James Bland was Arkansas' eighth Employment Security Division Administrator. He served from May 16, 1955 until January 31, 1967. Director Bland was appointed by Governor Orval Faubus, and served the entire 12 years of the Faubus Administrations. Bland was the longest-serving ESD director in Arkansas history. He served under two Directors of the Arkansas Department of Labor: C.R. Thornbough, and Bill Laney.
Governor Orval Faubus made history with his stance against desegregation during the 1957 Central High Crisis. The war veteran and former northeast Arkansas teacher was considered by political historians as a brilliant politician who followed his voters lead, rather than breaking new political ground.