Charles Portis and Katrina Whalen Talk Service

The Oxford American magazine recently celebrated the fifty-year anniversary of the publication of True Grit. The novel is Charles Portis’s best-known work, due in no small part to the film versions released in 1969 (John Wayne, Glen Campbell, Kim Darby) and 2010 (Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Hailee Steinfeld). The weekend event took place in Little […]

Searching for Grit in Little Rock

Fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross traveled by train from Dardanelle to Fort Smith, on the western border of Arkansas. She was searching for a man with grit, someone to help her track down Tom Chaney, the lowlife who had robbed and murdered her father. She hired Rueben Cogburn, a deputy U.S. marshal known as “Rooster.” A Texas […]

Urban Renewal and the Dreamland Ballroom

As in many cities of segregated America, Little Rock Arkansas had a thriving African-American community. The West 9th Street neighborhood on the eastern edge of downtown was filled with black-owned businesses and professional offices. The Dreamland Ballroom headlined acts such as Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Etta James, Louis Jordan, Big Joe Turner et cetera. Urban […]