On Lasting Pillars – Robinson Auditorium – Scott Whiteley Carter (PROMO)

Many of F.D.R’s alphabet-soup projects
required matching funds from municipalities. Without that amendment
Little Rock could not have provided the funds for construction at the Zoo,
waterworks facilities, the Museum of Fine Arts and other projects. The same is true
for cities and towns throughout the state. Now once the federal Public Works Administration had been created and
outlined at spending priorities, Little Rock boosters saw in the New Deal a
chance to finally construct a Municipal Auditorium. In January 1937 voters went
to the polls to approve three different bond proposals…a municipal auditorium,
expansion in the public library, and a park for African Americans, eventually
known as Gilliam Park. It was three separate votes but proponents of all
three proposals encouraged yes votes on each of them. This seems to be the first
time that anything for African-Americans was put before Little Rock voters. In a
front page series of editorials The Gazette extolled the virtues of each of
the three proposals devoting the most ink for the auditorium. The final
editorial discussing the park exhorted readers to quote be fair to African
Americans. The writer states that this new park would be a matter of justice
for a quarter of Little Rock’s population and also a matter of quote
the goodwill that has long marked race relations in Little Rock and has made
the city a better place end quote.

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