A Second Language

A six-part narrative podcast about how a church in Little Rock, Arkansas, has tried to live out its mission amid a changing culture

Release date: August 23, 2023

How does a church live out its mission amid a changing culture?


“A Second Language” from Good Faith Media is a six-part narrative podcast about Second Baptist Church in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, and how its location and leadership have shaped its witness.

Founded in 1884, the church grew as a hub for powerful religious and political personalities on local, state and national levels. Its influence touched on major issues of the day, including alcohol and race.

A turning point for the church occurred in 1957 during the city’s integration crisis, when the church’s Rev. Dale Cowling and Congressman Brooks Hays were seen as too soft on the race issue.

The church continued to evolve, leading on some critical issues while avoiding others, all in the context of rapid cultural change.

The podcast is a story about a mostly white Baptist church in the South and what its experience can teach us about life and death, hypocrisy and honesty, faith and fear – the risk and reward — of talking about hard things.

“A Second Language” includes interviews with church leaders and members, historians, interfaith friends and community leaders, as well as archival material.

Episode 1: Seal the Lips

Episode 2: All of This Just Speaks

Episode 3: Nimrod

Episode 4: The Nerve to Say

Episode 5: Lunar Soil

Episode 6: Words That Unite Us

“A Second Language” was written, produced and narrated by Cliff Vaughn of Good Faith Media. The executive producer was Mitch Randall. Please like, rate and share the podcast.  The music comes from Pond5.  Learn more at GoodFaithMedia.org.

Thanks to our interviewees: Kwami Abdul-Bey, Lani Allenbaugh, Rebecca  Cowling, Preston Clegg, Chris Ellis, Wendell Griffen, Stephanie Harp, Eric Higgins, Ray Higgins, John Kirk, Gene Levy, Jim and Gayle Maloch, Jenna Sullivan and Sara Tariq.

Special thanks to: Starlette Thomas, who hosts “The Raceless Gospel” podcast  from Good Faith Media – and to Cally Chisholm for the artwork.

Huge thanks to Kevin and Angie Heifner. And thank you to the following:

Lisa Speer and Taylor Lawson at the Ouachita Baptist University Archives

Taffey Hall at the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives

Carolyn Wilson in the Special Collections Research Center at the William & Mary Libraries

Casiday Long in Special Collections at the University of Arkansas

Jim Pfeifer

Sandra Hubbard

Billie and Marc Heflin

Patrick Fleming and Debbie Huff

Marquis Hunt

Joe and Charlotte Jeffers

Connie New

Community Bakery in downtown Little Rock

David Rice and everyone at the Bramble Market

If you’re interested in learning more history about Little Rock and Arkansas, visit the fabulous EncyclopediaOfArkansas.net, a project of the Central Arkansas Library System. Other helpful resources:

Online Resource: Encyclopedia of Arkansas ~ https://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/

Organization: Arkansas Peace & Justice Memorial Movement ~ https://apjmm.org/

Organization: Second Baptist Church ~ https://2bclr.com/

Archive: Southern Baptist Historical Library & Archives ~ https://sbhla.org

Archive: Ouachita Baptist University Archives and Special Collections ~ https://obu.edu/archives/

Article: Power from the Pedestal: The Women’s Emergency Committee and the Little Rock School Crisis by Lorraine Gates (The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, 2007)

Article: The Arkansas Baptist State Convention and Desegregation, 1954-1968 by Mark Newman (The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, 1997)

Book: The Long Shadow of Little Rock: A Memoir by Daisy Bates (1962)

Book: A Southern Moderate Speaks by Brooks Hays (1959)

Book: Politics Is My Parish: An Autobiography by Brooks Hays (1981)

Book: This World: a Christian’s Workshop by Brooks Hays (1958)

Book: Beyond Little Rock: The Origins and Legacies of the Central High Crisis by John A. Kirk (2007)

Book: Redefining the Color Line: Black Activism in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1940-1970 by John A. Kirk (2002)

Book: The Embattled Ladies of Little Rock: 1958-1963, The Struggle to Save Public Education at Central High by Vivion Lenon Brewer (1997)

Book: The Wild Ass of the Ozarks: Jeff Davis and the Social Bases of Southern Politics by Raymond Arsenault (1988)

Documentary: The Lost Year by Sandra Hubbard (2007) ~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxpQaO-W-HE