Last weekend, I headed up to visit my family in the town of Charleston, Arkansas. Charleston's biggest claim to fame (besides being the hometown to a lot of my family), was that it was the first city in the South to completely desegregate its schools. This story has recently become news again after the passing of Dale Bumpers, the former Arkansas governor and senator. Dale Bumpers was from Charleston, and was the lawyer that the school board consulted after the Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Charleston decided to completely desegregate its entire school system in 1954, making it the first of any of the former Confederate states to open up its schools. The Charleston school is now recognized by the National Park Service as a National Commemorative Site.
While I was in town, I stopped by the old county courthouse to take some pictures. This is actually one of two courthouses for Franklin County. The county is divided by the Arkansas River, and back in the olden days it was difficult to cross the river. So the state gave the county two courthouses, one on each side of the river (the other one is in Ozark). The courthouse in Charleston was built in 1923.