UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS
COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS AND COMMUNICATION
September 30, 2011
CONTACT: Donna Lampkin Stephens, (501) 450-5605; email@example.com
The shorter film’s title echoes the headline of a 1957 editorial that ran in the Gazette. Under the leadership of owner J.N. Heiskell, who served as editor for 70 years until he died at age 100, the Gazette became the first newspaper to win two Pulitzer Prizes in the same year for its coverage of the integration of Little Rock Central High School in 1957 as Gov. Orval Faubus called out the National Guard to prevent nine black students from entering the school.
The newspaper won the Pulitzer for Meritorious Public Service, and its executive editor, Harry S. Ashmore, won the prize for editorial writing. The Gazette’s stance for law and order served as a voice of reason during those tumultuous months, according to the Pulitzer citation.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation funded both films, with additional funding for The Old Gray Lady coming from the Arkansas Humanities Council, Fred Darragh Foundation and the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Dr. Joseph Anderson, retired chair of the Department of Mass Communication and Theatre, was executive producer and Mike Gunter, assistant professor of digital filmmaking, was director of photography.
The film follows the Arkansas Gazette from its birth in 1819, 17 years before Arkansas gained statehood, until its death on Oct. 18, 1991, when the Gannett Corporation sold its assets to Walter Hussman, owner of the Arkansas Democrat. Hussman then changed the name of his publication to reflect his purchase.
Mr. Faubus is the companion film to The Old Gray Lady. Academy Award-winning actress Mary Steenburgen, who grew up in North Little Rock, narrates the voice of the newspaper in both films.
The afternoon session will include presentations of research by Dr. Sondra Gordy of the UCA Department of History, author of The Lost Year, which chronicles the 1958-59 school year during which Gov. Orval Faubus closed the Little Rock schools, and Dr. Angela Webster-Smith of the Leadership Studies Department at UCA, who will present her findings on a study titled “The Status of Dr. King’s Dream in Little Rock and Memphis Schools”. The study has been published in the March 2011 edition of the Electronic Journal of the Arkansas Association of Teacher Educators and the 2011 Annual Editions in Multicultural Education. As a child, Webster-Smith was present for what would become Dr. Martin Luther King’s final speech. The presentation will include some authentic film footage from the series of events of his life as it pertains to the study.