Date Original



This collection contains newspaper clippings, correspondence, programs, and event planning materials from the 40th, 45th, and 50th anniversary celebrations of the Women's Emergency Committee.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Women's Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools was formed in Little Rock, Arkansas, in September 1958. It was established in response to the closing of Little Rock's four public high schools by Governor Orval Faubus. The organization was founded by a group of women led by Adolphine Fletcher Terry, a member of a prominent Little Rock family. Mrs. Terry, Vivion Brewer, and Mrs. J.O. Powell organized the first meeting, which 58 women attended. The stated purpose of the committee was to inform the people of Little Rock, and Arkansas, of the need for public education and of the price of not having public schools. After the schools were reopened in September 1959, the name was changed to the Women's Emergency Committee (WEC). The membership of the WEC eventually grew to over 1600 women. In the five years of its existence, the WEC opposed Governor Faubus and his forces on numerous occasions. The most successful confrontations for the WEC were the Little Rock School Board recall election in May 1959, in which three Faubus-supported segregationists were removed from the board, and the defeat of Amendment 52, which would have abolished the constitutional guarantee of free public schools, in November 1960. The WEC was also involved in school board and political contests through much of its history, principally the Joe Hardin-Faubus race in 1960 and the Sid McMath-Faubus race in 1962.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area






Resource Type



Women's Emergency Committee Anniversaries collection, MS.000975


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Women's Emergency Committee Anniversaries collection, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


Use and reproduction of images held by the Arkansas State Archives without prior written permission is prohibited. For information on reproducing images held by the Arkansas State Archives, please call 501-682-6900 or email at


United States History