"Persistence of the Spirit," an Arkansas Humanities Council traveling exhibit on the state's black history, will be on display through Feb. 29 at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Historical Museum at 201 E. Fourth Ave. here.
“Persistence of the Spirit,” an Arkansas Humanities Council traveling exhibit on the state’s black history, will be on display through Feb. 29 at the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Historical Museum at 201 E. Fourth Ave. here.
The exhibit provides a look at artworks, photographs and documents on the black experience dating back to 1721. Jefferson County blacks featured in the display include:
• J.C. Corbin, a Pine Bluff education leader who in 1875 became the first president of Branch Normal College, now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
• Lawrence A. Davis Sr., president of Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College from 1943-72, and first chancellor of UAPB from 1972-74.
• Ferdinand Havis, a local businessman and political leader who in 1889 was the Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat here. Havis, called “the colored millionaire of Pine Bluff,” was born a slave.
• Wiley Jones, who was born into slavery but was the richest black in the state when he died at the age of 56 in 1904. He owned a race track and several race horses here, and founded a mule-drawn streetcar system that evolved into the current city-owned bus transit system.
Although the museum is normally closed Sundays, it was open last Sunday and will be open Feb. 26 from 1-4 p.m. to help mark Black History Month with this exhibit, said museum Director Kristi Alexander.
The facility is also open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.
Alexander said a video addition to the exhibit is scheduled to arrive early next week.
“It’s a remarkable display as it is, and I’m sure the video will make it even better,” said Alexander. “We’re especially hopeful that young people will visit and view the exhibit.
“It’s important that our younger generations have a knowledge of our history.”