In 1958, in this stately antebellum home, seventy-six-year-old Adolphine Fletcher Terry helped to organize the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools (WEC). Always involved in civic activities, she was dismayed that the four high schools in Little Rock remained closed rather than become integrated.
Mrs. Terry told Arkansas Gazette editor Harry Ashmore that “It’s clear to me that the men are not going to take the lead in turning this thing around and so the women are going to have to.” She organized the Women’s Emergency Committee. When segregationist school board members tried to fire fortyfour teachers and administrators who supported integration in the public schools, the WEC worked with a group of businessmen who had organized a Stop This Outrageous Purge (STOP) campaign to elect new school board members who favored integration. High schools were reopened with token integration in August 1959. The WEC operated in secret because of concerns about harassment or worse.
In 1998, on the fortieth anniversary of its founding, the names of WEC members were released for the first time. Those names are now etched in the window panes of the house.
The house is now the property of the Arkansas Arts Center. In 2004 it became the Arkansas Arts Center Terry House Community Gallery, a multi-purpose gallery that features local and regional showings.