Curtis H. Sykes Memorial Grant Program

The Curtis H. Sykes Memorial Grant Program provides support for African American historic and historical preservation and public programming projects in Arkansas. The program accepts grant applications year round. Past projects include historical research, exhibits, workshops, publications, oral history interviews, documentary films and cemetery preservation and documentation.


Curtis H. Sykes was born in 1930 in the Dark Hollow community of North Little Rock. He was a tireless community activist and historian. Sykes was an educator for over 34 years, was a school principle and served as a charter member of the North Little Rock History Commission. Sykes was an original member of the Black History Advisory Committee, now The Black History Commission of Arkansas (BHCA), in 1991. He served as its chairman from 1993 until his death on Sept. 9, 2007. During his time as the BHCA chair, he pushed for legislation to have African American history taught in Arkansas schools, leading to the pass of Act 326 of 1997. The former chairman was posthumously awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Historical Association in 2008. In 2009, the Arkansas General Assembly named this grant program in his memory (Act 660).


  • Groups or organizations formed for nonprofit or not-for-profit purposes
  • Organizations do not necessarily have to hold 501(c)3 status to apply
  • Projects that preserve, commemorate, disseminate or enhance the heritage of African Americans in Arkansas
  • Projects that generate or acquire archival material on African Americans in Arkansas
  • Projects that have an on-going or long-lasting impact on African American history (e.g., exhibit, archival collection, preservation effort, recurring event, historical marker)
  • Projects that document and protect community heritage
  • Collaborative projects that promote the history and heritage of African Americans in Arkansas
portrait of man in suit

The application guidelines and forms for the Curtis H. Sykes Memorial Grant Program have been revised. Applicants are required to follow the guidelines and forms for submitting applications. The deadlines for the grant application cycles are:

Jan. 2 
April 2
July 2 
Oct. 2

Individuals who are considering applying for a grant from the Curtis H. Sykes Memorial Grant Program are strongly encouraged to review the Sykes Program guidelines below and to attend one of the quarterly grant workshops sponsored by The Black History Commission of Arkansas and the Arkansas State Archives.

For more information please contact Tatyana Oyinloye, African American History Program coordinator, at 501-682-6892.