HUTTIG, Ark. (KTVE/KARD)–Daisy Bates’ childhood was marked by tragedy when her mother was sexually assaulted and murdered by three white men and her father left her to be raised by friends of her family.
Daisy Gatson Bates was born in Huttig back in 1914. Bates attended Huttig’s segregated public schools, where she experienced firsthand the poor conditions where Black students were educated.
As a teenager, Bates met Lucious Christopher Bates, an insurance agent, and an experienced journalist. The couple married in the early 1940s, and shortly after, they moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. The couple operated the Arkansas State Press, a weekly African American newspaper that focused on civil rights. Shortly after, Bates joined the civil rights movement.
In 1957, she helped nine African American students to become the first to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, which became known as the Little Rock Nine.
Many Huttig residents are familiar with Bates’ story and say it’s important to carry out her legacy to the next generations.
“I embrace what she did because of her acts today, young people don’t realize it but they are standing on the shoulders of those people that came before them. For them to be where they are today and this is up to people like me to remind them, don’t forget where you came from,” said Laura Manning, a resident who’s lived in the Huttig community since the1960s.
Following a series of strokes, Bates passed away at the age of 84 on November 4th, 1999.
Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders proclaims February 20th as “Daisy Bates Day” to honor and remember Bates’ impact on Civil Rights not only in Arkansas but across the nation.