The Rev. Jesse C. Turner of Pine Bluff became the first Arkansas citizen to receive the Distinguished 400 Award from the 400 Years of African American History Federal Commission. Thirty-five recipients from around the nation received the award, according to a news release.

“Learning about the sacrifices and struggles by my ancestors to pave the way for the freedoms and opportunities we experience today as African Americans is humbling,” Turner said.

“Attending the 1619-2019 Commemoration of the First African Landing at Old Point Comfort Fort Monroe National Monument, in Hampton, Virginia, in recognition of the 400th anniversary of the first 20 and odds Africans arrival in English North America, was truly an experience of a lifetime,” he said.

The award states: “In recognition of your enduring commitment and accomplishments which honor the immense sacrifices and prodigious contributions of African Americans to our Nation.”