Black History and Culture

Black History in Arkansas
People, Places, Events

Black History Places

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
501 West Ninth Street
Little Rock, AK
Features permanent, changing and traveling exhibits highlighting
 African American life and Arkansas Black history and culture from 1870 to the present.



Notables and Black Firsts in Arkansas

Irma Hunter Brown First Black woman to serve in the Arkansas House of Representatives and the first to serve in the Arkansas State Senate.
Jocelyn Elders 

The first Black woman to serve as Director of the Arkansas Department of Health, and the first African American to serve as US Surgeon General.

Joseph Carter Corbin
(1833 - 1911)
First Black State Superintendent of Instruction (Education).
Mifflin Wistar Gibbs  First African American elected Municipal Judge in Arkansas.
James E.K. Hildreth  First African American Rhodes Scholar from Arkansas.
Florence B. Price
(1887 - 1953)

Was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on April 9, 1887.  She was a composer, arranger and teacher and the first Black woman to have a symphony performed by an American orchestra.  Her Symphony in E Minor was played by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933.

Rodney Slater 

Was the first Black member of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Commission and the Black Director of the Federal Highway Commission. 

Integration of Arkansas Public Schools

September 23, 1957 

Amid protests and demonstrations, nine Black students integrate Little Rock's Central High School. The students were not able to attend classes and had to be removed for their safety.

September 25, 1957  Federal troops escort the students, who became known as the Little Rock Nine, into Central High School for their first full day of classes.
May 25, 1958  Ernest Green became the first African American to graduate from Central High School.

The Little Rock Nine
Minnijean Brown
Elizabeth Eckford
Ernest Green
Thelma Mothershed
Melba Pattillo
Gloria Ray
Terrence Roberts
Jefferson Thomas
Carlotta Walls

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