The Black History Commission of Arkansas has awarded three Cutis H. Sykes grants to various projects across the state and welcomed two new commissioners.
- The Root Note of Black Music – Awarded to the Women's Council on African American Affairs, Inc., this project will take portable recording equipment to remote locations in Arkansas and record local artists performing old Negro spirituals as well as other forms of music. It will also collect photographs of churches built in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Real People, Real Stories - The Unsung Heroes of Lee County – Awarded to the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., this project will identify and document the roles of unknown people who have been instrumental in helping African Americans achieve success in Lee County. This will culminate in an awards celebration.
- The Life and Times of William Hines Furbush – Awarded to the Marianna Historic Trust, this project expands on a previous project on researching and writing a play based on the life of William Hines Furbush, the African American man who introduced legislation to create Lee County and the first sheriff of Lee County. This grant will bring a live performance of this play to the public, using students and adults for the cast.
The next meeting of the Black History Commission of Arkansas will be Thursday, May 18 at the Eddie Mae Herron Center and Museum, located at 1708 Archer Street in Pocahontas, Arkansas. The meeting will also be available via Zoom. For more information, contact Tatyana Oyinloye, African American history coordinator for the Arkansas State Archives, at [email protected] or 501-681-6892.
The Black History Commission of Arkansas is affiliated with and advises the Arkansas State Archives. The Commission seeks and collects materials on Arkansas's Black history and history-makers and 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 supports African American historic and historical preservation and public programming projects in Arkansas. Grants are awarded year-round; past projects include historical research, exhibits, workshops, publications, oral history interviews, documentary films, cemetery preservation and documentation.