Second-year student Demetrious Jordan has been announced as the recipient of the Little Rock Nine Foundation scholarship at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.
The scholarship was established in 2013 by the Little Rock Nine in appreciation of President Bill Clinton and in recognition of the public service work performed by Clinton School students.
Saturday, September 25 will mark the 64th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, when nine African American students – Melba Pattillo Beals, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Terrence Roberts, Minnijean Brown Trickey, Thelma Mothershed Wair, and the late Jefferson Thomas – became known as the Little Rock Nine when they integrated Little Rock Central High School on September 25, 1957.
“I gladly accept the Little Rock Nine scholarship at a moment when I have decided to pursue a concurrent master’s program in both public service and social work,” Jordan said. “This comes just two years after sharing my story of being a homeless student, with the intent to invoke inspiration and courage in others.”
As a student at the University of Central Arkansas, Jordan overcame a series of challenges, including financial distress and homelessness, to earn his degree in psychology.
“While I can never compare to nor understand the magnitude of controversy and adversity the Little Rock Nine faced so many years ago, I can say that I am forever grateful, inspired, and honored to not only know of the miraculous story and the courageous individuals involved, but to now be a recipient of the scholarship that represents just that: courage and inspiration,” Jordan said. “Someone once said that courage isn’t not being afraid to do something, courage is being afraid and doing it anyways. The Little Rock Nine’s impact have been and will forever be the true definition of public service. Thank you.”
Jordan enrolled at the Clinton School in August 2020 and, during his first year, was part of a Practicum team that partnered with the Central Arkansas Library System to conduct a public opinion survey to measure local views and attitudes on homelessness, hunger, and poverty.
This year, Jordan is partnering with Legal Aid of Arkansas on his Capstone project. His work includes analyzing mortgage data for Little Rock to determine whether there are patterns of housing discrimination in lending. Based on an analysis of the data, Jordan will work with Legal Aid of Arkansas’ Fair Housing Test Coordinator to develop a strategy for testing lenders and financial institutions for Fair Housing Act violations.
“Demetrious’s story is inspiring and highlights his courage and determination,” Interim Dean Susan Hoffpauir said. “He puts that same energy into his public service work. Both his passion and his commitment embody the spirit of the Little Rock Nine, who sacrificed so much in the fight for justice.”
Jordan is a native of West Helena, Ark. Prior to enrolling at the Clinton School, his past work and volunteer experiences include time with the Thea Foundation, Bethlehem House, and the Boys & Girls Club.