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A former director of tourism in Arkansas will speak at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock today about some of the lesser-known aspects of the state.

The speaker, Joe David Rice, is the author of Arkansas Backstories: Quirks, Characters, and Curiosities of the Natural State. A companion volume to the book -- More Arkansas Backstories -- will be published by Butler Center Books next spring.

He spent about 30 years as the state's tourism director, starting in that role during the administration of Gov. Bill Clinton. Rice, born in Paragould and raised in Jonesboro, retired as tourism director on Dec. 31.

The book touches on topics such as:

• The first black presidential candidate was from Arkansas.

• An Arkansan formally challenged John F. Kennedy for the Democratic Party's nomination in 1960.

• There is evidence that Abraham Lincoln lived for a time in northeast Arkansas.

Rice will speak at noon in Sturgis Hall, the former Choctaw Railway station on the grounds of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park at 1200 President Clinton Ave. The program will last about an hour. Afterward, Rice will sign books.

Admission is free and open to the public. Reserved seats are available by emailing or by calling (501) 683-5239

Live-streaming is available at

The speech, like all Clinton School lecture series events, will be archived and available for later viewing at

Metro on 10/05/2018

Print Headline: LR talk to cover few quirky topics

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