Jason Irby, a Wabbaseka native and an award-winning author, will present the fifth annual Arkansas Heritage Celebration of Black History Month.


This event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29, at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center at Little Rock.


Several individuals who have made history in Arkansas will be honored with a Legend Among Us award, according to a news release from Stuff in the Bluff.


The 2020 honorees include Sherman Tate, Rev. Hezekiah Stewart Jr., Katherine Mitchell, Grand Master Richard E. Anderson and R.D. Kinsey.


A few key details of each individual is as follows:


Sherman Tate — is an executive who has been recognized as being “the first” several times in his career in business and government in Arkansas. Tate is the first personnel director of the state Legislative Council and its first employee of color. He is the first African American to head the state Office of Personnel Management. He is the first person to develop and implement a comprehensive marketing plan for Arkansas/Louisiana Gas Co. He is also the first African American to be elected chairman of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, according to a news release.


The Rev. Hezekiah Stewart Jr. -- is founder of the Little Rock Watershed Family Resource Center. The Watershed was founded in 1978 at Mt. Nebo African Methodist Episcopal Church at College Station. Described as the “world’s first social hospital,” the Watershed serves all races, creeds and colors, providing basic needs for numerous Arkansas families. The agency’s philosophy focuses on helping people help themselves, building on their gifts and strengths to address their greater needs.


Katherine Mitchell, EdD — was the first female president of Shorter College and the first female to head a cable access channel in a metropolitan area. She is the former president of the Little Rock School Board. A graduate of Horace Mann High School and Philander Smith College, she received her Doctorate in Education from the University of Arkansas. Under President Jimmy Carter, Mitchell headed one of five national sites that implemented a program called “Career Advancement Voucher Demonstration Project” for first generation college students, according to the release.


Richard E. Anderson — is director and founder of Anderson’s Taekwondo Center Camp Positive Inc. This non-profit martial arts school runs a program with about 120 members. They offer a program to inner city youth and their families which strengthens them through the moral standards of the American Taekwondo Association (ATA). They emphasize their motto, “Go To Church On Sunday; Practice Free On Monday.” Chief Master Anderson, the highest ranking African American, is the pulse behind “Camp Positive,” according to the release.


R.D. Kinsey — was elected as the first African-American state commander of the American Legion Department of Arkansas on June 24, 2018. This is the first time that a person of color has held this position in the 100-year history of the organization, according to the release. A native of Miami, Kinsey moved to Arkansas four decades ago after a stint with in the Air Force, where he specialized in security. He went to work for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, counseling combat veterans as physicians first began understanding the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.


The Arkansas Heritage Celebration of Black History Month is sponsored by Jason Irby Innovation Foundation, University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Mass Communications and the Central Arkansas Library System.


Details: jasonirby.wordpress.com or jasonirbyinnovationfoundation@gmail.com.