History Speakers


Topic Summary

Kimberley Gordon
Evolution of the Modern Woman

This is an entertaining and quick-paced review of the woman's societal role, followed by a call to action for women to step up and move beyond current constraints. This session includes a dozen tips for women to best leverage their knowledge, skills and abilities.

Billy Higgins
2013 Report from Egypt

Travel through Lower Egypt with Higgins as he takes you on a photographic tour of Egypt with street scenes of Cairo, Giza, Alexandria, and Port Said on the Suez. 

Billy Higgins
David Hall and Peter Caulder: Free Black Pioneers of Arkansas

Hall settled near upper White River in 1819. Caulder, a soldier of African ancestry who helped build Fort Smith in 1818, married Hall's daughter after leaving the Army. Both men and their families, yeoman farmers of antebellum days, were leaders of a substantial Free Black Community that existed in a unique valley in the rugged Ozarks.

Billy Higgins
Life and Times in the Arkansas Ozarks

Folk life in the Ozark Mountains once revolved around cattle- and hog-raising, covered-dish gatherings, rural schools, Grange Hall dances, timbering, woods lore, fast-rising creeks and whiskey-making. Find out about these old-time patterns and how much still survives today.

Billy Higgins
Maj. William Bradford, Builder of the First Fort Smith

Maj. Bradford, a veteran of the War of 1812, led an elite company of riflemen up the Arkansas River in the fall of 1817 to establish a post that came to be known as Fort Smith. Learn the details of Bradford's mission as well as hear about the character of this wry officer who was a personal friend of Andrew Jackson. 

Billy Higgins
The Barling Darling: Hal Smith in American Baseball

Tag along through not only Hal Smith's baseball career but also the history through which his life intersected. Through a heightened sociological imagination, join the author as he locates the life of Hal Smith as an individual within the wider social context of mid-20th century America. Although Harry Caray gave Hal Smith the rhythmic handle of "The Barling Darling" it belies the more humble nature of the real Hal Smith who is revealed to be a genuine, honest, hard-working man who traverses the tumult of history with a particular elegance and style.

Billy Higgins
The C-124 Globemaster: Cargo Airplane of the Vietnam Buildup

The first strategic long-range airlifter that performed yeoman service through two wars and nearly 25 years, the C-124 nicknamed "Old Shaky" was a major redesign of the C-74. The C-124 was developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company during 1947-1949 and was operational during the Korean War and also used to assist supply operations for Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica The C-124 was used to support troop buildups in Europe during the 1961 Berlin Wall Crisis. It was capable of handling up to 74,000 pounds of cargo such as tanks, field guns, bulldozers, and trucks. It could also be converted into a transport capable of carrying 200 fully-equipped troops in its double decked cabin or 123 litter patients. This presentation zeroes in on the C-124 Globemaster’s service in Vietnam.

Kevin Jones
Presidential Memoirs

Jones’ doctoral dissertation focused on three presidential memoirs: “The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, “The Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt” and “Keeping Faith” by Jimmy Carter. Learn about the conclusions Jones draws from the works and unifying themes prevalent across several generations of presidents. 

Kevin Jones
The History of Fort Smith

Fort Smith has a rich history, including Civil War skirmishes in and around Fort Smith, a judge notorious for hanging criminals and a diverse set of family backgrounds. Listen to Jones, who has authored two books on the subject, discuss the infamous events in Fort Smith’s history as well as little-known facts about the storied city. 

Lee Krehbiel
History and Demonstration of the Bagpipes

Hear a brief presentation about the evolution and societal uses of the Great Highland Bagpipe.  Dr. Krehbiel will also demonstrate how the instrument is played.  

Robert Willoughby
Development of the Western Fur Trade

In this talk, Willoughby will provide background of the Western fur trade, specifically the trade developed in the trans-Mississippi after the Lewis and Clark expedition and extending into the 1840s. He can also speak on any number of important trappers and traders or Western personalities associated with that period.

Robert Willoughby
Native American Relations in the Trans-Mississippi West

The national government made considerable efforts to save the Indian population by assimilating them into American society. While those efforts were undertaken with the best intent, they often failed to remedy critical problems faced by Native Americans. Hear about these issues and Native American policy from the speaker, who has presented a number of conference papers on the topic.

Robert Willoughby
Runaway Slave Cases

Prior to the Civil War, the American court system had to deal with numerous cases brought by runaway slaves, and the courts had to attempt to both apply existing slave laws and human justice on equal terms. This talk is of personal interest to the speaker, who has researched the topic and has also been published in the Missouri Historical Review regarding it.

Robert Willoughby
Urban Development of the Great Plains Region

Learn about town and city building in the trans-Mississippi West, particularly along the edge of the Great Plains, and discover the role of cities as jumping-off points for migration and economic development in the West. This talk is derived from the speaker's own book published on this topic.

Tom Wing
Arkansas and the Louisiana Purchase

In 1803, Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the United States with a signature and $15 million. The maps and survey of the purchase originated in Arkansas. This program will examine the unique and important effects of Arkansas and its relation to the Louisiana Purchase.

Tom Wing
The Civil War in Arkansas (and Fort Smith)

Arkansas and Fort Smith specifically have compelling stories connected to the Civil War. Fort Smith was occupied by both armies. This program will examine Fort Smith and Arkansas's role in the bloodiest conflict in our nation’s history.  

Tom Wing
Judge Isaac C. Parker and the Federal Court in Fort Smith

Judge Isaac Parker left a legacy of justice, fairness and professionalism. However, he had a number of critics and some of his court practices would not be allowed today. This program will examine both sides of the famous "Hanging Judge."

Tom Wing
Park Ranger? Museum Worker? There's More!

In the fall of 2004, the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith started a program in historical interpretation to assist students in filling positions in a variety of fields. Hear a talk that will define and explain what students learn, as well as see artifacts and historic reproductions that are used in the program.

Tom Wing
The Worst and the Best: Outlaws and Lawmen in Fort Smith

Fort Smith with Indian Territory right across the border saw its share of desperate and depraved characters. This talk will discuss some of the worst men to be brought to Fort Smith -- dead or alive -- and also provide insight into the lives of the dedicated lawmen who brought the outlaws to justice. 

Tom Wing
Update on the Drennen-Scott Historic Site

The Drennen-Scott Historic Site opened in May 2011, extending the UAFS campus into Van Buren. The site is multi-functional, serving as a training place for University of Arkansas - Fort Smith students and as a museum. In January 2012, the Drennen-Scott Historic Site was honored with an award for excellence in preservation and restoration from the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas. Hear the latest on what’s developing there. There’s always something new!