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Williams Hosts African American Legislators Exhibit

1/30/2018

Arkansas African American Legislators, 1868-1893, a free traveling exhibit produced by the Arkansas State Archives and Black History Commission of Arkansas, will be displayed at Williams Baptist College on Feb. 6-18.  The display will be open for viewing during the hours of: Mon. - Thurs., 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Fri., 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sat. 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.; and Sun., 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Arkansas African American Legislators, 1868-1893 tells the story of the 85 African Americans who served in the Arkansas General Assembly in the 19th century. After the Civil War, Arkansas adopted a new constitution in 1868 and its provisions included the right to vote and hold public office for black males. African American lawyers, merchants, ministers, educators, farmers, and other professionals served in the Arkansas General Assembly. Photographs of 46 of the 85 legislators are an integral part of the display.  Also featured is a complete listing of the legislators and a short history of post-Civil War and election law “reforms” that effectively ended African Americans’ election to legislative positions until the 1970s.

The mission of the Black History Commission of Arkansas is to collect black historical materials for the Arkansas State Archives; to encourage research in Arkansas black history; and to cooperate with the Arkansas Department of Education in the development of African American historical materials for use in public schools. The BHCA produces exhibits, hosts seminars, offers free educational material on African American history and administers the Curtis H. Sykes Memorial Grant Program to fund projects related to African American history in Arkansas.

Founded in 1905, the Arkansas State Archives is dedicated to collecting and preserving the documentary history of Arkansas. The Arkansas State Archives is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and shares the goal of all eight Department of Arkansas Heritage agencies, that of preserving and enhancing the heritage of the state of Arkansas. The agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Arkansas State Archives, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, and the Old State House Museum. To learn more about the Arkansas State Archives and the Black History Commission of Arkansas visit http://archives.arkansas.gov.

The public is invited to view the exhibit.  For more information about the exhibit at Williams, contact the Felix Goodson Library at 870-759-4139 or email jolive@wbcoll.edu.

Williams is a Christian, liberal arts college located in Walnut Ridge.  It will officially become Williams Baptist University in July.


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