Joe David Rice – “Arkansas Backstories: Quirks, Characters, and Curiosities of the Natural State”

Joe David Rice – “Arkansas Backstories: Quirks, Characters, and Curiosities of the Natural State”

Joe David Rice

10.5.2018

Joe David Rice

Joe David Rice is a native Arkansas and spent 37 years with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. He, for 30 years, served as its director. In his time with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Rice served 5 Arkansas Governors—Bill Clinton, Jim Guy Tucker, Mike Huckabee, Mike Beebee, and Asa Hutchinson.  Rice was born in Paragould and lived in Melbourne, Jonesboro, and Little Rock in his youth. He graduated from McClellan High School In 1970. Rice attended the University of Arkansas, and obtained his Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois.

Rice is using his retirement to continue to celebrate Arkansas and what the state has to offer. His new book, Arkansas Backstories, a collection of stories about the lesser-known aspects of Arkansas was published by The Butler Center in August. A companion volume—More Arkansas Backstories— will be published in the spring of 2019.

Arkansas is a complex place – part Old South, part Old West, and part traditional hill country – that has shared an amazing array of people and products with the world. Even so, much of what makes Arkansas so special remains largely unrecognized.

“Arkansas Backstories” highlights the lesser-known aspects of America’s twenty-fifth state. The short essays in this illustrated book will offer surprises for even the most dedicated and devoted students of the state. How many readers, for instance, realize that the first African-American presidential candidate was from Arkansas? Or that an Arkansan candidate formally challenged John F. Kennedy for the Democratic Party’s nomination in 1960? Or that there’s good evidence that Abraham Lincoln lived for a time in northeast Arkansas, chopping wood for a plantation owner?

The book will delight any and all interested in Arkansas. The companion volume to this book — “More Arkansas Backstories” — will be published by Butler Center Books in the spring of 2019.

Joe David Rice, born in Paragould and reared in Jonesboro, is a well-known and respected resource on all things Arkansas. Rice served as Arkansas’s tourism director for thirty years, working under five governors. He enjoys exploring the Arkansas countryside and unearthing those lesser-known tidbits that make the Natural State so special.

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