‘The mind once enlightened can never again become dark,” wrote Thomas Paine generations ago. Progress in education has been an important feature of the development of the United States as it steadily moved to become an economic and scientific leader. Arkansas faced a difficult transition as it attempted to develop its school system in the twentieth century. One of the key leaders in Arkansas education was Arch Ford, the former state education commissioner.
Archibald Washington Ford was born in the small Faulkner County community of Wooster in 1906. The importance of education was emphasized to him at an early age. His father, Rev. Thomas Noah Ford, was a Baptist minister, farmer, and a leader in public education in Faulkner County in the early 1900s. He served on the Wooster School Board and later on the Faulkner County Board of Education.