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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Lewis to receive Oakley Award

The Association for Gravestone Studies will present the Oakley Certificate of Merit Award to University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor of history Dr. Johanna Miller Lewis, along with three other Arkansans on Thursday.

Dr. Johanna Lewis, UALRLewis and the others will be honored at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Reception Room of the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History at 503 E. Ninth St. in Little Rock.

The award is for work that fosters appreciation of the cultural significance of gravestones and burying grounds through study and preservation. The event is free and open to the public.

Lewis, who also serves as associate dean of the UALR Graduate School, began a project to stabilize and restore Rohwer cemetery markers at the former Japanese Internment Camp in Desha County upon receipt of a 2011 National Park Service grant.

She started working on the cemetery with architect John Greer in 2003 with another Park Service grant for $35,000.

UA-Fayetteville History Professor Kimball Erdman will also be recognized. Erdman worked with Lewis at the Rohwer Relocation Center Cemetery.

Erdman’s landscape architecture class prepared a Historic American Landscape Survey, including measured drawings, photography, and a written history of Rohwer.

Carla Hines Coleman and Tamela Tenpenny-Lewis, co-founders of Preservation of African American Cemeteries Inc., are the other two recipients. They worked with schools and other groups to identify, document, and conserve African-American cemeteries in the state.

Lewis and Erdman collaborated with Arkansas State University Heritage Sites program to use maps and research in their interpretation for site visitors and with the UALR’s Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies to prepare a laser 3-D scan of the site.

“This has very much been a team effort at UALR with Andrijana Vukovich and Dave Millay in Facilities Management and John Greer leading the way,” Lewis noted.

AGS is a non-profit organization based in Greenfield, Mass, with members from many countries who share interests in art, history, art history, genealogy, archaeology, anthropology, conservation, and material culture.