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Black History Professor Suing University of Arkansas at Little Rock Posts Resignation Letter

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Dr. Brian Mitchell, soon-to-be-former history professor at the University of Arkansas at Little RockDr. Brian Mitchell, soon-to-be-former history professor at the University of Arkansas at Little RockUniversity of Arkansas at Little RockAt the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), Dr. Brian Mitchell, a Black tenured history professor, has resigned less than a year after filing a lawsuit in July against UALR, alleging discrimination because of his race and age.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Mitchell, 53, last Friday shared a lengthy resignation letter with UALR faculty through an email listserv. Mitchell came to the university as an adjunct professor in 2006, then he became a full-time, tenure-track assistant professor of history in 2015. Last year, UALR awarded Mitchell tenure.

His scholarship centers on the 1919 Elaine Massacre in Phillips County, Arkansas. During these attacks, white mobs killed hundreds of Black residents in the county after Black sharecroppers and tenant formers began organizing for better working conditions. Mitchell's resignation letter includes allegations of unfair treatment by UALR administrators, whom he compares at one point to "Phillips County's plantation owners."

"Like the plantation owners, the university's administration has operated clandestinely in the shadows hiding their faces while committing dastardly deeds under the cover of their official positions," stated Mitchell in his letter.

When asked about the resignation, a UALR spokesperson told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the university does not comment on personnel matters.

Attorneys with the University of Arkansas System have also filed a motion to dismiss Mitchell's lawsuit, stating in court documents that his claims do not show "a material disadvantage or change in employment conditions."

According to his resignation letter, Mitchell's last day will be June 10. 

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