Charles Blake (Arkansas politician)

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Charles Jamaal Blake

Arkansas State Representative
for District 36
In office
January 2015 – 2019
Preceded by Darrin Williams
Succeeded by Denise Ennett

Born April 18, 1983
Little Rock, Arkansas
Political party Democrat
Residence Little Rock
Alma mater Little Rock Central High School

Grinnell College

Occupation Businessman
Religion Baptist

Charles and Elizabeth Blake

Charles Jamaal Blake (born April 18, 1983)[1][2] is a Democratic former state representative for District 36 in the capital city of Little Rock, Arkansas in a portion of Pulaski County. [3]


An African-American, Blake is a graduate of Little Rock Central High School, known for the 1957 desegregation case, and Grinnell College, in Grinnell, Iowa, from which he holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science. He is a small businessman and the chairman of the South Main Street Board in Little Rock. He also chairs the holiday committee for Daisy Bates, the civil rights activist from Little Rock who died in 1999. He is a director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America for Central Arkansas.[3]

Blake is affiliated with the Baptist Church, specific denomination unavailable.[3] There is another Charles Blake, Charles Edward Blake, Sr. (born in Little Rock in 1940), the presiding Bishop of the African-American Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal denomination, and a pastor in Los Angeles, California. It is unclear if this bishop is related to Representative Blake.

Political life

In 2014, Blake won the Democratic nomination by 103 votes over two intraparty rivals, Sheena Lewis and Rodney Hall, for the House District 36 seat vacated by the term-limited Democrat, Darrin Williams.[4] He sits on these committees: (1) Transportation Committee and (2) City, County, and Local Affairs.[3]

In February 2015, Blake was among twenty legislators who opposed House Bill 1228, authored byconservative Republican Bob Ballinger of Carroll County in northwestern Arkansas.[5] The measure sought to prohibit government from imposing a burden on the free exercise of religion.[6] Blake's colleague, Representative Camille Bennett, a one-term Democrat from Lonoke, called for a reworking of the legislation[7] on the theory that the Ballinger bill would establish a "type of religious litmus test" which could impact nearly any law under consideration by the legislature.[5] The legislation was subsequently passed by a large margin in the House and signed into law in revised form, SB 975, by Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson.[8]

In the 2015 legislative session, Blake joined with the Republican Nate Bell of Mena in an unsuccessful effort to sever Martin Luther King Day and the Robert E. Lee holiday, which are both observed in Arkansas on the third Monday of January. Bell proposed that Lee's holiday be transferred to November 30, a "Southern Heritage Day" to correspond with the birthday of a Confederate States of America Army general from eastern Arkansas, Patrick Cleburne, who was killed in the American Civil War in Franklin, Alabama and Mississippi also observe a combined King-Lee Day. Representative Representative Trevor Drown of Dover in Pope County said that Arkansas should remain unique and not copy the majority of states on the issue because "it's our heritage."[9]


  1. Charles Jamaal Blake. intelius. Retrieved on April 16, 2015.
  2. Charles Blake Facebook Page, April 27, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Charles Blake. Retrieved on April 16, 2015; information no longer accessible on-line.
  4. District 36. Retrieved on April 15, 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Opponents of Religious Freedom Bill Point Out Law Differences, Possible Unintended Consequences," Fox Channel 16 (Little Rock), date=April 1, 2015.
  6. HB 1228. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on November 27, 2020.
  7. "Indiana, Arkansas try to stem religious objections uproar," Atlantic Broadband, April 3, 2015.}}
  8. "Gov. Hutchinson signs revised religious freedom bill; HB 1228 recalled," KTHV-TV), April 2, 2015.
  9. Elahe Izadi (January 29, 2015). Why Arkansas still won’t stop celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee on the same day. The Washington Post. Retrieved on November 27, 2020.