L.C Bates & The Arkansas State Press: The Epitome Of Controlling Your Own Narrative

Just like today. At the turn of the century, there weren’t many places that a Melanated man or woman could turn for quality non-bias news pertaining to black society. One publication that would become heavily involved in the civil rights movement was The Arkansas State Press, owned by civil rights activist and writer L.C Bates.

With the Jim Crow laws and mentality in full effect, Mr. Bates used The Arkansas State Press to express the sentiments and the concerns of the black community. 

In 1957, Mr. Bates and his wife Daisy Lee Gadson played a huge role in desegregating Central High School in little rock, AR using the newspaper as a catalyst to document the struggle between the Little rock nine and the Little Rock School District.

While his wife was the spokesperson for the “little rock nine”( The nine Melanated students attempting to get admission to Central High School) he ran the newspaper in the day but had to protect his home at night from White Supremacist groups upset about the possibility of the schools intergrading. 

From 1941-1959, Mr. Bates was primarily responsible for the content in the newspaper as well as the production. His goal was to model The Arkansas State Press after other notable Black newspaper publications like the Chicago Defender and The Crisis, a newspaper published by the NAACP. The Arkansas State Press is yet another shining example of how much influence you can have when controlling your own narrative is your objective.












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