TheWilliam H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock will host a free exhibit that tells the story of the 85 African Americans who served in the Arkansas General Assembly during the late 19th century.
“Arkansas African American Legislators, 1868-1893” will be on display until Thursday, Jan. 25, in the Bowen School of Law Library, 1201 McMath Avenue in Little Rock, during regular library hours.
After the Civil War, Arkansas adopted a new constitution in 1868. Its provisions included the right to vote and hold public office for black males, and African American lawyers, merchants, ministers, educators, farmers, and other professionals serving in the Arkansas General Assembly.
The exhibit includes photographs of 46 of the 85 legislators, a complete listing of the legislators, and a short history of post-Civil War and election law “reforms” that effectively ended African Americans being elected to legislative positions until the 1970s.
The traveling exhibit was produced by the Arkansas State Archives and Black History Commission of Arkansas. The Black History Commission of Arkansas 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 the Department of Arkansas Heritage and shares the goal of all eight Department of Arkansas Heritage agencies, that of preserving and enhancing the heritage of the state of Arkansas.