September 22, 2010
John Little, OBU director of estate and gift planning, recently had an article published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal. Their theme for the Aug. 7, 2010, edition was “Oklahoma Legal History,” discussing some of the most intriguing law cases from Oklahoma.
Little’s article was titled “Textbooks, Trolleys and Tribunals: Separation of Church and State in Early Oklahoma.”
Little began his college education after marrying OBU alum Virginia Franks Little. The Littles have been married for 42 years and have two grown children, Christopher and Theresa. Little received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1969. He went on to study law through night classes at Oklahoma City University, graduating with his juris doctorate in 1973. Following a longtime desire to teach history, Little returned to college and earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1997.
“It’s an act of love for me when I get a chance to teach or write about history,” Little said.
His employment has been based largely on government and tax work. He has worked for the State Insurance Fund, the Oklahoma Tax Commission, and the Oklahoma State Board of Affairs and also as a practicing certified public accountant. At OBU he serves as the coordinator of gift planning and as a member of the OBU board of trustees.
While working to attain his master’s degree, Little wrote a thesis about the first amendment. The thesis won the Oklahoma Historical Society’s award for best master’s thesis on Oklahoma history in 1997. His article in the Bar Journal was based on his award-winning work.
This thesis discusses the famous Everson v. Board of Education case which the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1947.
“Charles West, Oklahoma’s attorney general from statehood until 1915, may have the distinction of being the nation’s only public attorney to ever represent a Catholic school as an official act of his office,” Little wrote in the article. “By doing so, he likely also participated in the first case involving separation issues in the transportation of children to a sectarian school decided by a high court in any state of the nation.”
Little said the opportunity arose to write the article for the Oklahoma Bar Journal because he took the initiative to tell the editor he had an inspiring case people should know about. He said it provides personal satisfaction to see part of his research in print.