Date Original



This collection contains biographical information, correspondence, newspapers, clippings, and material related to civil rights and other topics.

Biographical/Historical Note

James Franklin Cooley was born January 11, 1926, in Rowland, Roberson County, North Carolina. He graduated from Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina, with degrees in social science and theology. Cooley also served in the Army during World War II, and later received honorary doctorates in divinity and civil law. Reverend Cooley moved to Forrest City, St. Francis County, Arkansas, in 1957 to become pastor of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, the county's first African American Presbyterian church. He was also a teacher and community leader who worked to combat juvenile delinquency in the area. In 1969, the Forrest City School District dismissed Cooley from his teaching position. He believed his firing was due to his involvement in civil rights activities. His dismissal resulted in protests and rioting of black students at Lincoln Junior-Senior High School. Cooley’s community involvement included the establishment of a day care, a free lunch program for underprivileged children, college extension courses for prison inmates, and the publication of the “Arkansas Weekly Sentinel” in Little Rock, Arkansas, from 1978-1984. Cooley served as a dean at Shorter College in North Little Rock from 1969-1973. He died July 24, 1992, in Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area






Resource Type



James Franklin Cooley papers, MS.000045


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

James Franklin Cooley papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History