wayne Jones, and Editorial Assistant Kim I. Martin, advised by a dedicated and distinguished board of editors, assembled an excellent collection of articles, reviews, and reports into a diverse and entertaining set of issues. There were forty-two book reviews and an always welcome group of regular features such as "Arkansas Listings in the National Register," news and notices of interesting events and publications, and an annual bibliography of Arkansas history. The articles varied in subject from the ecological milieu of Indian-settler conflict in territorial Arkansas to the political impact on one of the state's most prominent politicians of the struggles over desegregation in 1958. Geographically, they encompassed the entire state. We are fortunate to have such a talented and willing group of authors and reviewers to educate and entertain us while revealing new aspects of the state's rich history. The editorial staff continues to seek out new features that will recognize the many ways that history is presented to the public and to keep abreast of new opportunities for historians to distribute information to our many public audiences.

It is especially gratifying to see in the pages of the Quarterly this past year's winners of both the Lucille Westbrook Local History Award and the Violet P. Gingles Award. Through these prestigious awards, the Association hopes to continue to encourage the writing of Arkansas history, not just to provide memorable articles for the Quarterly and other state publications, but also to foster the development of new historians who will continue making contributions into the future. This year, the Westbrook and Gingles Award Committee, headed by John W. Graves and including Frances M. Ross and Charles Robinson, has considered another notable group of submissions from promising scholars. We will recognize their achievements at the 2001 annual meeting.

The Association continues to foster the publication of Arkansas history in other ways as well. The Walter L. Brown awards recognize the outstanding contributions of county and regional journals, and this year we have received a rich assortment of nominated volumes. Patrick Zollner, who chairs the Brown awards committee, has had, along with Billy Higgins and Jim Beachboard, the delightful if daunting task of choosing the winners we will announce at the Association banquet in April. We are also continuing the Young Historian Award, which we hope will encourage and recognize young scholars at the high school level.

This year the Association continued its support of history education in the state's primary and secondary schools. With support from many institutions and scholars, the Arkansas History Summer Institute for teachers was held this year at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. …