Arkansas African American Legislators, 1868-1893, a free traveling exhibit produced by the Arkansas State Archives and Black History Commission of Arkansas, will be displayed at Southern Arkansas University’s Magale Library beginning on October 3, 2018, from 8AM until 5PM Mondays through Fridays until November 14, 2018.

Arkansas African American Legislators, 1868-1893 tells the story of the eighty-five African Americans who served in the Arkansas General Assembly in the 19th century. After the Civil War, Arkansas adopted a new constitution in 1868 and its provisions included the right to vote and hold public office for black males. African American lawyers, merchants, ministers, educators, farmers, and other professionals served in the Arkansas General Assembly. Photographs of 46 of the 85 legislators are an integral part of the display. Also featured is a complete listing of the legislators and a short history of post-Civil War and election law “reforms” that effectively ended African Americans election to legislative positions until the 1970s.

According to a press release, the mission of the Black History Commission of Arkansas is to collect black historical materials for the Arkansas State Archives; to encourage research in Arkansas black history; and to cooperate with the Arkansas Department of Education in the development of African American historical materials for use in public schools. The BHCA produces exhibits, hosts seminars, offers free educational material on African American history, and administers the Curtis H. Sykes Memorial Grant Program to fund projects related to African American history in Arkansas.

Founded in 1905, the Arkansas State Archives is dedicated to collecting and preserving the documentary history of Arkansas. The Arkansas State Archives is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and shares the goal of all eight Department of Arkansas Heritage agencies, that of preserving and enhancing the heritage of the state of Arkansas. The agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Arkansas State Archives, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, and the Old State House Museum. To learn more about the Arkansas State Archives and the Black History Commission of Arkansas visit

For more information about the exhibit at Magale Library, call (870) 235-4170 or email  To schedule, the exhibit in your institution call the Arkansas State Archives at (501) 682-6900, email or visit

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