LITTLE ROCK - A former journalist, professor, historian and author will discuss a historic women's strike in Fort Smith during Pen to Podium from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13. The event is free.
Ben Boulden, a Fort Smith native, will present material from his book, "Hidden History of Fort Smith, Arkansas," in the Diamond Conference Room at the Department of Arkansas Heritage at 1100 North St. in Little Rock. The presentation is part of the Arkansas Historical Writers Lecture Series through the Arkansas State Archives, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
The Friends of the Arkansas State Archives will host a reception in the lobby before Boulden's lecture.
Boulden's book delves into life in Fort Smith during the days of American westward expansion. For his lecture, he plans to present information about a strike by women telephone operators on Nov. 13, 1917. The strike spurred a general strike, ended up ousting the mayor and indirectly led to women in Arkansas being allowed to vote before the federal government gave women the right to vote.
Dymple Johnson, a dental hygienist in Fort Smith, became the first woman in the South to vote in a public election. She cast her ballot in a primary election for the mayoral position.
Boulden is an expert on Fort Smith history who wrote a historical column for the Southwest Times Record, the daily newspaper. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Missouri in 1986 and a master's degree in history from the University of Arkansas in 1992.
Boulden has taught courses in Arkansas history and American History in the Gilded Age. He served as vice president of the Fort Smith Historical Society, worked on the society's journal and created fortsmithhistory.org, the society's website. He served four years on the board of Fort Smith Museum of History.
Boulden said the Pen to Podium series helps keep history alive for residents and creates an understanding of the contemporary world through the past.
About the Arkansas State Archives
Arkansas State Archives is a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and is responsible for collecting and maintaining the largest collection of historical materials on Arkansas in the world. The State Archives has two branch locations at Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives in Powhatan and the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives in Washington. SARA holds research related to 12 counties: Columbia, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, Pike, Polk, Sevier and Union.
Other divisions of the Department of Arkansas Heritage are the Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum.