Each morning, the Stars and Stripes and the Arkansas flag are proudly raised as symbols of the land. The Arkansas flag, however, is the product of one determined and creative school teacher, Willie Hocker. Hocker’s story is one of how even ordinary people can have a powerful impact on history.

Willie Kavanugh Hocker was born in July 1862 in central Kentucky. She was the youngest of eight children. Her father, a farmer, spent her youngest years fighting for the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1870, around the time of the death of her only brother, the family left Kentucky to start a new life in Arkansas, settling in Jefferson County.

They eventually settled near the small farming community of Wabbaseka, just a few miles northeast of Pine Bluff. Hocker had attended school briefl y in Kentucky and resumed her education once the family arrived in Arkansas. As a young woman, she briefly studied at the University of Virginia before enrolling at the University of Colorado.







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