African American Arkansas

Mosaic Templars
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, which tells the story of African-Americans in Arkansas, is striving to raise $3 million to renovate its educational exhibit space. The museum opened in 2008 in a spot that was once the heart of Little Rock’s black community.

During a ceremony Monday with Gov. Asa Hutchinson at the state Capitol, backers of the fundraising campaign accepted the museum’s largest-ever corporate donation. Union Pacific Railroad, which employed about 2,600 people in the state as of last year, gave $300,000 toward the campaign.

Sarah Whites-Koditschek / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

James White stands in front of what he says will be the site of a small museum memorializing the state’s largest massacre of blacks in 1919.

It’s a boarded up storefront — a brick corner building on the main drag of downtown Elaine, Arkansas, a town of just over 600 people in the Arkansas Delta.

John Cain
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

John Cain, who has been a familiar radio voice for a half-century in central Arkansas, marked his 80th birthday Wednesday. He is also known for his efforts to preserve African-American culture. Many longtime friends and colleagues came together at Little Rock's White Water Tavern that night to celebrate with live music and cake.

Cain, who is program director of community radio station KABF-FM 88.3, has also hosted KUAR's 52nd Street Jazz for more than three decades. He has been on the air in some capacity for "51 years and counting."

Students
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

Marvell-Elaine schools bus driver Larry Greer’s route twists through the Arkansas Delta, between the White and Mississippi Rivers. “All together I go from Elaine to Snow Lake, 65 miles round trip,” he said, while elementary school kids filed onto his bus for the afternoon ride home.

These are country bus stops along country roads. The way is long. In the morning, Greer says, he will wait only so long at an empty stop before he snaps his levered doors closed again. “If they don’t come out, they’re not going that day.”

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center
Arkansas Times

A forum on desegregation in Little Rock Saturday will cover past events to present-day patterns.

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is hosting the gathering as part of Black History Month. Key speakers on contemporary desegregation issues include attorney John Walker, former school board member Dr. Jim Ross, and longtime teacher Felicia Hobbs.