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5 Fun Facts About December 31 In Arkansas History

---Learn Every Day: AR Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history ar To: 618-270-4005---

1. Arkansas became a state on December 15, 1836. However, it wasn't until December 31 of that year that the first state governor, James S. Conway, was inaugurated.

2. In 1960, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave a speech at Little Rock's Philander Smith College on December 31. During his speech, he spoke about the importance of nonviolent resistance in the civil rights movement.

3. On December 31, 1983, Arkansas native Johnny Cash played a concert at the Cummins Unit near Grady. The concert was filmed for a documentary called "Murder in Black and White," which examined the state's prison system.

4. In 1862, Confederate General Thomas Hindman made a last-ditch effort to defend Little Rock from Union forces by ordering the destruction of the railroad bridge across the Arkansas River on December 31. The move ultimately failed, and Little Rock fell to Union forces the following day.

5. On December 31, 1998, Arkansas quarterback Clint Stoerner infamously fumbled the ball while trying to run out the clock in the fourth quarter of the SEC Championship Game against Tennessee. The fumble allowed Tennessee to score a game-winning touchdown, preventing Arkansas from earning a spot in the national championship game.
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