Thank you for the excellent article on "The Hill." When I looked at the picture of the Nyberg building, although I had not seen it in 50 years, that facade had a solid place within the memories of my childhood. My dad was a patient at "the San", as we called the tuberculosis sanatorium at Booneville, from 1939 until he came home in the fall of 1949 to die at home rather than in the soulless rooms and hallways of Nyberg. He was in and out of the hospital many times following his initial stay of three years. At one time, in the mid-40s, his two sisters and a nephew were also patients in Nyberg.
My grandfather blamed himself for their disease because he thought the source was from a cow he purchased that was tubercular. Since my mom did not have a car, it was my grandfather who would take us to Booneville. I remembered those trips as really difficult. We would leave Stuttgart in the early morning to go to Booneville, stay for several hours and repeat the trip back home. The twists and turns of the roads and the dust and grime were all part of the experience; however, Nyberg seemed to always loom before us.
As the article reflected, the building was formidable. One of the signs on the lawn really expressed the tragedy of the place: Do Not Expectorate On The Grass. I appreciated the article and the care with which it was presented; however, I was not prepared for the sad memories that it revived.
Dr. Jim Robnolt
I am offering a few more details to supplement David Koon's excellent article on the state tuberculosis sanatorium at Booneville.
Gov. George W. Donaghey was a strong supporter of the tuberculosis sanitarium and had recommended its creation to the Arkansas General Assembly in his inaugural address on Jan. 14, 1909. Donaghey, like many Arkansans, had lost a sister and other family members to TB.
Even though Donaghey had to make drastic cuts in the 1909 state budget since revenues had declined, an economic situation similar to today, he spared the TB appropriation from any cuts.
At the dedication ceremony for the sanatorium on Sept. 1,1909, approximately 1,500 people attended, and Donaghey, who gave the dedicatory address, promised to keep an eye on the project to help it become "one of the best institutions of this kind in this country."
Cal Ledbetter Jr.
UALR-Emeritus Professor of Political Science
It is unfortunate that David Koon did not mention that the sanatorium at Booneville was a segregated facility. Though the Thomas C. McRae Sanatorium for Negroes in Alexander was completed in 1930, "within a matter of days, the waiting list numbered in the hundreds," and never provided enough beds for black patients. In his inaugural message during his third term in 1959, Orval Faubus admitted there was still a waiting list for blacks at McRae.
Nobody knows how many black Arkansans with tuberculosis died for lack of treatment, but white supremacy often meant death for blacks, not just segregation. It took litigation, completed in 1966, to get a federal judge to order admission to the Booneville facility of Arkansas citizens without regard to creed or color.
Correct Pryor record
Your recent editorial regarding the influence of organized labor on Arkansas politics (or their lack of influence) contained a substantial factual error.
You asserted that David Pryor lost an election with labor support, but won, only after he became a "labor baiter."
In truth and in fact (please pardon the redundancy) he did lose the 1972 Senate race to Senator McClellan, and Pryor was vigorously supported by organized labor in that race. He won the governor's race in 1974 — again with the vigorous support of organized labor.
Organized labor was angered when he called out the National Guard during a fireman's strike in Pine Bluff, while Pryor was governor.
While his labor support may have never again been as uniform as it had been before, labor did support him in some of his subsequent races; and, to my memory, Pryor never did any "labor baiting," as I understand that phrase.
You can look it up.
There were many vacant judgeships during the Clinton Administration. Then-Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch and his fellow Republicans wouldn't hold hearings for many of President Clinton's nominees. Elena Kagan's nomination was one of them. When President Obama nominated her for the U.S. Supreme Court, what was the Republicans' chief objection? She has no judicial experience.
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