Interview with Harold Engstrom
QUESTION 9
INTERVIEWER:

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CITY GOVERNMENT DURING THIS TIME? HOW COME IT CAME DOWN TO BE BETWEEN A LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD AND THE GOVERNOR, WITHOUT HAVING THAT CITY GOVERNMENT IN PLACE?

Harold Engstrom:

Well, the city government and the school administration are different. They are separate, and I guess, intentionally. The – the – actually the city government was in a period of transition. We were talking about that we were trying to get the world to be better. We were trying to – we – we reorganized our water company. We reorganized our highway reform – We reorganized our highway reform. We had what we called a highway reform. We had what we called a highway reform – separate constitutional status for the highway commission. The city was – of Little Rock, was going through the same transition. We were going from the old alderman type of government, where each alderman represented some little private interest in some small section of the community, to the city manager type of government, where we had a professional running our government, and prominent citizens on the board. And, so our city government at this particular stage was not strong enough, not – and not obligated in an way, legally or otherwise, to make the integration plan work. They did have to provide fire service and police service, and so on, and we got that up to a point. Until things became – when we became so – and the plan became so unpopular. We had about as much support from the city as as we expected, when the plan – when the integration started. After the fact, after the crisis, after the – we became so unpopular, we actually lost police and the police refused to support, or attempt to support, integration, and keep the peace.