Named for U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright (1905-1995), Fulbright Elementary opened in 1978. The building won an outstanding achievement award in design from the American Institute of Architects, Arkansas Chapter, in 1980. It is a barrier-free, contemporary building that features skylights and bold colors in its design. The modified open-space design of the school allows for maximum teaching flexibility.
James William Fulbright was born on April 9, 1905, in Sumner, Missouri. He received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Arkansas in 1925 and attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. When he returned to the United States, he studied law at George Washington University. In the 1930s he served in the Justice Department and was an instructor at George Washington University Law School. In 1936 he returned to Arkansas and, from 1939 to 1941, was president of the University of Arkansas--at the time he was the youngest university president in the country.
Fulbright entered politics in 1942 and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In November 1944 he was elected to the U.S. Senate and served there from 1945 through 1974, becoming one of the Senate's most influential and best-known members. His legislation establishing the Fulbright Program passed through the Senate without debate in 1946. Its first participants went overseas in 1948; there have been more than 250,000 Fulbright grantees in all. In 1954 he was the only Senator to vote against an appropriation for the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which was chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy. Fulbright was in the spotlight as a powerful voice in the chaotic times of the war in Vietnam when he chaired the Senate hearings on U.S. policy and the conduct of the war. After leaving the Senate, he was a counsel to the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson and remained active in support of the international exchange program that bears his name. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Clinton in 1993. Senator Fulbright died on February 9, 1995, at the age of 89.
"LR schools named for prominent people," Arkansas Democrat article by Cynthia Howell, 18 Apr 1983; page 10B.
U.S. Department of State web site, J. William Fulbright biography: http://exchanges.state.gov/education/fulbright/fulbbio.htmIf you have information about a Little Rock school or photographs that you would like to contribute to this project (we will return photographs if requested), please contact us!
Updated March 2005