The world becomes a better place when people are willing to take a stand for others. In one of the most contentious ages in Arkansas History, Daisy Bates was a voice for peace and justice during the civil rights struggles. Her work helped show that the past does not have to define the future.

Some details of her early life are not entirely clear. She is believed to have been born Daisy Lee Gatson sometime around 1913 in eastern Union County. Many relatives still live in the area. Her mother was murdered while she was still a young child. The suspects, three white men, were never tried or convicted. Her family disintegrated as a result, and she was taken in by foster parents around the age of seven. Her foster father worked in a mill in Huttig in southeast Union County. Her education in the segregated schools of the day was sporadic.

Dr. Ken Bridges is a Professor of History at South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado. He has written seven books and his columns appear in more than 85 papers in two states. Email

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