Historic Washington State Park Hosts African American Legislators Exhibit



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 Historic Washington State Park in Washington, Arkansas on October 21 – December 15 from 8 a.m.—5 p.m. daily at the 1874 Courthouse Visitor Center. 

Arkansas African American Legislators, 1868-1893 tells the story of the eighty-six 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 forty-six of the eighty-six 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”.

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 Arkansas Heritage. The mission of Arkansas Heritage, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, is to identify Arkansas’s heritage and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors by the discovery, preservation and presentation of the state’s natural, cultural and historic resources. This is accomplished through the work of eight divisions: Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum. To learn more about the Arkansas State Archives and the Black History Commission of Arkansas visit http://archives.arkansas.gov.  

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