Arkansas Livestock Fair Opens in Quiet Capital
This is the fifth and last in a series of articles from Little Rock by the CRIMSON's Managing Editor, George H. Watson, Jr. '58.
LITTLE ROCK, Sept. 30--Little Rock was relaxed today as an almost holiday atmosphere greeted the opening of the annual Arkansas Livestock Exposition, billed as a spectacular show combining rodeo action and exhibits of prize farm animals.
The exposition began with a parade through downtown Little Rock today, and thousands lined the streets to watch the western-style festivities.
Only the prospect of Governor Orval E. Faubus' calling a special session of the state legislature appeared as a dark cloud on the horizon. Faubus said today that the session is "very likely," and he has called a news conference at 9 a.m. tomorrow which may end speculation as to whether the assembly will meet and what it will attempt to do.
But today was quiet, and around Central High School troops were reduced in number and military precautions relaxed. At 11:25 this morning, the barricades which had been set up around the school were taken down and the guards was reduced to a token force.
For the first time since the 101st Airborne Division arrived on Wednesday, paratroopers carried their rifles without bayonets attached. Inside the school building, guards wore fatigues instead of battle dress, and only one soldier escorted the nine Negroes to the door of the school.
Although officers would not discuss the changed policies, observers felt that the 101st was preparing to relinquish control to the federalized National Guard. This move has been urged by Representative Brooks Hays (D-Ark.), and many feel that tensions would be eased by withdrawing the regular Army.
No Incidents at Parade
In downtown Little Rock today, there was no indication of the racial strife which had plagued the city for almost a month. Negroes and whites stood next to each other to watch the two-mile parade which opened the Livestock Ex-position, and there were no incidents.
Although there was an official car at the head of the procession with his name on it, Governor Faubus did not appear. The empty car received occasional cheers and scattered applause, and several by-standers shouted "We want Orval," "Where's Orval?" and "What did you do with him?"
Faubus was in Little Rock, and there was no word why he did not ride in the parade. He was in good company, however, for the other two stars of the show, Gene Autry and Annie Oakley (Gail Davis), failed to appear because of a late plane.
The traditional Exposition continues for six days, and more than 200,000 people are expected to visit the Coliseum filled with prize poultry, rabbits, hogs, and cattle.
(The Associated Press last night reported that one of the season's big football games for Little Rock was scheduled for yesterday evening at the 5,000-seat Central Stadium. By tradition, Negroes do not attend the high school's games and it was not anticipated that any would attempt to do so.)