Museum honoring Hoxie’s role in integration of schools planned

Local News

HOXIE, Ark. (KAIT) – Museums showcase the work that has been done over the years and on Sunday, Hoxie announced their efforts of adding one of their own.

The museum will be focusing on the city’s impact during integration in education in the 1950s.

President of Board of Directors for Hoxie: The First Stand Ethel Tompkins said the city stood up to the issue.

“They’re also heroes because they withstood the force of people trying to change their mind and bring outside forces to say, ‘You don’t want integration. You don’t want your children to go to school with African Americans,” she said. “They didn’t use the term African Americans but that’s basically what it was.”

In that time, Tompkins was forced to use the back door when entering restaurants. She was also refused entry to the local movies.

Brown vs. The Board of Education showcased Little Rock’s efforts of combining integration.

Tompkins wants Hoxie to get the recognition they deserve.

“Two years before Little Rock did, there was Hoxie,” she said. “We want the museum to showcase the community, the town and the city of Hoxie itself and the African American community.”

The First Stand group has sought the help of Principal of Exhibition Associates James Volkert. He has worked with museum construction for 40 years.

He wants others to know of Hoxie’s history.

“It’s an incredibly important story and particularly important now in the times that we live where the idea of cooperation and collaboration and partnership is important,” he said.

The school has also gotten involved with the project by creating curriculum that showcases Hoxie’s history.

As far as construction for the site goes, a building has been bought for the museum. It sits on Harding Street in Hoxie. According to Volkert, the construction for a museum costs anywhere from $150-$500 per square foot.

The First Stand is wanting the upper end of the renovation, which would cost around $1 million.

Now, the group is fundraising to get the museum the city needs. For more information on Hoxie: The First Stand, click here.

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