The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Race relations issues at the University of Arkansas; Confederate statues, and the proposal to move Senator Fulbright's statue

Posted on July 01, 2020 at 03:37 PM

The Delta Caucus is always concerned about issues regarding civil rights and education. Currently we need to heed the complaints from some African Americans at the University of Arkansas about tolerance for racial discrimination on the campus.

We will address a wide range of issues related to our regional and national dialogue about race in this posting.


  1. Condemn racism on campus and make an aggressive drive to increase numbers of black faculty and students

  2. Remove Confederate statues or any commemorations of racist demagogues

  3. In the more complex case of Senator Fulbright, the Delta Caucus is fine with moving his statue to a museum, or indoors to the international relations institute, and re-naming the college on the grounds that it could be misinterpreted as approving of his civil rights record. However, this should be accompanied by a thorough educational campaign to inform students, faculty, staff, alumni and the general public about both the greatness and the tragic flaws of J. William Fulbright.

The Fulbright case should be part of our general re-assessment and historical reflections about the painful quarters in our nation’s past.

We should also acknowledge Fulbright’s great achievements in foreign policy and education, including the international Fulbright Scholar Program, opposition to the demagogy of Joe McCarthy, presciently warning President Kennedy NOT to order the abortive Bay of Pigs invasion against Cuba in 1961, leading the opposition to the Vietnam War, and serving as a key architect for the detente with the Soviet Union and China in the early 1970s.

The Fulbright Peace Fountain at the University of Arkansas by definition focuses squarely on his strong record in international relations, and should therefore be kept in place.

As a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and having the Fulbright Program–which has awarded scholarships to 390,000 scholars in 160 countries and counting–named after him, Fulbright has already received tremendous honors. We are NOT calling for “tearing down” the statue but for placing his record in the full historical context.

We would suggest that it is now time to give great honors at the University of Arkansas to Wiley Branton, one of the first black graduates of the University of Arkansas Law School who became a nationally recognized civil rights leader. This could be with a prominently displayed statue or re-naming the college after him, or both.

The Fulbright statue lacks any educational marker summarizing both his accomplishments in international relations and his troubling record in civil rights record. It is situated at the center of campus and people who find it objectionable have to walk by it regularly. Moving it to an indoors location where people who see it–with the essential educational marker prominently displayed–do so because they choose to, whereas they can’t avoid passing by a statue so prominently displayed on the campus.

Remove Confederates’ names from military installations, schools or other institutions.

1. Changes at the University of Arkansas: Many African American students complain that only 3% of the faculty is black and only 4% of the student body is black. They complain of patronizing comments from white professors to black students, such as confusing one young woman with another African American woman because the woman she was speaking to had changed her hairdo. Another professor seemed to be suspicious of an African American student who had surpassed her colleagues of both races, and allegedly the professor seemed to be probing to make sure the student had not cheated.

The racist epithets should be condemned, and the University needs to greatly increase the percentages of black faculty and students by all means through their disposal, whether stronger recruitment in areas with high black populations such as the Delta and Little Rock, more scholarship aid, or other means.

2. The students are calling for removal of the J. William Fulbright statue from the campus and the re-naming of the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences due to the senator’s weak civil rights record.

The Delta Caucus is fine with moving the statue to a museu or to some in-door location such as the international relations institute, and re-naming the College of Arts and Sciences on the grounds that this recognition may be misinterpreted as supporting or at least tolerating his tragic flaws in the civil rights field.

However, these moves should be accompanied by a vigorous educational effort to inform people about both the greatness as well as the flaws of Senator Fulbright. His record in foreign policy in founding the Fulbright Scholarship Program, opposing Joe McCarthy and other Cold War extremists, courageously if unsuccessfully advising President Kennedy against the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961, opposing the tragic folly of the Vietnam War, and supporting detente with the Soviet Union and China in the final years of his career constitutes one of the greatest foreign policy records in American history.

His greatness in international relations does not in any way excuse his gravely disappointing civil rights record in voting for most of the major civil rights bill even up to the late dates of the 1964 and 1965 historic civil rights legislation, signing the Southern Manifesto in 1956, and remaining silent during Gov. Orval Faubus’ demagogical effort to block the desegregation of Little Rock Central High in 1957.

To be historically accurate, we should note that even in civil rights Fulbright had some constructive accomplishments: he worked to desegregate the University of Arkansas Law School in the late 1940s, was one of the few Southern senators who supported the nomination of Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court in 1967, voted for the extension of the Voting Rights Act in 1970 at a time when most Southern politicians were still opposing it, and above all played a crucial and courageous role in defeating President Nixon’s nomination of the racist Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court in a bitterly controversial debate. Again most Southerners supported Carswell.

None of this changes the reality that Fulbright’s civil rights record on the whole was unacceptable. Nonetheless, we are distorting the truth and the historical record if we lump flawed leaders like Fulbright along with Confederate traitors and demagogues like Orval Faubus and George Wallace who inflamed racial animosity to further their popularity. Fulbright was too often either silent or too weak in opposing these demagogues and occasionally under pressure made statements endorsing the racial status quo, but we are finding that many people today believe he engaged in the kind of racism of Gov. Wallace or Sen. Jim Eastland of Mississippi. We can make a fair distinction like that without backing away from our position that Fulbright was a failure on civil rights.

Rev. Martin Luther King’s accolade to Fulbright’s leadership in foreign policy: We need to see both the greatness and the tragic flaws of leaders like Fulbright, as did the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Despite their obviously different views and constituencies on race, Dr. King was magnanimous enough to praise Fulbright’s foreign policy dissent against US military interventionism in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam in a letter of late 1965: “Yours is one voice crying in the wilderness that may ultimately awaken our people to the international facts of life. I trust that you will not let any pressure silence you.”

We need to be 100% clear where the Delta Caucus stands on Fulbright’s legacy: We oppose his civil rights record on the whole and believe he is deserving of sharp criticism in this field. If such criticism includes moving the statue and changing the name of the college, so be it.

Delta Caucus executive director Lee Powell wrote a scholarly biography of the senator: J. William Fulbright and His Time (1995, with a foreword by President Bill Clinton, who for the record admired Fulbright’s record on foreign policy but totally disagreed with him on civil rights) and debated civil rights and other issues for 20 years. Powell’s assessment was that Fulbright’s record as well as his defenses of his concessions due to political pressures were ultimately unacceptable.

We know that college administrators at the University of Arkansas are taking these complaints seriously, and we would encourage the university to respond positively to their suggestions.

Among the racist comments was an incident where an intoxicated white fraternity student called out to an African American student, “What up, my n——-?” A friend of his tried to defend him by saying he was drunk. This is not an excuse.

Let us suggest a number of reforms that the majority of us can agree on. If anyone does not agree on any of them, we are going to respect their point of view.

1) At the late date of 2020, there is no excuse for any of our major educational institutions to have a faculty of only 3% black and a student body only 4% black. Northwest Arkansas where Fayetteville is located is a heavily white area, but the university should recruit much more heavily in Little Rock and the Delta where the black population is much larger. They should enhance whatever scholarship programs they have to get more black students. The black population in Arkansas is about 15%, and while we would probably not want an exact mathematical quota, the numbers must be much larger.

2) There should be zero tolerance for racial epithets or racial innuendo. That has to be stopped. The reports of ongoing racism are appalling.

3) Confederate statues should be moved to museums. Confederates took up arms against their country and that is the definition of treason. Some may say they were “fighting for what they believed in,” but they were primarily fighting to preserve the evil of slavery.

Similarly, Confederate names should be removed from military bases, academic institutions and elsewhere. For the historical record we have museums and scholarly publications.

There are thoughtful people who are civil rights advocates who believe that the Confederate statues do make a contribution to the historical record. We should respect their point of view, but the majority of our partners see it differently.

4) Demagogues of the Orval Faubus or George Wallace variety should also not be honored by statues, having institutions named after them, or other forms of commemoration.

5) Move the Fulbright statue to a nearby museum either on campus or in Fayetteville, and re-name the college, but engage in a vigorous educational campaign to inform students, alumni, faculty and the general public about both the greatness and the tragic flaws of J. William Fulbright in forums and conferences on campus, speeches by distinguished visiting lecturers, the curriculum of the college, and other educational efforts.

Judging by comments we have heard about Fulbright who seem to have gotten the idea that he was an extremist of the Eastland variety, we conclude that many alumni, students, staff and others are not well-informed about Senator Fulbright’s legacy.

6) Place a statue of Wiley Branton with a substantive, informative marker summarizing his career, on the campus. Branton was one of the first black graduates of the University of Arkansas Law School who became a noted civil rights leader. Branton was a civil rights leader and not a politician and therefore did not have to make the political compromises an elected official almost inevitably has to do.

It is a remarkable that an African American who grew up at the height of Jim Crow could have risen to become a nationally recognized civil rights leader and attorney.

Below is a summary of Fulbright’s legacy. Please draw your own conclusions.

Confederate statues should be removed, as well as removing Confederates or later racist demagogues from military bases and other institutions.

Fort Bragg in North Carolina is one of the largest military installations in the world with about 57,000 military personnel. It is named after Confederate General Braxton Bragg.

The Delta Caucus would suggest removing Bragg’s name and replacing it with that of a valiant solider who fought for America in World War II. Due diligence should be made, of course, in vetting this individual’s record.

This position is made with the enthusiastic support of Lee Powell, Delta Caucus director, who happens to be a descendant of General Bragg. Powell said, “I can no more help who my ancestors are than I can help being from Arkansas. What I can do is say that General Bragg was a traitor–however much he may have deluded himself into believing he was not–and honoring him sends the wrong message about our understanding of our past.”

“Bragg was dead long before I was born,” Powell continued. “Are we going to be held responsible for actions of ancestors 150 years ago? My more recent relatives had a far different and more enlightened record. My father was Editorial Editor James O. Powell of the old Arkansas Gazette, and he staunchly opposed Gov. Orval Faubus for many years from the late 1950s until Faubus’ tenure belatedly came to an end in January, 1967. When I was growing up in Little Rock my father received death threats when Faubus was at the height of his power, and my father was subjected to hostility in white segregationist quarters who were then the majority of the white population. Thank God the environment improved with the election of the moderate Winthrop Rockefeller in 1966.”

“If I call for removing an ancestor’s name from one of the world’s major military institutions, I don’t think anybody else should be squawking about re-naming Fort Bragg,” Powell said. “By the same token, I don’t think anyone should be suspicious of me for what an ancestor I never knew did 150 years ago.”

Bragg was actually not a very good general, to put it diplomatically, having botched the Confederate strategy at the vital Battles for Chattanooga. Powell notes that he had another relative who deserted from the Confederate Army.

“Between Bragg’s record as a weak general and the guy who deserted, my family has often joked over the years that we made a significant military contribution in the Civil War to the Union side,” Powell said. “Seriously, if having Confederate ancestors is a stain on Southerners living today, many progressive, constructive citizens will be smeared in painting with such an overly broad brush.”

Don’t honor Confederates or latter-day racist demagogues. For flawed leaders like Fulbright, assess the record in its entirety. You can read the summary below and draw your own conclusions.


June 30, 2020

(Introductory note: By way of full disclosure in the context of African American students’ complaints of tolerance for racial discrimination at the University of Arkansas, my biography of Senator J. William Fulbright criticizes his civil rights record but recognizes his impressive achievements in the fields of foreign policy and education. I will address foreign policy and civil rights due to the different subject matter in two parts.

We are obviously passing through a painful re-examination of statues, naming of institutions and other monuments to our past. I would argue that Confederates and demagogues like Orval Faubus or George Wallace should not be recognized, but Fulbright is clearly in a different category. My purpose here is not to advise anyone as to whether his statue should be removed or the college re-named, but to present the facts about the entirety of his legacy. I would hope we can see both the greatness and the tragic flaw of J. William Fulbright. Please examine the facts and draw your own conclusions.)

Foreign Policy and Education

The post-World War II order—Fulbright first attracted national attention in 1940 for a series of speeches as the young University of Arkansas president opposing the dominant isolationism of the time, calling for Americans to wake up to the dire threat to world peace in Hitler’s insatiable campaign of military conquest. He followed up as a freshman congressman in 1943 in working with President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration to pass the Fulbright Resolution placing Congress on record in favor of creating a postwar United Nations organization. He supported key building blocks of the postwar era as a freshman senator in the later 1940s for NATO, President Truman’s Point Four program for technical assistance to developing countries, and the Marshall Plan for economic rebuilding of Europe after the war.

Fulbright Scholarship Program: Fulbright worked with President Truman’s administration in passing the Fulbright Act creating the international educational and cultural exchange program. The Fulbright Program has granted awards to 390,000 American and foreign students and professors in more than 160 countries from its inception in 1946 to the present. Fulbright Scholars have won 60 Nobel Prizes, 86 Pulitzer Prizes, and 37 became heads of state, most of them in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Currently the program awards 8,000 grants annually. President Kennedy praised the Fulbright Program as “the classic modern example of beating swords into plowshares.”

Opposition to Joe McCarthy and other Cold War extremists: Fulbright became deeply concerned about Joe McCarthy and other extremists who denounced loyal, distinguished Americans on false charges of communist sympathies and having “lost” China to communism. In 1951, he opposed General Douglas MacArthur’s call for air strikes against China after the general was removed for insubordination by President Truman in the Korean War. Fulbright warned that the air strikes would be the inevitable prelude to combat troops in China and posed a grave risk of igniting World War III. Throughout the early 1950s he lambasted McCarthy for smearing loyal officials in the State Dept. and elsewhere as having communist affinities without presenting any evidence for his claims. He blocked McCarthy’s effort to cut funding for the Fulbright Program on the bogus grounds that many Fulbright Scholars were communists or communist sympathizers.

In February, 1954 he was the only senator to vote against funding for McCarthy’s Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, which passed 85 to 1 with Fulbright casting the lone dissenting vote. This vote shocked the conscience of many thoughtful senators and in retrospect was crucial in beginning strong opposition to McCarthy. Fulbright was one of the leaders in the drive that finally led the Senate to censure McCarthy in late 1954.

Dissent against John Foster Dulles policies and the Bay of Pigs: Fulbright opposed the rigid Cold Warrior policies of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and the Eisenhower administration’s interventionism in the Middle East, Latin America and elsewhere. When President Kennedy planned to continue the Dulles policies of overthrowing Fidel Castro in Cuba, Fulbright was the only one of senior US officials at the final strategy review session before the Bay of Pigs invasion to warn the President that such a military strike would “nullify the work of 30 years in trying to live down” earlier US interventions in Latin America. Kennedy rejected his advice, but the fiasco at the Bay of Pigs proved Fulbright right. Kennedy and Fulbright collaborated during the short-lived détente in 1963 and the passage of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty intended to slow the arms race by eliminating atmospheric nuclear testing.

Opposition to the Vietnam War: Fulbright seriously erred in 1964 when he accepted President Lyndon Johnson’s depiction of himself as the candidate of peace and moderation as against his opponent Barry Goldwater, who had called for defoliating jungle trails in Vietnam with low-yield atomic bombs. The Foreign Relations Committee chairman (by his own later admission) should have investigated Johnson’s claims about alleged North Vietnamese aggression against US vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin in August, 1964, and only later realized that the President had grossly exaggerated the incidents to show during the election that he could “be tough against the communists as well as Goldwater,” and to strengthen his authority for military escalation. In 1965 Fulbright became increasingly critical of Johnson’s policy in Vietnam, contending that no US vital interests were involved there and calling for a negotiated settlement.

He excoriated Johnson for intervening in the Dominican Republic in 1965 based on a similarly exaggerated claim of communist aggression. In early 1966 he initiated the Vietnam and China hearings that eventually culminated in a powerful anti-war coalition. He was in a small minority, sadly—when he called for repeal of Johnson’s pro-interventionist Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1966, he was one of only five senators voting to oppose the Vietnam War and lost by a vote of 92 to 5.

Nixon administration–Throughout President Nixon’s lengthy continuation of the Vietnam War, Fulbright continued to relentlessly decry the tragic folly of America’s lost crusade in southeast Asia. He finally joined with other senators in taking the highly unusual step of threatening to cut off the funds for the war. Despite his decades of disagreement with Nixon and his opposition to the southeast Asia intervention, he worked with the President and Henry Kissinger for the détente with the Soviet Union and China in the early 1970s that sought to reduce Cold War tensions, slow the nuclear arms race, and take steps toward peace.

Fulbright also worked for a more even-handed policy in the Middle East that would recognize the legitimate problems of Palestinians and other Arabs, along with support for Israel’s security. His foreign policy positions often defied conventional wisdom and were lonely and unpopular at the time he created them, but after the passage of time most scholars as well as participants in the great political debates of his day found them to have been wise and at times even prophetic. He would eventually win the unusual distinction in retrospect of gaining the Presidential Medal of Freedom in America and the high honor in Egypt of that nation’s Order of the Republic. He was defeated for re-election in 1974, ironically by his former ally Dale Bumpers, who had once praised Fulbright’s foreign policy leadership by saying, “Fulbright turned me against the Vietnam War long before he ever heard my name.”

Civil Rights

Votes against civil rights bills and the segregationist era: There is much less to say about the specifics of his civil rights record, simply because he avoided the issue as much as possible and often remained silent. When under pressure from hard-core segregationists, he would explicitly endorse the racist status quo: In his 1944 election to the Senate he announced that he opposed social equality and black voting in primary elections, and took part in the filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Fulbright voted against the major civil rights bills for most of his career and carefully avoided antagonizing the dominant segregationist status quo in the South.

The record includes some constructive actions: he worked behind the scenes to desegregate the University of Arkansas Law School in the late 1940s and the graduate schools shortly afterward. In 1948, he supported President Truman against the hard-core “Dixiecrat” insurgence led by Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. In 1954-55, he encouraged his constituents to accept the Brown decision as the law of the land and expressed his appreciation for the early desegregation in Fayetteville and Charleston, Arkansas.

Southern Manifesto: However, when the Southern segregationist reaction against Brown gathered formidable power in the mid to late 1950s, Fulbright failed to meet the challenge. The Southern Senate bloc in 1956 pressured all of its members to sign the Southern Manifesto, a bitter attack on the Supreme Court. Fulbright privately pleaded with his colleagues to not delude their constituents into believing that they could overturn Brown, which was the law of the land. While the Senators led by Sen. Harry Byrd of Virginia deleted a few of the most incendiary passages in the original draft, the Southern Manifesto was nonetheless a right wing denunciation of the Supreme Court. Fulbright’s private hand-wringing had accomplished nothing, and the final published document would list the name of J. William Fulbright along with hard-line segregationists like Strom Thurmond, Byrd, and James Eastland of Mississippi.

Silence during Central High crisis: When Gov. Orval Faubus attempted to block the desegregation of Little Rock Central High, Fulbright stayed in Great Britain for a lengthy period in an obvious effort to avoid taking a stand on this historic crisis. When I would press him over the years about such gravely disappointing decisions, he would explain his votes against civil rights bills and silence in the Central crisis by saying that if he had gotten out too far in advance of his constituents he would have destroyed his career and been replaced by a demagogue (most likely Faubus) in the Senate, he would not have accomplished anything on civil rights, and would not have been there to make his constructive stands on McCarthyism, the Cold War, Vietnam and détente. I never saw the slightest hint of racism in any of his comments both publicly or in lengthy conversations over 20 years. While there was certainly some stress at times in our debates, I never had the sense that he was telling me to stop pressing him.

Fulbright’s explanation of his record: When I suggested alternative strategies to strenghen the moderates, he replied that “Integration had to come,” but for his political situation in Arkansas he had no political alternative. He would most often cite the defeat of his moderate friend in Arkansas, Congressman Brooks Hays in 1958 after having merely asked for supporting the rule of law during the Central crisis; but in my view it was just not that simple. Hays in fact defeated a segregationist in the Democratic Primary in 1958 that was usually tantamount to victory in Arkansas at that time, but was surprised when Faubus and the segregationist Dale Alford resorted to a stratagem of a write-in campaign that clearly involved a substantial amount of fraud.

Even with the extraordinary circumstances and widespread evidence of fraud, Hays lost by the tiny margin of 1,200 votes. When I stated that stronger support from the moderates in Arkansas would have strengthened the position of leaders like Hays, Winthrop Rockefeller and the old Arkansas Gazette—most notably from Fulbright—he said with resignation, “Well, you could speculate about that but I had no desire for martyrdom.” Yet this was not a liberal vs. conservative political question but one of supporting the rule of law and opposing incitement to mob violence.

Fulbright was President-Elect Kennedy’s first choice for Secretary of State: As another argument regarding the lack of any alternative, it is a fact that Fulbright was a rising star of the Democratic Party and could have expected an appointment as Secretary of State or another high-level foreign policy position the next time Democrats gained the White House. As a matter of fact, President Kennedy’s first choice for Secretary of State when he was elected in 1960 was none other than Fulbright, but he ultimately decided he could not appoint him to the post because of his weak civil rights record. While Fulbright could not have definitely known that Kennedy would be the next President in the late 1950s, a statesmanlike stance on civil rights would have greatly enhanced his credentials for a foreign policy post with a future Democratic administration. The basic point is that there were alternatives to his troubling civil rights decisions.

Defeatism and defensiveness in later discussions–In retrospective discussions, Fulbright remained defensive about his civil rights record, whereas many scholars and political analysts believed a much wiser course would have been to express genuine regrets for his mistakes since he had acknowledged that “Integration had to come.” This provides a sharp contrast to foreign policy where he would freely admit error as in the case of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. He would defensively cite the political pressures, and also philosophize that the crucial responses to the plight of African Americans should have been greater investments in education, housing, community development and other social programs. While these programs were undoubtedly important, as long as schools and other institutions remained separate the majority race’s institutions would always be superior. His views on race were not remotely “liberal” and espoused a skeptical, defeatist view that some domestic problems were so intractable that they lack a clear solution and we must patiently live with them. With such a defeatist view, however, little or no progress in civil rights could ever be achieved.

Steering a more moderate course in his later career: By the late dates of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Arkansas politics was gradually moving in a more moderate direction. The moderate Winthrop Rockefeller would become governor in January, 1967. He was not up for re-election until 1968. To be fair, he did move in a much more constructive direction over the latter part of his career, supporting Thurgood Marshall’s elevation to the Supreme Court in 1967, voting for the extension of the Voring Rights Act in 1970, and above all playing a crucial role in defeating President Carswell’s nomination of the racist Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court.

Even by the late 1960s and early 1970s, these votes were still controversial—if not as bitterly so as in the earlier era—and the most powerful politician in Arkansas at that time continued to be a staunch segregationist—Sen. John McClellan; as one example McClellan fought for Carswell’s nomination. Fulbright’s African American aide in Little Rock, Ben Grinage, wrote to Fulbright after the vote that “I am more proud than ever to be a member of your team,” but sadly added that many white constituents had called to say they would never vote again vote for Fulbright.

Tremendous variations in the verdicts on Fulbright’s legacy: We have a dilemma in understanding and assessing such a conflicted, complex and gigantic legacy. Assessments of Fulbright vary tremendously across the philosophical spectrum:

–General Alexander Haig privately denounced Fulbright as a “traitor” because of his opposition to the Vietnam War,

–Presidents Johnson and Nixon bitterly criticized him.

–The famous journalist Walter Lippmann called him “the bravest and wisest of counselors,”

–John Kenneth Galbraith said, “Of all persons who, for their foreign policy, I’ve wished might be president, Bill Fulbright stands first.”

–The Washington Post dismissed his defense of his civil rights record as a “rotten argument.”

–The New York Times similarly gave sharp criticisms of his civil rights record, but provided a more balanced overall account in concluding that “most congressional careers featured the same sellouts without rising to the heights in a transcendental issue… Fulbright challenged powerful enemies and bad ideas at the flood tide of their power. His courage saved lives. Few politicians can lay claim to that epitaph.”

An accolade from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr for Fulbright: Ironically, the greatest accolade Fulbright ever received came from one of world history’s most profound champions for racial justice in Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The famous civil rights leader and the Southern senator obviously held sharply divergent views and different constituencies in the realm of civil right. Nonetheless, in a late 1965 letter to Fulbright, King praised his dissent against America’s military crusade in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam: “I know the tremendous price you pay for your outspoken critique of administration policy, and I write to you these few words simply as personal encouragement and to let you know that there are many of us who admire and respect your role in our nation’s international affairs… Yours is one voice crying in the wilderness that may ultimately awaken our people to the international facts of life. I trust that you will not let any pressure silence you.”

Lee Riley Powell, Executive Director, Delta Grassroots Caucus economic equality and justice advocacy organization; Presidential appointee in the Clinton administration focusing on policy for economically distressed populations; former Congressional aide and federal law clerk for the Eastern District of Arkansas; author, J. William Fulbright and His Time (1995, Foreword by President Bill Clinton, who admired Fulbright’s foreign policy positions but totally disagreed with his civil rights record); Juris Doctorate, University of Virginia Law School, focusing on constitutional law and civil rights; postgraduate degree in recent US political history; Phi Beta Kappa, Rhodes College.

His late father James O. Powell, editor of the old Arkansas Gazette from the late 1950s to the late 1980s, was a staunch opponent of Gov. Faubus when Lee Powell was growing up in Little Rock. He is a graduate of the Little Rock public school system.