|Photo Courtesy of Ricky Lattimore|
Pastor Ricky Lattimore, of McGehee, is the newest member of the Black History Commission of Arkansas.
“I want to make sure that we as a community know our black history and know it is also American history,” Lattimore said. “We all need to know about history regardless of race. We have to know where we came from to know where we are heading. I just want to make sure that history never loses its purpose.”
The seven-member commission is appointed by the governor and meets quarterly. The Black History Commission, which sponsors educational events and administers a grant program related to black history, is dedicated to preserving Arkansas’s black history and educating people about it. The commission meets next at noon Thursday, Aug. 1, at the Department of Arkansas Heritage.
Lattimore, whose term will expire Jan. 14, 2026, replaces Myron Jackson. Commission Chairman Carla Coleman welcomed Lattimore as the newly appointed member and said she hoped he is ready to commit to "the charge to educate and inspire” the people of Arkansas.
Lattimore was born in McGehee and has lived there his entire life, except for the three years he spent in the military. He ran as a Republican against Rep. Mark McElroy in 2017 but lost the race in a three-way election. He is now Chairman of the GOP for the district covering Chicot County to the Missouri line.
Lattimore has a long history as a presenter, teacher, politician, advocate and minister. He lives by his favorite quote: “If there is no struggle, there is no progress,” by Frederick Douglass.
Lattimore has been a pastor for 24 years and ministers at the Tabernacle Baptist Church. He has 16-plus years of experience working with at-risk youth and as an expert in gangs and other criminal organizations. He is a liaison and gang expert for law enforcement and the juvenile court system, where he worked for 10 years. He ministers in prisons, specifically at the Delta Regional Unit. He also operates programs to help people have food, house goods and clothing.
“I’m involved in a whole lot,” Lattimore said. His mission in life is to help people from all different backgrounds – “the haves and have nots” – and to be a public servant, he said.
“I’m compassionate toward all people regardless of race,” Lattimore said. “I like to see everyone treated fairly and their needs met. I just have a compassionate heart for people – that’s my daily life, making sure people are helped and treated fairly.”
Lattimore is interested in all aspects of his community. He is part of the disaster relief team for Chicot and surrounding counties, was a McGehee city councilman for four terms and is part of the Delta Regional Economic Advancement Mission, which works to improve the quality of life and economy of communities in the Delta region.
He has been married 38 years to his wife Judy and has three adult children: Tamara, 33, Andre, 35, and Ricky, 37.
As part of the Black History Commission, Lattimore plans to see how and what black history is taught in public schools. He said he is interested in continuing to preserve black history and making sure people learn from the past because history influences and informs the present.
“Our history made us who we are today,” he said. “If you don’t know your history, you are doomed to repeat it.”