Museum honoring Hoxie’s role in integration of schools planned

Museum honoring Hoxie’s role in integration of schools planned

HOXIE, Ark. (KAIT) - The city of Hoxie hopes a new museum will showcase the city’s role in the integration of schools in the 1950s.

President of Board of Directors for Hoxie: The First Stand Ethel Tompkins said the museum is needed.
President of Board of Directors for Hoxie: The First Stand Ethel Tompkins said the museum is needed. (Source: KAIT-TV)

Ethel Tompkins, president of Hoxie: The First Stand, said the city stood up to the issue.

“They’re also heroes because they withstood the force of people trying to change their mind and bring outside forces to say, ‘You don’t want integration. You don’t want your children to go to school with African-Americans,” she said. “They didn’t use the term African-Americans but that’s basically what it was.”

In those days, Tompkins was forced to use the back door when entering restaurants. She was also refused entry to the local movie theater.

Tompkins wants Hoxie to get the recognition they deserve.

“Two years before Little Rock [integrated], there was Hoxie,” she said. “We want the museum to showcase the community, the town and the city of Hoxie itself and the African-American community.”

Hoxie: The First Stand has sought the help of Exhibition Associates, a contracting group that works with museums. Principal James Volkert has worked with museum construction for 40 years.

He wants others to know of Hoxie’s history.

“It’s an incredibly important story and particularly important now in the times that we live where the idea of cooperation and collaboration and partnership is important,” he said.

The school has also gotten involved with the project by creating a curriculum that showcases Hoxie’s history.

As far as construction for the site goes, the group is seeking to purchase a building on Harding Street.

According to Volkert, the construction for a museum costs anywhere from $150-$500 per square foot. Hoxie: The First Stand wants the upper end of the renovation, which would cost around $1 million.

The group is raising funds to get the museum. For more information on Hoxie: The First Stand, click here.

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