Little Rock Central High 1957-59 and Beyond: A Black and a White Perspective

Little Rock Central High 1957-59 and Beyond: A Black and a White Perspective

John Kane

2.7.2019

John Kane

John Kane is a Northerner by birth, upbringing and life experience.  He attended Phillips Andover Academy with Johnny  and then Yale University with Henry.  Though he too became a lawyer, attending Georgetown Law School in Washington DC,, his post-college career has repeatedly delved into education, starting with a one-year stint teaching American History to a multi-racial class of 7th graders as a Vista Volunteer in Kansas City, and continuing on as a federal law clerk for Judge W. Arthur Garrity in Boston, when in the early 1970s  Judge Garrity drew the case that ultimately led to the desegregation of the Boston schools.  After clerking for yet another federal judge - Judge James Browning on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, John commenced a 33-year career at the renowned Boston law firm, Ropes & Gray. 
    As many of you may know, since 2002, Helena, Arkansas has been  home to  KIPP Delta Public Schools - free, open-enrollment public charter schools.   Since 2009, John has volunteered full time at KIPP Academy Lynn and KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate High School - both public charter schools in Lynn, Massachusetts. 

John Bilheimer

  John "Johnny" Bilheimer, grew up and attended public schools in Little Rock through the 9th grade.  But as a result of the 1957-59 Central High School crisis, he left the State to attend a private high school , Phillips Andover Academy, in Massachusetts - where he met our third speaker, John Kane. 
       Johnny returned to Arkansas for college, graduating from the University of Arkansas before returning to Massachusetts for Law School, graduating from Harvard in 1970.  He then came back to Arkansas, starting his legal career as Judge Eisele's very first law clerk, before entering private law practice in Little Rock - handling a large number of civil rights cases.  In 1987, Johnny  moved to Washington, DC, where he has handled tax litigation as a lawyer for the United States Department of Justice.  In May of 2019, Johnny will retire from the practice of law - just shy of 50 years as a licensed lawyer.

Henry Jones

Judge Henry Jones, Jr., grew up In Little Rock, attending grade school and secondary school here  before leaving the State in the early 1960s to attend undergrad at Yale and Law School at Michigan.  He then returned to Little Rock to serve a federal court clerkship with the legendary Judge G. Thomas Eisele*.  Then, starting in 1974, he worked in private practice at two (somewhat related) prestigious civil rights-oriented Little Rock law firms before being appointed as a United States Magistrate Judge in Arkansas, a position he held for over 30 years.  He then moved to Washington DC, where he currently works as a mediator for The McCammon Group.  Throughout his career, Judge Jones has served on numerous boards and commissions  

John Bilheimer and Henry Jones bring the civil rights movement to life, offering a first-hand account of what life was like for a black teen and a white teen in the Deep South in the late 1950s.
Bilheimer, who is white, and Jones, who is black, discuss their experiences growing up in Little Rock during the height of the battle over school desegregation from 1957-1959. The two grew up near one another before leaving the state to pursue their education. Billheimer earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Arkansas and Harvard University; Jones attended Yale University and the University of Michigan. The pair did not meet until adulthood while working at Arkansas’ first integrated law firm.