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Orval Faubus

Orval Faubus

Orval Eugene Faubus was born in Arkansas on 7th January 1910. His father, Sam Faubus, was an active member of the Socialist Party and gave his son the middle name Eugene after one of his heroes, Eugene Debs. As a child Faubus was told by his father that "capitalism was a fraud and that both poor whites and blacks were its victims".

Faubus trained to be a teacher at Commonwealth College in Arkansas. He became interested in politics and joined the Democratic Party. Despite his upbringing by a racially tolerant socialist, Faubus became increasingly right-wing in his views.

During the Second World War Faubus joined the United States Army and rose to the rank of major in Army Intelligence. After the war he returned home and continued in politics, becoming the State Highway Commissioner.

In 1954 Faubus ran for governor as a liberal promising to increase spending on schools and roads. Although portrayed as a "dangerous radical", Faubus was successfully elected. In the first few months of his administration Faubus desegregated state buses and public transportation. He also began to investigate the possibility of introducing multi-racial schools. This resulted in him being attacked by Jim Johnson, the leader of the right-wing of the party in Arkansas.

Faubus later told a journalist working for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that "it is true in politics as it is in life that survival is the first law.". Fearing he would lose office Faubus decided to fight the decision by the Supreme Court in 1954 that separate schools were not equal and were therefore unconstitutional.

In 1957, Faubus used the National Guard to stop black children from attending the Little Rock Central High School. On 24th September, 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower, went on television and told the American people: "At a time when we face grave situations abroad because of the hatred that communism bears towards a system of government based on human rights, it would be difficult to exaggerate the harm that is being done to the prestige and influence and indeed to the safety of our nation and the world. Our enemies are gloating over this incident and using it everywhere to misrepresent our whole nation."

After trying for eighteen days to persuade Faubus to obey the ruling of the Supreme Court, Eisenhower decided to send federal troops to Arkansas to ensure that black children could go to Little Rock Central High School. The white population of Little Rock were furious that they were being forced to integrate their school and Faubus described the federal troops as an army of occupation.

Faubus was elected governor of Arkansas six times and served in the post for twelve years. After the 1965 Voting Act, making it easier for African Americans to vote, Faubus political career came to an end. Attempts in 1970, 1974 and 1986 all ended in failure. Orval Faubus died of cancer in December 1994.

Faubus' alleged reason for calling out the troops was that he had received information that caravans of automobiles filled with white supremacists were heading toward Little Rock from all over the state. He therefore declared Central High School off limits to Negroes. For some inexplicable reason he added that Horace Mann, a Negro high school, would be off limits to whites.

Then, from the chair of the highest office of the State of Arkansas, Governor Orval Eugene Faubus delivered the infamous words, "blood will run in the streets" if Negro pupils should attempt to enter Central High School.

In a half dozen ill-chosen words, Faubus made his contribution to the mass hysteria that was to grip the city of Little Rock for several months.

The citizens of Little Rock gathered on September 3 to gaze upon the incredible spectacle of an empty school building surrounded by 250 National Guard troops. At about eight fifteen in the morning, Central students started passing through the line of national guardsmen - all but the nine Negro students.

I had been in touch with their parents throughout the day. They were confused, and they were frightened. As the parents

voiced their fears, they kept repeating Governor Faubus' words that "blood would run in the streets of Little Rock" should their teenage children try to attend Central - the school to which they had been assigned by the school board.

At a time when we face grave situations abroad because of the hatred that communism bears towards a system of government based on human rights, it would be difficult to exaggerate the harm that is being done to the prestige and influence and indeed to the safety of our nation and the world. Our enemies are gloating over this incident and using it everywhere to misrepresent our whole nation. We are portrayed as a violator of those standards which the peoples of the world united to proclaim in the Charter of the United Nations.

Q: How about the decision in 1957 to refuse admittance to black students?

Faubus: It was the only way to keep some black people from being killed. As one black leader said to me in this campaign, he said "Well, Governor Faubus, you probably saved more black lives than you did white lives."

Q: The assertion though is that you based that decision on the evidence from the school principal and him alone.

Faubus: Oh no, I had much evidence. But my first information came from the school principal, or superintendent rather.

Q: You were convinced that that evidence was hard and real?

Faubus: Yes. Wasn't any question about it. I confirmed it from too many sources. And I was trained in intelligence during the war and part of my duties, all during combat, was what you call military intelligence. So you learn something about how to evaluate. You know, how to discount, and how to check something if you're not sure. Sometimes you get a piece of information that sounds fantastic and you think this can't be true and you check it out and find it is. So there's not any question in my mind, none whatsoever.

Q: Did you have police reports, police intelligence reports on that? You never revealed that.

Faubus: No, because the people didn't want it.

Q: No, but I mean since that time you've never revealed that.

Faubus: No, I haven't. I think I'm going to write a book and reveal it then but I can reveal it anytime I want to now.

Q: Did you realize at the time, though, that this would amount in effect, to defiance of a court order and what would subsequently follow?

Faubus: No, see I never did defy a court order. When they issued a court order directly to me I evaded each time. I never was in defiance of a court order.

Q: Wasn't there a court order to admit the students?

Faubus: But I wasn't trying to keep them from integrating. If it had been peaceful they could have gone right on in.

Mr. Faubus has always said his actions at Central High were misunderstood, and his motives may never be fully known. But many historians believe that in facing a challenge on the right and a constituency uneasy about integration, and needing an issue to divert attention from his tax increase, he decided to draw the line with Washington over desegregation.

Last year, in an interview with The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Mr. Faubus danced around the question of what his motives were, only to conclude: "It's true in politics as it is in life that survival is the first law." And he added: "One of my black friends came in during 1957 and said, 'Governor, if you hadn't done something, you'd have been a goner.' Voted out."

Whatever the case, on Sept. 2, 1957, after a Federal court ordered the desegregation of the Little Rock schools, Mr. Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prevent nine black students from entering Central High. In a radio broadcast he assured white listeners and warned blacks that the school would be "off limits" to blacks.

He said at the time that he acted because he had been told that caravans of white toughs were preparing to descend on Little Rock, and that he intervened to prevent violence. He never disclosed who had told him about the impending violence, and many skeptics say it was only a pretext.


The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Collection Description (CRHP): See Series 14, Records Pertaining to Little Rock School Integration Crisis, 1957-1959. 1977, Series 18, Speeches, Press Releases, Statements, 1950 1954-1967. 1976, Series 15, Records Pertaining to Race Relations in Arkansas, 1954-1970 and Series 24, Sound Recordings and Motion Picture Films, 1954. 1970.

Collection Description (Extant): Orval Eugene Faubus was born in the Ozark Mountain community of Greasy Creek taught school in rural communities (1928. . .1939) worked as itinerant farm laborer and lumberjack (1931. . .1935) briefly attended Commonwealth College, the radical labor school at Mena, Ark. (1935) was elected to two terms (1939-1942) as Madison County, Ark. Circuit Clerk and Recorder served in the U.S. Army, as an enlisted man and subsequently as a commissioned officer in Europe (1942-1946) was Huntsville, Ark. postmaster (1946-47, 1953-54) edited and published the weekly Madison County Record (1947-1967) was a member of the Arkansas State Highway Commission (1949-1951) and Director of Highways (1952-1953) was elected to six consecutive terms (1955-1967) as Governor of Arkansas, and attracted international attention for his controversial role in the Little Rock, Ark. Central High School racial desegregation crisis (1957-1959) subsequently sought, unsuccessfully, election to the gubernatorial office again in 1970 and 1974. He published accounts of his military experiences, In This Faraway Land (Conway, Ark., 1971), and of his ascent to political power, Down From the Hills (Little Rock, Ark., 1981).

Access Copy Note: For purposes of protecting the legitimate personal confidentiality of identified individuals not in positions of public responsibility, limited access restrictions, uniformly applicable to all applicants for research access, have been imposed on a selected few files or sub-series, such as some of those in Series 9, "Records Pertaining to Public Welfare Program, 1954-1967. " Such files or sub-series are identified by a note on the respective Container List. In addition, for the guidance of reference archivists, such files have been coded with a large red-pencilled "R, " and boxes containing one or more such files have been similarly coded "R, " to indicate that all files in the box are so restricted, or "(R), " to indicate that some, but not all, files in the box are so restricted. Research access to restricted records may, in particular instances and for adequate reason, be granted only with the specific permission of the Curator or his deputy.

Date(s): 1910-1994

Extent: 504 ft. Correspondence, memoranda, reports, speeches, diary, lists, notes, petitions, certificates, clippings, literary manuscripts, legislative bills, scrapbooks, sound recordings, motion picture film, financial, legal, military, and other records created, received, or collected by Faubus (1910-1978) or by staff members of the Arkansas gubernatorial office (1955 -1967).

Finding Aid: This online finding aid is an outline of the extensive paper finding aid, but Series 14, Records Pertaining to Little Rock School Integration Crisis, 1957-1959. 1977 is available online.

Interviewees: Orval Faubus

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights.


Orval Faubus - History

longest serving Governor in Arkansas history

Orval Eugene Faubus was born in a rented log cabin in southern Madison County on January 7, 1910. His father was a self-educated farmer who was such a fervent opponent of capitalism that he named all three of his sons for socialist heroes -- "Eugene" was for Eugene V. Debs.

Although he only had an eighth-grade education, Faubus earned a teaching certificate from Commonwealth College, a left-wing, self-help institution, in 1928. In 1931 he married Alta Haskins, a preacher's daughter, with whom he subsequently had one son.

Despite having grown up in a staunchly Socialist-leaning household, Faubus came to lean much more to the right, especially after President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal took hold. He joined the Democratic Party in the mid-1930's, and soon after decided to enter the world of politics. In 1936 he ran for the State House of Representatives. Although he lost the election, his passion and desire earned him respect, and in 1938 he was elected Circuit Clerk and Recorder of Madison County.

During World War II, Faubus served as an Army intelligence officer in five major European campaigns, including the Battle of the Bulge, and attained the rank of Major.

After the war, Faubus returned to the Madison County seat of Huntsville as Postmaster. He and his wife subsequently bought the town's weekly newspaper, the Madison County Record. His editorials on education, healthcare, and highways caught the attention of Sidney S. McMath, another war hero and leader of Arkansas's "GI Revolt," which swept many old-line politicians out of office. Faubus campaigned for McMath for Governor in 1948, and was rewarded with an appointment to the State Highway Commission.

In 1954, Faubus challenged incumbent Governor Francis A. Cherry, who had defeated McMath in 1952. During the primary campaign he attacked electric utility interests and Cherry's political awkwardness, and stood up for elderly on welfare by throwing Cherry's remarks about "welfare chiselers" and "deadheads" in his face. The two men campaigned themselves into a run-off election. During the subsequent "new" campaign, Cherry tried to make an issue out of Faubus' time at Commonwealth College, but the tactic failed. Faubus defeated Cherry by almost 7,000 votes, and then went on to defeat Little Rock's Republican Mayor, Pratt Remmel, in the general election, by a landslide.

Faubus had the fortune of being Governor during a period of major industrialization in Arkansas' economy, allowing him to implement major improvements in the state's infrastructure and social policies. He oversaw numerous improvements in public education, including a large increase in teachers' pay initiated an overhaul of the State Hospital for the Mentally Ill built the state's first institution for underdeveloped children, the Arkansas Children's Colony expanded state parks forced the Army Corps of Engineers to abandon plans to dam the Buffalo River and saw hundreds of miles of highways paved. He also desegregated public transportation and began working on a program to integrate public schools.

But Faubus also had the misfortune of being Governor when it came time to actually integrate Arkansas' schools. The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1954 that segregated schools were unconstitutional, a position that Faubus did not necessarily disagree with. However, when the federal government determined in 1957 that nine black students had the right to attend then all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Governor Faubus rebelled, calling it "enforced integration" and a violation of a state's right to determine its own educational policies. On September 2, 1957, Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the black students' admission to the school. A federal judge ordered the guardsmen removed, but when the students returned to the school they were met by a mob of enraged segregationists. Fighting broke out, and the "Little Rock Nine," as they had come to be called, had to be escorted out of the building by local police. In response, President Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and sent Army troops to restore order. The "Little Rock Nine" finally gained admission to the high school, and the rest of the school year progressed with little interruption.

Faubus's willingness to stand up against the federal government won him many supporters, even within the black community, and he would go on to serve a total of six two-year terms, making him the longest-serving Governor in Arkansas history. Despite his being seen as a racist during the Little Rock incident, Faubus's administration actually favored the black minority on many occasions. He hired many blacks for state government positions, made sure historically black colleges and other institutions received adequate funding, and fought to abolish the discriminatory poll tax and replace it with a more modern and equitable voter registration system.

Governor Faubus signs a Democratic Party loyalty oath in March 1958 shortly after launching his successful bid for a third term

Post-Governorship

Although he had chosen not to run for another term in 1968, Faubus tried to regain the Governor's office three times over the subsequent years -- in 1970, 1974, and 1986. None of his attempts came close to success. Aside from serving as State Director of Veterans' Affairs from 1981 to 1983, he never held another political office.

In 1969, Faubus brought the wrath of Arkansas down upon him by divorcing his wife, Alta, who had been widely loved and admired by the citizenry. His marriage to Elizabeth Westmoreland made those same citizens even more unhappy.

Tragedy struck in 1976, when his only son, Farrell, was found dead of a drug overdose. By 1983 he had separated from Elizabeth, who that year was murdered in her home in Houston, Texas, where she had moved while awaiting the couple's divorce. He married Jan Hines Wittenberg in 1986, and the two lived in Conway until his death from prostate cancer on December 14, 1996. He is buried in Combs Cemetery, near his birthplace in Madison County.

Governor Orval Faubus's memoirs, Down from the Hills, were published in 1980.


A Look Back: Faubus reflects on history, staying active

(Orval E. Faubus served 12 years as governor of Arkansas, from 1955-67. In October 1992, he came to Mountain Home to speak to the Baxter County Historical and Genealogical Society and the Baxter County Junior Historical Society, as well as to promote his book The Faubus Years. While here, he sat for an interview.)

At the Baxter County Historical Society's meeting you said a lot about history. . What do you think the consequences will be — the practical consequences — if this next generation has no historical basis to their education?

"Well, that'll just add to the moral decline. The people must have pride. They've got to believe in themselves and feel good about the things that they do their accomplishments, their work. Without that, then the country begins to fail. A business will fail if the employees are like that. A state administration, or a national administration or government will fail if you have people who do not take pride in their service and a part of that is a knowledge of history.

I was so disappointed to see some of the modern histories have taken Nathan Hale out and put in the Black Panthers. According to my viewpoint, some of the wrong people are writing the histories. And they're being adopted by the state education departments and, oft times, by the school districts, because they don't pay close attention to it. It's only natural. So, I think that's very bad.

Considering the events that went on during your administration, what do you think about things like the Los Angeles riots? Is that just another sign of a "moral decay" in the country?

"It's a lack of pride a lack of sense of belonging the lack of a sense of usefulness. They feel like they're neglected and left out, therefore, destroy. That has to be changed by having the opportunity to work, earn a living, have a home, and rear a family. So, the economy must be tied in closely with these things. But, a good economy, as I said before, is not enough.

"Now, what caused that? The federal government taking over and trying to tell people what's good and bad for them. This country was founded on the basis that the people could determine these things. We, ourselves.

"Who established the schools? The people. They got together, organized and put up a school building — hired a teacher with money from their own pockets. Then, later on, the state became interested and set up a state system of education with certain rules and regulations. But, according to the constitution and the admission acts of the states to the unions, education is reserved solely for the states, while your federal government interference has caused a lack of faith in government itself — animosity, alienation. And that, to my mind, is the contributing factor to all of the turmoil that we see going on at the present time."

Since this is a publication for seniors and you now say you qualify at age 82, do you think it's important that seniors remain politically active?

"Oh, I think so because they have the wisdom of age. Therefore, I'd rather risk their judgment, based on moral values and what's good for the country, because they're students of our great religions —like, 'What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?' They know those things. They know the basic values. They were raised in a more cooperative and gentler clime than we have now.

"So, I'd rather risk their judgment than the judgment of any other group. But, that doesn't mean that others should be discounted or left out. Especially the young people should be included now, just as much as possible, because very soon they're going to be taking over. Within 10 years, people my age will be gone. I'll be gone. So, it's going to be up to you fellas."

What are some things seniors can do to remain politically active?

"Well, just take an interest. Read the news. Know who's running for office. Try to find out what they stand for and, then, vote for what is best. They'll always take into consideration what's best for them, their groups. That's only natural. But, over and above all that, what is best for the country, the area.

"Seniors need to stay active and keep fighting. We've got to take back the control of our own affairs from the courts. The courts were not set up to decide for people. They decide whether or not the matters are constitutional or legal based on the laws passed by the representatives of the people.

"But, you see, for the past number of years the courts have been making the law, instead on interpreting it and that's contrary to the constitution contrary to good judgment contrary to everything I believe in. I find that many, many people agree with me."

Do you find that you enjoy life at 82 more than you did in the past?

"No, I can't say that because the time I

was in the Army and young and strong and had comrades and we were all doing well and the war was over and we had won — there was hope and exhilaration, friendship, and a comradeship that's known only to people who were in combat together. We always had a sadness for those who didn't come back because, in my outfit, we left comrades and friends in every cemetery from Normandy to Germany. But, still, we know that's a part of life that we're all going to go at one time or another. These people were unfortunate enough to go during the war.

"So, life was good life was pleasant. I still enjoy it because, after all, why shouldn't you as long as you can? Like being up here and looking at this beautiful country seeing the color as the leaves begin to change from summer to autumn. I've always enjoyed the seasons, and we have four good seasons in this country. Nature has been a part of my enjoyment all my life, so it's still here, it's still beautiful and I still enjoy it a great deal.

"But, there's a tinge of sadness now in knowing that so many of my friends are gone, are going, and I'll soon go with them."

(Editor's note: Orval E. Faubus died Dec. 14, 1994, at the age of 84.)


Examples of Orval Faubus in the following topics:

Desegregation in Little Rock

  • The students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Arkansas Governor OrvalFaubus, and then attended after the intervention of President Eisenhower.
  • Governor OrvalFaubus called out the National Guard on September 4, 1957, and on the first day of school, troops from the National Guard blocked the nine students from entering the school.
  • On September 24, the President ordered the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army to Little Rock and federalized the entire 10,000 member Arkansas National Guard, taking it out of the hands of Faubus.

The Brown Decision

  • As late as 1957, three years after the decision, a crisis erupted in Little Rock, Arkansas when Governor of Arkansas OrvalFaubus called out the National Guard on September 4 to prevent entry to the nine African-American students (known as the Little Rock Nine) who had sued for the right to attend an integrated school, Little Rock Central High School.
  • Faubus' resistance received the attention of President Dwight D.
  • Their enrollment was followed by the Little Rock Crisis, in which the students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by OrvalFaubus, the Governor of Arkansas.

The Emergence of the Civil Rights Movement

  • As late as 1957, three years after the decision, a crisis erupted in Little Rock, Arkansas when Governor of Arkansas OrvalFaubus called out the National Guard on September 4 to prevent entry to the nine African-American students who had sued for the right to attend an integrated school, Little Rock Central High School.
  • Faubus' resistance received the attention of President Dwight D.

The Eisenhower Administration

  • However, In 1957, he sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas after Governor OrvalFaubus attempted to defy a federal court order calling for desegregation of Little Rock public schools.

Women of the Civil Rights Movement

  • The students' attempts to enroll provoked a confrontation with Governor OrvalFaubus, who called out the National Guard to prevent their entry.

Conclusion: WWII and the U.S.

  • Governor Orval Eugene Faubus of Arkansas used the Arkansas National Guard to prevent school integration at Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

Conclusion: Post-War America

  • Governor Orval Eugene Faubus of Arkansas used the Arkansas National Guard to prevent school integration at Little Rock Central High School in 1957.
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Southern Discomfort : Orval Faubus gained notoriety in 1957 when he tried to stop school integration in Arkansas. He still wants to soften history’s view of him.

When Bill Clinton declared his candidacy for the presidency in front of the old state Capitol in downtown Little Rock last September, another Arkansas governor was milling in the crowd, greeting old friends and buttonholing reporters.

He was an elderly man, tall but slightly stooped, with downy white hair and hound-dog eyes. His voice, tinged with the cadences of the Ozarks, was gravelly and weak. A pacemaker beat beneath his shirt.

Yet the scores of reporters who had descended on Little Rock to cover Clinton’s opening salvo didn’t recognize Orval E. Faubus. He’d been out of the news for so long that he was largely forgotten or presumed dead.

But there he was, alive and ticking, still pressing the flesh like a seasoned campaigner. He hadn’t come to throw his support behind Clinton’s presidential bid he was just curious about what the young governor had to say. And Faubus has never been a man to avoid a crowd.

In the sweep of an eye, one could almost see the passage of the Old South to the New: Before Clinton arrived on the national scene, Faubus was Arkansas’ most noted--and most notorious--political figure, a symbol of Southern defiance in the Central High desegregation crisis.

In the late 1950s, Chet Huntley dubbed him “history’s stepchild.” Louis Armstrong called him “an uneducated plowboy.” A Gallup Poll in 1958 named Faubus one of the “Ten Most Admired Men in the United States.” He received two dozen assassination threats. His Sphinx-like smile curled across the covers of Time and countless other magazines and newspapers.

“Everyone was checking out my record there for a while. I was the most-checked man in America,” Faubus recalls with pride.

Now 82, Faubus has always been a man of contradictions. He has been labeled a mountain socialist, a populist, a Dixiecrat and a business Whig. But despite his long, varied career, Faubus will always be remembered for a certain pregnant moment in the autumn of 1957, 35 years ago this month.

Faubus astonished the world by ordering the National Guard to cordon off the grounds of Little Rock Central High and prevent the entrance of nine black children who had been selected to integrate the school. He claimed that “caravans” of armed segregationists were planning to descend on Central. Arkansas wasn’t ready for integration, he said. The Little Rock Nine would just have to wait.

Faubus’ maneuver created a constitutional crisis, forcing President Dwight D. Eisenhower to call out the 101st Airborne Division to escort the children to class. Overnight, Little Rock became a symbol of bigotry and racial turmoil.

Faubus found himself the darling of segregationists. But this former schoolteacher and newspaper publisher from the Ozarks was a populist Democrat with no known history of racial animus. And unlike Alabama’s George Wallace, he never stood in a schoolhouse door, preferring to couch his actions in the euphemistic code language of “states’ rights.”

“If this be the law,” he declared at the time of the Central High crisis, “then every state in this Union is nothing more than a vassal state to the central government.”

The rest of the world may have been appalled by Faubus’ gambit, but in the calculus of Arkansas politics, it proved brilliant. Segregationist sentiment ran strong in Arkansas. The second-term governor went on to win four more terms. All told, Faubus lived 12 years in the governor’s mansion and remains the only Arkansas governor who has served more terms than Clinton.

But as modern attitudes toward race have changed the face of Arkansas--and the South--1957 has come back to haunt Faubus. He has spent much of his later years revisiting his actions at Central High, answering the harsh queries of historians and constitutional law scholars who still come knocking on his door.

Like Richard M. Nixon, Faubus seems deeply concerned with the judgment of history and disappointed that his good works as governor will probably be overshadowed by a single infamous episode, what he terms the “so-called” crisis.

Faubus was the Huey Long of Arkansas politics, a colorful, enigmatic man with a nimble sense of timing and a gift for vernacular speech. He was generally viewed as a progressive who rebuilt the state mental hospital, significantly increased teacher salaries and welfare payments to the elderly, and saved the scenic Buffalo River from development. He even softened on racial issues, presiding over the integration of the state’s schools and universities and hiring numerous blacks in his Administration.

When he stepped down in 1967, he retired in triumph to a cliff-side dream house in the Ozarks. The “Big House,” as he liked to call it, was only 25 miles from the hardscrabble hills where he was born in poverty. It was widely expected that Faubus would hole up in the Big House for a year and then make a run for William Fulbright’s seat in the U.S. Senate.

But fate turned on Faubus, and he suffered a string of misfortunes that would have broken Job: In 1969, Alta, his wife of 37 years, divorced him, citing “abuse and consistent neglect.” In 1976, his only son, Farrell, committed suicide by drug overdose. He was 37. In 1983, Faubus’ second wife, Beth, was murdered in Houston, where the couple lived for a time.

Meanwhile, Faubus’ finances unraveled. To help pay the bills, he turned the Big House into a makeshift museum and gave tours for $1.25 a head. After serving as the director of an amusement park called Dogpatch U.S.A., Faubus took a job as a bank teller for a $5,000 annual salary.

For a few lonely years, he spent most of his time driving around the state promoting his books and occasionally offering autographs for spare cash.

As if these trials weren’t enough, his health has repeatedly failed him. He has fought cancer and heart troubles and has undergone surgery 12 times.

But Faubus never lost the political bug. In 1970 and 1974, he made impressive but unsuccessful comeback bids for the governorship. After getting trounced by Clinton in the 1986 Democratic primary, he finally threw in the towel, calling himself “a has-been.”

In 1989, he sold the Big House and left the Ozarks. “That was more house than I ever bargained for,” he chuckles. “I had learned to love every foot of it. But I had to sell it to pay off the bankers. I didn’t have anything left, but I can now write on my tombstone: ‘Orval Faubus--His Debts Were Paid.’ ”

Today, Faubus lives in a comfortable although decidedly smaller house in the college town of Conway, half an hour’s drive north of Little Rock, with his third wife, Jan, a 49-year-old schoolteacher.

The first image that greets visitors is an enormous oil portrait of the young governor from the glory days of his Administration, his ruddy visage beaming down from the top of the stairs. The contrast between the rumpled old man at the door and the young executive looming behind him is striking and somehow desperately sad.

Political memorabilia clutters the house. In his downstairs office are photographs of the governor pictured alongside John F. Kennedy and Harry S. Truman and a framed copy of his Time magazine cover from 1957.

Faubus has crow’s feet around his eyes and a long hook nose that constantly drips. His glum expression brightens once he starts talking.

As he recounts boyhood tales, he speaks softly, almost reverently, in an engaging hillbilly brogue flecked with King James English. He still is full of nervous energy, constantly tapping his foot, drumming his fleshy fingers on the arm of his chair.

Last year, Faubus was found to have prostate cancer and given 37 treatments of radiation therapy. Now it’s his wife’s health that concerns him most: Jan recently developed breast cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy after a mastectomy.

He writes a column for a trucking newspaper and organizes reunions for his Army division from World War II. Occasionally, he gives political speeches. He delights in getting a rise out of the press by taking unpredictable stands. In 1988, for example, he endorsed Jesse Jackson for President.

Controversy has pursued him even in retirement. Recently he was honored with a bust in the rotunda of the state Capitol, despite the strident objections of black opponents.

He has written five books, ranging from a memoir of his service in Patton’s Third Army to a eulogy for his many dogs. His two-volume autobiography, “Down From the Hills,” has been labeled a “revisionist history” by critics. He thinks he has one more book in him, a celebration of Ozarks culture.

Faubus remains a close observer of the political scene, and his opinions are still sought. He’ll hold forth on any topic, especially if you agree to buy one of his books.

Affirmative action: “It’s just as unfair as it can be.”

The federal government: “The trend toward the federal usurpation of the states is continuous and inevitable and will result in a dictatorship of the American Caesars.”

Clinton’s tenure as governor: “He hasn’t minded the store. And he raised the state sales tax by 1.5 percentage points.” Faubus pauses, and the old mountain populist smolders from within. “That’s your ordinary people he’s hurting.”

One topic he won’t discuss in detail is Clinton’s bid for the presidency.

“We’ve always had people in Arkansas who were capable of being President,” he says. “People like William Fulbright, John McClellan, Wilbur Mills. But the timing wasn’t right. Winning in politics is just like fording a stream. You don’t know when it’s going to flood, when it’s going to flow swift or when it’s going to grow still. See, it all depends on your timing.”

It was timing, more than anything else, that accounted for Faubus’ inability to stage a comeback in Arkansas politics. “The times changed on him,” says Paul Greenberg, the conservative editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “And while he was a shrewd politician, he wasn’t able to change fast enough.”

The next generation’s candidate, Bill Clinton, has been in many ways the antithesis of Faubus, a modern rebuke of an old Dixie style. Clinton grew up in the midst of the Little Rock crisis, and as a liberal governor he has done much to erase its bitter legacy.

Today, Central High is considered one of Arkansas’ model schools, with a thoroughly integrated student body. Former Little Rock Nine student Ernest Green, now a managing director for an investment banking firm in Washington, has developed a close personal and political relationship with Clinton.

“I find it remarkable,” says Green, “that in a single generation, I’ve gone from having an Arkansas governor exclude me from a school at gunpoint to having an Arkansas governor include me in his private counsels.”

Still, Faubus insists that he was never opposed to the goal of integration, only to the “cowardly” way in which the federal government foisted it on Arkansas.

There was, he admits, an element of political calculation in his decision. “You have to be a realist,” he contends. “If I hadn’t acted as I did, I would have lost all influence and control, because at the time the (segregationist) sentiment was so overwhelming.”

He still maintains that his paramount concern in calling out the National Guard was preserving tranquillity. But most historians dispute his claim of impending bloodshed.

“The threat of violence was phony,” argues Harry Ashmore, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former editor of the Arkansas Gazette, who writes history books in Santa Barbara. “I’m not saying Orval Faubus was a racist. He was just an opportunist. . . . But he harmed Arkansas in every imaginable way.”

Other historians take a milder view. “I think Faubus was, in some senses, victimized by the forces of history,” observes Arkansas native C. Vann Woodward, emeritus professor of Southern history at Yale University. “Faubus did what he felt was politically wise, and in so doing he stepped on a historical live wire.”

Many believe that Faubus’ dilemma could be eased by a simple act of humility: a public apology. They note that George Wallace apologized and later won the overwhelming support of Alabama’s black voters. Faubus, on the other hand, has steadfastly refused to recant.

“I haven’t apologized because I didn’t do anything to apologize for,” he insists in brittle tones.

Nevertheless, many in Arkansas believe that until Faubus accepts the blame for ’57, the Furies of Central High will keep hounding him.

“He carries it around with him like some kind of albatross,” says Paul Greenberg. “When you see him now, it’s as if he has ‘1-9-5-7' written across his suit.”

And so, wherever a large crowd gathers in Arkansas--as at Clinton’s announcement speech--you can expect to see the old governor, proud and unrepentant, perhaps even lugging a few copies of his autobiography to sell, still trying to persuade.

“I was a victim of circumstance,” he says, his voice cracking with consternation. “I offended the great federal government, and I’ve paid for it ever since.”


The Democratic Party's Long History of Racism

Long owning the default position, the pure, tolerant Democrats easily assume a morally superior attitude while labeling those who differ from their point of view as morally deficient, quickly dousing dissenters with the 2008-2012 election buzz word--racist.

Uh, uh I know better and so do you and so does Charlie Martin of PJ Tatler, factually exposing the Democrats as the real racists. Long term, pervasive racists at that, but no surprise there.

It was Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Democrat, who founded the Ku Klux Klan.

Woodrow Wilson segregated Federal Buildings and jobs after 50 years of integration under largely Republican administrations.

It was the Democrat Party in the South that instituted Jim Crow Laws.

It was the Democrat Party in the South that instituted "separate but equal".

It was the Democrat Party in the South that supported the Ku Klux Klan.

It was George Wallace and the Democrat Party in the South that said "Segregation Forever".

It was Orval Faubus and the Democrat Party that wanted the Arkansas National Guard to enforce segregation, and Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican President, that sent the 101st Airborne to integrate the schools.

It was Bull Connor, a member of the Democrat National Committee, who turned the hoses on the marchers in Birmingham, and it was the Republicans who made up the majority that passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, over the filibuster of such Democrat paragons as William Fulbright and Al Gore Sr. - and Grand Kleagle Byrd.

(And no, the Dixiecrats didn't join the Republican Party - most of them remained Democrats.)

It was the Democrats who kept Grand Kleagle Byrd in the party.

It was Democrats who called General Colin Powell a "house nigger".

It was Democrats who called Condi Rice - who grew up with and knew the little girls in Birmingham who were blown up, by Democrats - an "Aunt Jemima" and ran cartoons of her with fat lips doing Hattie McDaniel riffs.

It was Democrats, or at least Obama supporters, who called Stacy Dash a hundred different racist names for daring to leave the Democrat plantaion. (sic) It's the Democrats who hold annual dinners honoring Andrew Jackson, who owned slaves and who orchestrated the Removal, the Trail of Tears, the near genocide of several of the Indian Nations.

Add your own examples there are many. To get you started: the Democratic racism of low expectations known as affirmative action along with its diversity and pluralism relatives encompassing only certain so called minorities, contempt for those clinging to their guns and/or religion, suburban dwellers, NASCAR aficionados.

What spurred Martin's tirade was the certain Democratic plant appearing at a Romney rally prominently clad in a black t shirt plastered with a small Romney/Ryan logo over glaring white print proclaiming PUT THE WHITE BACK IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

Yep, that's how Democrats really think.

Long owning the default position, the pure, tolerant Democrats easily assume a morally superior attitude while labeling those who differ from their point of view as morally deficient, quickly dousing dissenters with the 2008-2012 election buzz word--racist.

Uh, uh I know better and so do you and so does Charlie Martin of PJ Tatler, factually exposing the Democrats as the real racists. Long term, pervasive racists at that, but no surprise there.

It was Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Democrat, who founded the Ku Klux Klan.

Woodrow Wilson segregated Federal Buildings and jobs after 50 years of integration under largely Republican administrations.

It was the Democrat Party in the South that instituted Jim Crow Laws.

It was the Democrat Party in the South that instituted "separate but equal".

It was the Democrat Party in the South that supported the Ku Klux Klan.

It was George Wallace and the Democrat Party in the South that said "Segregation Forever".

It was Orval Faubus and the Democrat Party that wanted the Arkansas National Guard to enforce segregation, and Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican President, that sent the 101st Airborne to integrate the schools.

It was Bull Connor, a member of the Democrat National Committee, who turned the hoses on the marchers in Birmingham, and it was the Republicans who made up the majority that passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, over the filibuster of such Democrat paragons as William Fulbright and Al Gore Sr. - and Grand Kleagle Byrd.

(And no, the Dixiecrats didn't join the Republican Party - most of them remained Democrats.)

It was the Democrats who kept Grand Kleagle Byrd in the party.

It was Democrats who called General Colin Powell a "house nigger".

It was Democrats who called Condi Rice - who grew up with and knew the little girls in Birmingham who were blown up, by Democrats - an "Aunt Jemima" and ran cartoons of her with fat lips doing Hattie McDaniel riffs.

It was Democrats, or at least Obama supporters, who called Stacy Dash a hundred different racist names for daring to leave the Democrat plantaion. (sic) It's the Democrats who hold annual dinners honoring Andrew Jackson, who owned slaves and who orchestrated the Removal, the Trail of Tears, the near genocide of several of the Indian Nations.

Add your own examples there are many. To get you started: the Democratic racism of low expectations known as affirmative action along with its diversity and pluralism relatives encompassing only certain so called minorities, contempt for those clinging to their guns and/or religion, suburban dwellers, NASCAR aficionados.

What spurred Martin's tirade was the certain Democratic plant appearing at a Romney rally prominently clad in a black t shirt plastered with a small Romney/Ryan logo over glaring white print proclaiming PUT THE WHITE BACK IN THE WHITE HOUSE.


Orval Faubus : When Corporations Bend Government

“In this dual system of government, with its checks and balances, lies the strength of the United States of America….” -Orval Faubus (1974 SOHP Interview), approximately 1 hour, 35 min long

Orval Faubus, former Governor of Arkansas

The Southern United States in the 1950’s and 60’s fostered a political climate that was both racially charged and had potential to be hostile. At the center of the Civil Rights Movement in regards to time, it was apparent that society in the South was about to change in a drastic fashion. Orval Faubus was the Arkansas Governor at this time, in a state who was deeply rooted in racial divide. History was made in Little Rock during this period when the Little Rock high school was desegregated for the first time, sparking outrage and protest from racist Little Rock citizens.

Orval Faubus was born on January 7, 1910 in a little town in Arkansas to John Samuel and Addie Faubus. He became interested in politics early, and had ran for the Arkansas Representative seat in 1936, however he lost. He was outlined with the Democratic party, a fact not parallel with his actions as Governor in the 1950’s. Faubus joined the US Army when the United States entered World War II, and fought for his country several times. He became Governor of Arkansas in 1955, and intended to set about carrying his Democratic ideas. He had many ideas to better the community, from highway construction to justice reform, however he would soon come to see the difficulties of running a state in the Deep South at the heart of the Civil Rights movement.

Upon entering office, Faubus began to see the difficulty that he would have to face in implementing ideas he had which might not be the majority vote from the people. He found that big corporations, namely the Arkansas Power and Light company, not only were the predominant influencer for Arkansas politics, but also practically had governmental allies to block any motion they didn’t approve of. They possessed an overarching political influence which gave them effectively free range to influence the laws of the state. This power was demonstrated in 1957, when there came a motion to desegregate Little Rock high school for 9 African American students. This angered the AP&L, who’s views did not align with that motion. They then applied significant political pressure directly on Faubus who, not having experienced this before and not wanting to lose his newly acquired seat, conformed to. He then ordered in the National Guard to actually bar those 9 students from entering school. This was, luckily, overturned by President Eisenhower who, by way of executive order in 1957, had the guards instead escort the students into the school. However, the damage had effectively already been done as many racist protesters showed up to throw trash and shout slurs at the 9.

Under Executive order from President Eisenhower, the National Guard escorts 9 African American students into Little Rock Central High

This action and subsequent consequence took by Faubus are still present and relevant today. Faubus messed up because he compromised his beliefs and conformed to accommodate a rich company who he saw as having potential to take his seat away. Politicians all over the country compromise their beliefs for the good of perpetuating their term, and therein lies a giant problem in American Politics. Recently in the Trump administration, you see lower officials both lying and obeying whichever action Trump wants them to take. In a similar fashion to Faubus’ situation, failure to comply with the President’s demands can, and has in multiple cases, resulted in that lower person’s firing. This forfeiture of personal belief and moral compass directly undermines democracy because it puts one person or group in sole control of the decisions affecting many different people. Politicians who act out of fear based solely on the preservation of their term or seat is a direct endangerment to the fabric of Democracy and thus should be handled with appropriate action, as President Eisenhower did by issuing an executive order calling the National Guard to protect these students in 1957.

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Orval Faubus - History

Orval E. Faubus' papers contain correspondence, appointments, press releases, inauguration materials, speeches, and campaign materials covering the early years of Faubus' governorship.

Biographical/Historical Note

Orval Eugene Faubus was born on January 7, 1910, to John Samuel "Sam" and Addie Joslin Faubus, on the family farm at Greasy Creek, Madison County, Arkansas. Faubus was educated in rural Madison County. Orval's father urged him to attend college and Faubus attended Commonwealth College in 1935 but did not graduate. In 1931, Faubus married Alta Haskins. After his service in World War II, Faubus returned to Madison County, Arkansas, as Postmaster at Huntsville and became owner of the local paper, the Madison County Record. In 1948, Governor Sid McMath appointed Faubus to the State Highway Commission, and then later as an administrative assistant to the governor’s office. Faubus launched his political career in 1954, when he challenged Governor Francis Cherry in the Democrat Primary. He defeated Cherry and in November won a landslide victory over Republican Pratt Remmel in the general election. Faubus would go on to serve six consecutive terms as Governor of Arkansas, giving him the distinction of holding the office longer than any other governor. Faubus' political career, however, was defined by his role in the Little Rock Central High School Crisis. Faubus chose not to run again for governor in 1966, clearing the way for Winthrop Rockefeller to become the first Republican governor of Arkansas since Reconstruction. In 1969, Orval and Alta Faubus divorced, and he later married Elizabeth Westmoreland. After her death in 1983, Faubus married Jan Hines Wittenberg in 1986. Faubus would run again for Governor in 1970, 1974 and 1986, but was unable to regain the popularity he had in the 1950s and 1960s. Orval Eugene Faubus died December 14, 1994, and is buried in Combs Cemetery near Greasy Creek in Madison County.


Watch the video: Orval. The Heart of Belgium: Part 4 (January 2022).