Welcome to the website of the Greater Little Rock Bahá’í community, serving Pulaski, Saline, Lonoke and Faulkner counties! Bahá’ís live in several localities in the area with the largest communities in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Conway. We are a diverse community dedicated to creating a peaceful and prosperous world civilization through spiritual and community development.
Greater Little Rock Bahá’í History
The Bahá’í Faith has been present in the Little Rock area since the 1920s when it was introduced by Gertrude Gerwetz of New York City and Reszi Sunshine of Hungary. The first local Spiritual Assembly of Little Rock (a Bahá’í community’s administrative body composed of nine elected members) was formed in 1943. From mid-1940 to the late 1960s, public meetings were often held by the Bahá’í community at the Hotel Lafayette on a diverse number of topics, including Christianity, interfaith affairs, race discrimination and world peace. In 1973, the Little Rock Bahá’í Center at 511 N. Pine Street was purchased and became a gathering place for the community.
Since its inception in the 1920s, the Greater Little Rock Bahá’í community has been committed to upholding our principles, such as gender equality, universal peace, and race unity.
Even during the years of the 1950s and 1960s when the atmosphere of Little Rock was charged with racial discrimination and animosity, Bahá’ís held racially integrated meetings in their homes and public observances of Race Amity Day (renamed Race Unity Day in 1957). From its founding in Little Rock, the community has been firm in its belief that wherever there is inequality and injustice, all of society is harmed and that everyone is responsible for working for a just society free from racial and other prejudices. We have continued to work within the region for the cause of race unity, including cooperating with the City of Little Rock on “Healing Racism” workshops, joining Just Communities of Arkansas in its annual “Walk for CommUNITY,” and participation in the 50th anniversary observance of the 1957 events at Little Rock Central High School.
The Greater Little Rock Bahá’í community has also worked diligently to champion the cause of universal peace in order to help build a peaceful and prosperous world civilization. Beginning in the 1950s, we have held observances of World Peace Day and United Nations Day in the Little Rock area. In addition to our other interfaith efforts, we have also regularly observed World Religion Day to highlight the oneness of all the world’s major religions.
The 1970s and 1980s saw a period of growth for the community in Central Arkansas in which new communities were created in localities surrounding the City of Little Rock.
Beginning first in the 1990s and now carrying into the 21st-century, our community has become more and more concerned with spiritual community building. We believe that the social change needed in the world starts with spirituality – individuals unlocking their soul’s desire for service to humanity and working alongside others for the good of their neighborhoods and communities. Our Bahá’í community has transformed into a workshop open to all for hands-on learning about the process of spiritual community building through: