Lakeport Plantation’s monthly history talk, Lakeport Legacies, will feature a talk on June 29 about the electoral diversity in Southeast Arkansas. Guest speaker Rodney Harris will present A Case Study in Diversity: Southeast Arkansas Legislators, 1868-Jim Crow. Refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m. and the discussion begins at 6 p.m.
During Reconstruction (1867-1874), Republicans, including the first African American office holders, controlled most political positions in Arkansas. Many people assume that African American office holding ended with Democrats’ political “Redemption” in 1874. Despite Redemption, office holding on the local and legislative level remained quite diverse until 1893. Southeast Arkansas continued to elect Republicans, both black and white, along with Democrats at the county level and to the general assembly. This electoral diversity makes Southeast Arkansas unique and worthy of further examination.
Harris holds a B.A. in political science from Arkansas State University, and a M.A. in history from the University of Central Arkansas. He spent 10 years as a real estate broker, ran for State Representative in 2004, and was named one of the 25 Outstanding Young Executives in Northeast Arkansas. Harris wrote his Dissertation, “Divided Saints: Democratic Factions in the 1874 Arkansas Constitutional Convention” under the direction of Dr. Patrick Williams at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. He specializes in political history and southern history. He will join the faculty at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge this fall.
The Lakeport Plantation is located at 601 Highway 142 in Lake Village. Lakeport Legacies is a monthly history talk at the Lakeport Plantation. Each month a topic from the Delta region is featured. The event is free and open to the public.