Date of Graduation

Spring 2010


Master of Arts in History



Committee Chair

Brooks Blevins


school consolidation, Arkansas, Ozarks, rural reform, rural resistance

Subject Categories



This study examines the historical development and issues of rural school consolidation—an understudied yet important and community-changing aspect of rural American history—in the Arkansas Ozarks, primarily in the first half of the twentieth century. In a broader sense, it serves as a case study for the history of rural reform and local responses in a region and state that have been labeled through myth and stereotype as one of the most unprogressive areas of the United States. This study is especially concerned with resistance to school consolidation reform efforts and investigates the thoughts and attitudes of people toward school consolidation at the grass roots. It traces how school consolidation movements were carried out, the reasons for opposition, the degree and forms of opposition and resistance, and how reformers perceived the opposition. It concludes that opponents primarily resisted for practical and locally-specific reasons, and much less out of some impulsive fear of change stemming from local isolation and an unwavering commitment to rural traditions of local control as is too often imagined.


© James Blake Perkins

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