Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday's Wonderful Collection - James Franklin Cooley papers, MS.000045

James Franklin Cooley was born January 11, 1926, in Rowland, Roberson County, North Carolina. He graduated from Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina, with degrees in social science and theology. Cooley also served in the Army during World War II, and later received honorary doctorates in divinity and civil law.
Reverend Cooley moved to Forrest City, St. Francis County, Arkansas, in 1957 to become pastor of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, the county's first African American Presbyterian church. He was also a teacher and community leader who worked to combat juvenile delinquency in the area. In 1969 the Forrest City School District dismissed Cooley from his teaching position. He believed his firing was due to his involvement in civil rights activities. His dismissal resulted in protests and rioting of black students at Lincoln Junior-Senior High School.
Cooley’s community involvement included the establishment of a day care, a free lunch program for underprivileged children, college extension courses for prison inmates, and the publication of the “Arkansas Weekly Sentinel” in Little Rock, Arkansas, from 1978-1984. Cooley served as a dean at Shorter College in North Little Rock from 1969-1973. He died July 24, 1992, in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas.
This collection contains biographical information, correspondence, newspapers, clippings, and material related to civil rights and other topics.
  • 1. Biography, awards, and honors
  • 2. Cooley's Athletic and Teenage Club, Forrest City, Arkansas, 1966-1973
  • 3. Cooley's Athletic and Teenage Club, food service applications (Arkansas Social Services and the United States Department of Agriculture), 1969-1974
  • 4. Cooley's Day Care, Forrest City, Arkansas, 1973
  • 5. Correspondence, 1969-1975
  • 6. Law enforcement, rehabilitation and inmate education programs, 1969-1972
  • 7. Miss Black Teenage America Beauty Pageant, 1971-1974
  • 8. Newsclippings, prison inmates, 1971-1974
  • 9. Newspaper editorial comments, James Franklin Cooley to Arkansas-Gazette and Arkansas Democrat newspapers, 1971-1974
  • 10. Newspaper editorials, "Cooley Said It," Southern Mediator Journal, Little Rock, Arkansas, 1970-1972
  • 11. Race riot, Arkansas-Gazette and Arkansas Democrat, Little Rock, Arkansas (clippings), 1969
  • 12. Race riot, Daily Times-Herald, Forrest City, Arkansas (clippings), 1969 March 21
  • 13. Race Riot, The Committee for Peaceful Co-existence, a list of conditions to the governments of Forrest City and Saint Francis Counties, Arkansas, 1969 July 14; and personal recommendations from James Franklin Cooley to the leaders of Forrest City, Arkansas, circa 1969
  • 14. Southern Mediator Journal newspapers, Little Rock, Arkansas; 1974 March, August, September; 1975 February

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