Ethel Tompkins, of Hoxie, AR, will make a presentation to the Jackson County Historical Society on Sunday, February 18th at 2:00 P.M. in observance of Black History Month. The meeting will take place at the NEDC resource center across from the old Post Office building in downtown Newport.

Ethel Tompkins was one of the twenty five black students who integrated the Hoxie Arkansas School District in 1955, two years before the Little Rock Central High School Crisis in 1957.  This was after two other Arkansas schools, Charlston and Fayetteville, had integrated peacefully in 1954.

She graduated Hoxie High School in 1961 and after attending  Shorter College in North Little Rock for a year, then joined the Navy.  She then earned her degree in Computer Science in Southern California, where she had been stationed with the Navy.  she worked in that area until returning to Hoxie in 1990 to take care of her parents.

The Hoxie experience had been widely forgotten until 2003, when University of Memphis Professor, Dr. David Appleby, made a documentary film about it.  The movie was shown on PBS and widely praised.