Graves speaks at commemorative event

Dr. John Graves, Edgar and Marguerite Henley Professor of American History at Henderson State University, was one of three principal speakers at a commemorative event held at Little Rock City Hall Aug. 1. The event was held to honor the late Ellen Turner Carpenter, who would have been 100 years old at the time of the ceremony.

Carpenter was a beloved African American community leader in Little Rock who received numerous awards and honors throughout her lifetime for her civic involvements. She was the longtime president of the Mosaic Templars Building Preservation Society, the grassroots citizens’ organization which spearheaded the successful effort to create the first public museum celebrating the history and heritage of African Americans in Arkansas.  

Graves and Carpenter were both founding members and board members of the preservation society. During his presentation, Graves recalled Carpenter’s leadership and contributions in regards to the society’s efforts and activities.

Graves has taught at Henderson State since 1985. He is the author of the award-winning book Town and Country: Race Relations in an Urban-Rural Context, Arkansas 1865-190, published by the University of Arkansas Press. He has also published articles dealing with the history of race relations in Arkansas in The Journal of Southern History, The Journal of the West, the Arkansas Quarterly, Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies, and the University of Virginia’s Essays in History.

Graves is a past president of the Arkansas Historical Association, which recently established a new book award named in his honor, and currently serves as a state commissioner on the Black History Commission in Arkansas.