Narratives are personal stories that help enrich the reader’s understanding of a time period, person, place, or event. These are first-person views of history taken from personal recollections, memoirs, diaries, and oral histories.


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The July 31–August 1, 1953 Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP convened in Newport, Arkansas. The newspaper reported that it was "one of the most successful two-day sessions in the history of the conference." It was probably a first for this small town. 
This occurred about nine months before the Brown v. Board of Education decision (May 17, 1954) and seventy or more days before the Supreme Court's scheduled re-argument of the case (October 12, 1953). This was a focal point for the event.
In attendance were several outstanding NAACP officials including Daisy Bates, Gloster Current, U. Simpson Tate, Wiley Branton Sr., W. Harold Flowers, and Thad D. Williams. Ozell Sutton was the state's youth director during this time.
My father, Laurence Von (L. V.) Roddy, who was the Newport chapter's president and 3rd state vice president, and Rev. J. Edward Tillman, pastor, St. Paul AME Church, hosted the conference.
The NAACP delegation of officials visited Newport mayor J. N. Hout's home. Note that this was a segregated town. Mayor Hout was to have been one of the speakers at the two-day conference; however, he notified the leaders that he was ill and his physician had confined him to bed. Well, the leaders did a house call and delivered many "get well" wishes. They did not enter through the back door; the report states that they were "warmly and sincerely" received as guests. This particular act did not fit the general public's perceived image of segregation in the South during the ’50s.
I have some memory of the event and the excitement surrounding it. Being honest, as a seven year old, I especially looked forward to a big serving of lime frappé, which was prepared by my mother and other local women.


Laura Redic
Little Rock, AR