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Daisy Gatson Bates Day – February 20, 2023

Daisy Gatson Bates Day is observed every year on the third Monday in February, and takes place on February 20 this year. Many educational institutions in the United States, especially Arkansas, take time to incorporate activities to highlight this history and work of this activist who went above and beyond to make the world a better place. Additionally, many events may also be held in honor of Daisy Bates.

History of Daisy Gatson Bates Day

Daisy Gatson Bates Day is celebrated every year on the third Monday of February. Many educational institutions in the United States, especially Arkansas, take time to incorporate activities to highlight Daisy Lee Gatson Bates’ history and work. Additionally, many events may also be held in honor of Bates.

Celebrated in Arkansas, Daisy Gatson Bates Day is a public holiday that honors the life of the civil rights activist who played a key role in an integration crisis at Little Rock Central High School in 1957. Marking her contribution to society, the Arkansans take the day off, with schools and most businesses being closed for the day.

Bates was born in Huttig, Arkansas in 1913. When she was just three years old, her mother was killed by three Caucasian men leaving a lasting impact on her impressionable mind. This unfortunate and life-altering instance led her to confront the rampant issue of racism and discrimination based on the color of people’s skin, pushing her to dedicate her life to ending racial injustice.

After her marriage at the age of 15, the couple settled in the city of Little Rock in Arkansas and started their newspaper called “The Arkansas Weekly.” The publication was launched with a clear vision to speak up about social and civil rights and become the voice of African Americans in the country. Bates not only worked as an editor but also regularly contributed articles committed to the cause.

To make a difference on a larger scale, Bates also worked closely with many local Civil Rights organizations, including serving as the President of the Arkansas chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.). Given her consistent efforts to eradicate racism and her work with the government, Bates has become a household name.

Daisy Gatson Bates Day timeline

1941
The First Issue of “Arkansas State Press”

The first issue of “Arkansas State Press,” a weekly statewide newspaper started by Bates, is released on May 9.

1952
Bates as President of the Arkansas Conference

Daisy Bates is elected as the president of the Arkansas Conference of N.A.A.C.P. branches.

1962
Bates’ Memoir

Bates publishes her memoir titled “The Long Shadow of Little Rock.”

1984
Honorary Law Degree

The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville awards Bates with an honorary law degree.

Daisy Gatson Bates Day FAQs

What did Daisy Bates believe?

Bates was an American journalist and a civil rights activist. She strongly believed in championing racial equality.

Why is Daisy Bates important?

Bates, a civil rights activist, and publisher, documented the battle to end segregation in Arkansas.

Did Daisy Bates write any books?

Bates penned her memoir titled “The Long Shadow of Little Rock: A Memoir.” You can easily purchase a copy or borrow it to read it.

How to Observe Daisy Gatson Bates Day

  1. Read “The Long Shadow of Little Rock”

    It’s completely okay if you know little to nothing about Bates. But this should be your cue to get to know about her and her life and work. Rent or purchase her memoir and read it to fully understand who she was and her life experiences.

  2. Look up an old issue of “Arkansas State Press”

    The internet is a treasure trove of old information that you can’t find otherwise. Look up the first issue of Arkansas State Press which was co-published by Bates. If you can find more issues, read them as well and see how she used the press to champion rights.

  3. Champion for racial inequality

    Carry on Bates’ legacy by championing racial inequality. Use social media to create awareness of racial discrimination and racial inequality. Stand up for your peers who may be facing unfair treatment due to their race.

5 Important Facts About Daisy Gatson Bates

  1. She was adopted

    Bates was adopted after her mother’s murder and her father’s abandonment.

  2. Education

    While attending Huttig’s segregated public schools, she experienced the poor conditions under which Black students were educated.

  3. Contribution to society

    She has helped nine African American students to become the first to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock.

  4. Stellar career

    She has worked on anti-poverty projects for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.

  5. Her marriage

    At the age of fifteen, Bates met Lucius Christopher Bates, a traveling salesman.

Why Daisy Gatson Bates Day is Important

  1. She was a social activist

    Bates was a woman of great honor and has left behind a rich legacy. She broke racial and gender barriers to bring about a civil rights movement. She is known for the desegregation of Little Rock's Central High School.

  2. She spoke out for jobs and freedom

    Bates was the only woman to speak at the March on Washington some decades ago. She championed jobs and freedom. She later even became the director of the Mitchellville Office of Equal Opportunity Self-Help Project.

  3. She contributed to transforming the civil rights movement

    Bates contributed to transforming the civil rights movement through her work with N.A.A.C.P. It also made her a household name. The Supreme Court also ruled segregated schools unconstitutional.

Daisy Gatson Bates Day dates

YearDateDay
2022February 21Monday
2023February 20Monday
2024February 19Monday
2025February 17Monday
2026February 16Monday

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