Thursday, February 21, 2019

African Americans and Sports in Arkansas

More than 50 people attended the Black History Commission of Arkansas event, "African Americans and Sports in Arkansas,” this past Feb. 2 at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.

The event, which was held as part of Black History Month, drew young and old, including families and teachers. People listened to special speakers talk about the history of sports and African Americans in our state. 

Some speakers also talked about their personal experiences. Dr. Wilbert Gaines sang songs related to his struggles and showed the audience a cotton sack his mother used to pick cotton.
Families listen to special speakers lecture Feb. 2 

Dr. Gaines became one of the first African American faculty members at Arkansas State University. During the event, he spoke about overcoming obstacles while keeping a kind heart.

"Receiving starts with giving," Dr. Gaines told the crowd.

Author Jimmy Cunningham, Jr., also gave a passionate speech on the struggle of African American athletes from Jefferson County, including Boid “One Arm” Buie. He described how Buie overcame multiple obstacles, including losing his arm, to become a world-famous basketball star.

“Right will win over the long term” Cunningham said.

Muskie Harris, a former Razorback football star, signed autographs and talked about his experiences as one of the first African American football players recruited by the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. Harris said success takes discipline and work.

Harris also encouraged the audience to talk with African American youths about more than sports. Children have the option to grow up and become doctors, lawyers, architects and more, but they often don’t think about it, Harris said.

A full-length video of all the speakers is available online or visit our Facebook event page to see slideshows, articles, discussions and more.