Arkansas author to pledge to establish memorial in hometown

WABBASEKA — Author Jason Irby of North Little Rock will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Wabbaseka City Hall to announce his pledge to establish a memorial honoring Willie K. Hocker, Arkansas’ state flag, and the USS Arkansas battleship.

Hocker, a Wabbaseka teacher and poet, designed the flag to mark the commissioning of the battleship in 1912. The state Legislature made it the official state flag in 1913. Hocker is one of only two women in the United States who have had state flag designs adopted, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

Irby, a Wabbaseka native who attended an elementary/junior high school named in Hocker’s honor, said his pledge is part of his efforts to honor Hocker’s memory and to give something back to the community where he grew up.

“My hometown, Wabbaseka is really a special part of my life. I want to do my part to assure that the heritage of Wabbaseka and its people are remembered in Arkansas History.”

Irby pledges the first $500 to go toward the establishment of a memorial to honor Hocker, the Arkansas state flag, and the USS Arkansas to be placed in Wabbaseka Park.

More details about the memorial and how to contribute to it will be given at a later date.