What is a creed?
A creed is one or more basic beliefs that attempt to express values. In the case of a state creed, these can be the values by which the citizens of a state choose to be recognized or known. These fundamental beliefs can also serve as guiding principles for citizens.
I believe in Arkansas as a land of opportunity and promise.
I believe in the rich heritage of Arkansas and I honor the men and women who created this heritage.
I believe in the youth of Arkansas who will build our future.
I am proud of my state, I will uphold its constitution, obey its laws, and work for the good of all
The majority of the information that we have about the Arkansas Creed all comes from the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. We are currently working to obtain copies of documents and newspaper articles that can serve as additional sources.
According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, the idea to establish an official creed for the state originated with an Arkansas Creed Selection Commission established by House Concurrent Resolution No. 2 adopted in 1969.
The Creed Commission, headed by state historian Dr. John Ferguson and "composed of prominent people in our State and acting under the direction of House Concurrent Resolution No. 2," established rules for and sponsored a creed writing contest to engage Arkansas citizens in the process of selecting an official creed for the state.
The contest deadline for submission was set; February 1, 1970. This was later extended to May 1.
winnowed the field of submissions from ninety-one to thirteen possibilities. Further consideration narrowed that list to three, but committee members and others that had been recruited to help with the process, were never really satisfied with any of the submissions and, following earlier precedent, the committee decided to write their own version, incorporating some of the best ideas from the array of contest submissions.
Dr. John Ferguson took on the task of composing the creed.
Dr. Ferguson's composition was approved by the entire committee on April 26, 1971 and two copies were forwarded to Governor Dale Bumpers for his consideration along with a written statement regarding the selection. In part:
"The Committee held a public contest but none of the 91 entries was considered satisfactory. The Committee then drew up a creed which was adopted at a meeting of April 26, 1972."
The Arkansas Creed, as composed by Dr. John Ferguson, was made public on August 1, 1972 and was accompanied by a statement from Governor Bumpers that said, in part,
"I believe in Arkansas as a land of opportunity and promise. I believe in the rich heritage of Arkansas and I honor the men and women who created this heritage. I believe in the youth of Arkansas who will build our future. I am proud of my state. I will uphold its constitution, obey its laws, and work for the good of all its citizens."
Arkansas Secretary of State, Arkansas Online Activity Book [PDF], (9 October 2007)
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.