Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Learn about African American History-makers during Black History Month

Poster of Bass Reeves,
created as part of
Black History Month
African Americans have been and are major contributors to Arkansas and its unique history. Early records show African Americans were in the area that became Arkansas as early as 1721.

We recognize the astounding contributions African Americans have made and look forward to making that history readily available. Researchers can find information about African American history in Arkansas, including photographs, in our digital collections at archives.arkansas.gov or can visit us on location to see scrapbooks, photos, records, artifacts and more.

Events celebrating black history and culture will be underway throughout February as part of Black History Month.

The Black History Commission of Arkansas and Arkansas State Archives kicked off the month with a free symposium on “African American Soldiers in Wartime.” The Arkansas State Archives’ traveling exhibit, “Arkansas African American Legislators 1868-1893,” will be on display at the Brackett Library at Harding University from Feb. 3 to 26.

Meanwhile, our sister agency, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, has created historical posters featuring prominent African American Arkansans. More events are available on the MTCC Facebook page.

Black History Month is an important time to reflect and celebrate African American history and culture. The celebration began as a one-week event in 1926. By the late 1960s, it had become a monthlong observance on college campuses. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976. Since then, every U.S. president has officially designated February as Black History Month.

Make sure to check out the Black History Month posters on MTCC’s website. For more information about African American history in Arkansas or on how to start a genealogy research project, contact the Arkansas State Archives at 501-682-6900 or state.archives@arkansas.gov.