The Pioneers: Early African-American Leaders in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Freedmen, Newly Freed, and First/Second Generation, Born from 1833-1892
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The Pioneers: Early African-American Leaders in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, pays tribute to generations of African-American leaders who helped shape the town, Jefferson County, and the state in productive, dynamic ways.

Incorporated in 1839, a vast multitude of African-Americans from Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, and North Carolina arrived in the 1840s. While they are almost never talked about, their contributions are woven into the fabric of Pine Bluff’s history and present.

Despite “separate and unequal” rulings, they became farmers, educators, politicians, artists, journalists and more – and in this meticulously researched account, the author tells the stories of forty-five African-American achievers who deserve to be remembered.

Drawing on archival images, photos, interviews from former slaves interviewed by the Work Projects Administration during the 1930s, and accounts from descendants, the book highlights African-American achievers who survived and thrived during the most challenging of circumstances, including the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Jim Crow South.

Discover the critical role that African-Americans played in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, as well as how they fit into the larger American narrative.

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