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Olly Neal and Ernie Dumas: A Virtual Discussion

In May, Butler Center Books published OUTSPOKEN: The Olly Neal Story, by Olly Neal Jr., as told to Jan Wrede. Although we weren’t able to do the big book-launch event we had planned due to the pandemic, we were honored to be able to host a virtual discussion with Olly Neal, guided by longtime journalist Ernie Dumas (also a Butler Center Books author),

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A Real, In-Person Outing for Art or History Lovers


Are you stewing in cabin fever and culture cravings? Tired of a lack of safe ways to pursue entertainments or pastimes after six months of social distancing?

Here’s some good news for those who love art and history: the CALS Roberts Library is open, including the lovely Galleries at Library Square and the Research Room on the second floor.

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What City Directories and Yearbooks Can Reveal to Researchers

The CALS Roberts Library Research Room offers an extensive collection of city directories, primarily covering Little Rock, but other cities in Arkansas as well. City directories can be very useful tools in genealogy research. City directories were first published by the R.L. Polk Company in the 1870s. Since these directories are produced annually, genealogists can track their ancestors year to year as opposed to using census data available only every ten years.

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Ledger Art from the J. W. Wiggins Contemporary Native American Art Collection

On view August 14–November 28, 2020, at the Galleries at Library Square, CALS Roberts Library

As part of the Central Arkansas Library System’s celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Arkansas author Dee Brown’s classic Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, the CALS Galleries at Library Square are honored to host an exhibition of ledger art from the J.

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A Postcard from Ponca

Three years ago, my wife and I spent a week that fall holed up in a cabin in Ponca, an unincorporated community in Newton County that is one of those rural places that thrives on outside visitors like us. Perched right near the Buffalo River, it is home to a handful of canoe and cabin rental services,

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So Many ____ , So Little Time

You’ve probably heard the expression “so many books, so little time.” You could replace the word books with just about anything related to what you love to do. Are you a knitter? So much yarn, so little time. Are you a hiker? So many trails, so little time. Are you a traveler? So many places,

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William L. Terry Papers Now Open to Researchers

The William L. Terry papers, donated to the CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies in 2014, are now available to the public. Consisting of professional working papers, family mementos, photographs, and other items, this collection reveals more than three generations of life in Little Rock for researchers to examine.

Donor William Leake Terry (1922–2016) was an attorney and community leader in Little Rock.

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A Word from the Roberts Library

Three months have passed since my last report. Things have changed—some for the better, and others not.

Sadly, we lost two major figures in the Arkansas history community in the last few weeks: Richard C. Butler Jr. and John G. Ragsdale Jr. They each had a profound effect on the development of the CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies.

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A Continuing Struggle for Black Civil Rights in Arkansas: OUTSPOKEN, by Olly Neal Jr.

Many are discussing current issues of police violence, inequality in opportunities and pay, and other problems facing the African American community in the nation and in Arkansas. Olly Neal’s autobiography, just published by Butler Center Books at the Central Arkansas Library System, confronts these same concerns, providing historical context for the protest movements of today.

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