Charleston is one of the two county seats of Franklin County, along with Ozark. Located south of the Arkansas River, it is twenty-five miles east of Fort Smith, near the coal and gas fields of northwest Arkansas, and roughly a mile from one corner of Fort Chaffee. Charleston is most known for being the first community in a southern state to desegregate its school system following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas decision.
The following photographs were part of school report done by Clarence P. Parker in 1946 while he was a graduate student at Vanderbilt University. The images provide an excellent documentary history of a small Arkansas town. The full report, including a written history of the town, can be found here.