ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume 30(Autumn 1971), p. 213
Memories of University Student, 1906-1910
By JAMES HARRIS ATKINSON*
Little Rock, Arkansas
My Preparation for College
NEITHER MY FATHER NOR MY MOTHER ever went to college. They grew up in southern Arkansas in the period following the Civil War. They had no opportunity for a college education. So far as I have been able to determine, none of their immediate forbears had ever "been to college." They were pioneers and had to be concerned with making a living. In the College Hill Community, in northern Columbia County, where we lived in my early years, there was no one, so far as I know, who had ever "been to college."
It may then seem strange that, from my earliest recollection, my father had impressed me with the idea that I must go to school and study and "one day graduate from college." Living on a small sandhill farm, with two younger children, with no money crop except cotton that usually brought in possibly $100.00 or $200.00 a year, and with only one-room country schools, in session two months in the summer and three or four months in the winter, the possibility of a college education for me must often have looked dim even for my father. But he never ceased to tell me that one day I must graduate from college.
*Editor's Note: The author, a member of the Class of 1910 of the University of Arkansas, wrote these reminiscences at my request to be published during the university's centennial celebration of 1971-1972. He was a career teacher in the public schools of Arkansas and Little Rock Junior College, beginning at Hinton Schoolhouse, two miles east of Patmos, Hempstead County, in 1908 and ending with his retirement from LRJC in 1987. He is perhaps best knownw for his owrk in helping found the Arkansas Historical Association and for his service on the Arkansas History Commission. He is co-author with Dr. John L. Ferguson of Historic Arkansas, a text used in the public schools of the state. Mr. Atkinson's address is 210 Palm Street, Little Rock, Ark. 72205.