April 18, 2024

Arkansas Delta Informer – Sept. 12, 2022 – The Black History Commission of Arkansas recently awarded Curtis H. Sykes grants for four projects around Arkansas. The projects awarded are:

  • Sharing Poetry with the Masses – The Elmer Beard Literary Project of Hot Springs was awarded $3,500 for the distribution of a book of poetry, “Let Reason Roll: Race, Religion & Reflections.” The funds will help EBLP distribute 750 complimentary copies to municipal, church and university/school libraries throughout Arkansas, as well as African American libraries and museum gift shops throughout the country.
  • Remote/Virtual Repository of African American History on the Banks of Bayou Bartholomew – This project was awarded $3,500 to help build a fence around the Syrene Missionary Baptist Church Memorial Garden cemetery in Pickens, Ark. to help preserve and protect the headstones and grave sites of African Americans and their descendants buried there.
  • Curating the Legacy of John H. Johnson – The John H. Johnson Museum in Arkansas City was awarded $3,500 to produce literature, such as brochures, postcards and education resources, to promote the life and legacy of Arkansas-born, African American publisher John H. Johnson, the creator of Ebony and Jet magazines.
  • Deep Roots Preservation Project – This project was awarded $3,500 to jumpstart a research mentorship program that sends interns through the process of research and writing training to tell stories of Black Arkansas history in Helena-West Helena.

The Black History Commission of Arkansas, which is now housed in the Arkansas Department of Heritage,  is affiliated with and advises the Arkansas State Archives. The Commission has a mission to collect materials on Arkansas’s Black history and history-makers. The Commission works to raise awareness of the contributions and impact Black Arkansans have had on the state’s history. The BHCA sponsors two annual symposiums devoted to Black history in February and June and administers a grant program that provides support for preservation and public programming projects related to Arkansas’s Black history. 

The Curtis H. Sykes Memorial Grant Program has a mission to support African American historic and historical preservation and public programming projects in Arkansas. Grants are awarded year-round and past projects include historical research, exhibits, workshops, publications, oral history interviews, documentary films, and cemetery preservation and documentation

The next meeting of the BHCA will be at noon, Thursday, Nov. 17, on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. The meeting will also be available via Zoom. For more information, contact Tatyana Oyinloye, African American history coordinator for the Arkansas State Archives, at tatyana.oyinloye@arkansas.gov or 501-681-6892.


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