Educational Resources

Arkansas Black History Items

African American history is woven into the past, present and future of Arkansas. Many prominent African Americans were born in Arkansas or made significant contributions while living in the state. We are celebrating their accomplishments by offering these free classroom materials.  

Al Bell Al Bell (2315 KB) Arthur Porter Sr. Arthur Porter Sr. (2301 KB) Bass Reeves Bass Reeves (4647 KB) Charles Bussey Jr. Charles Bussey Jr. (2442 KB) Chester W. Keatts Chester W. Keatts (2194 KB) Clarence Hunter Sr. Clarence Hunter Sr. (2242 KB) Daisy Bates Daisy Bates (1773 KB) Derek Fisher Derek Fisher (1827 KB) Edith Irby Jones Edith Irby Jones (4287 KB) John H. Johnson John H. Johnson (1998 KB) Johnnie Harrison Taylor Johnnie Harrison Taylor (2545 KB) Joseph A. Booker Joseph A. Booker (1747 KB) Lucius Christopher "L.C" Bates Lucius Christopher "L.C" Bates (1977 KB) Philander Smith College Philander Smith College (3039 KB) Robert Hill Robert Hill (2151 KB) Scott Joplin Scott Joplin (1996 KB) Sidney Moncrief Sidney Moncrief (2024 KB) William Grant Still William Grant Still (2232 KB)


  • 1. John Bush (1856-1916) – Co-Founder of the Mosaic Templars of America
  • 2. Chester Keatts (1854-1908) – Co-Founder of the Mosaic Templars of America
  • 3. Daisy L. Bates (1913-1999) – Activist; Mentor to the Little Rock Nine; Founder of the Arkansas State Press
  • 4. Derek Fisher (1974) (Little Rock, AR) Former player with the Los Angeles Lakers; Former coach of the NY Knicks; National Basketball Association
  • 5. Shirley Brown (1947) (West Memphis, AR) R&B singer best known for the million-selling single “Woman to Woman”
  • 6. Scott Joplin (1868-1917) Known as the “King of Ragtime,” Joplin composed more than 40 ragtime piano pieces, including “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer”
  • 7. Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973) (Cotton Plant, AR) Was one of gospel music’s first superstars and the first gospel performer to record for a major record label
  • 8. William Grant Still (1895-1978) (Little Rock, AR) Nationally and internationally acclaimed composer of symphonic music
  • 9. Shaffer “Neyo” Smith (Camden, AR) (1979) Recording artist and songwriter
  • 10. Robert Lee Hill (1892-1963)(Dermott, AR) Founder of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union and political activist
  • 11. Scottie Pippen (1965) (Hamburg, AR) Former player for the Chicago Bulls; National Basketball Association
  • 12. Johnnie Taylor (1934-2000) (Crawfordsville, AR) Popular gospel and R&B singer, known as the “Philosopher of Soul,” whose recording career spanned 46 years
  • 13. Arthur Lee Porter Jr. (1961-1996)(Little Rock, AR) Musician proficient on saxophone, drums and piano; Composer whose work ranged across jazz, rhythm and blues, funk and ballads
  • 14. Arthur Lee Porter Sr. (1934-1993)(Little Rock, AR) Referred to as an “Arkansas treasure,” Porter was a pianist, composer, conductor and music teacher; Though best known as a jazz musician, he also performed classical compositions and spirituals
  • 15. Willie Ray “Smokie” Norful Jr. (1975)(Little Rock, AR) Grammy Award–winning gospel singer
  • 16. Al Bell (1940)(Brinkley, AR) Former owner, producer and songwriter for Stax Records
  • 17. Leroy “Eldridge” Cleaver (1935-1998)(Wabbaseka, AR)1960s leader of the Black Panther Party
  • 18. Darren McFadden (1987)(Little Rock, AR) Former professional football player with the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys
  • 19. Samuel L. Kountz (1930-1981)(Lexa, AR) Physician and pioneer in organ transplantation, particularly kidney transplant research and surgery
  • 20. Melba Patillo Beals (1941)(Little Rock, AR) Member of the Little Rock Nine
  • 21. Minnijean Brown-Trickey (Little Rock, AR)(1941) Member of the Little Rock Nine
  • 22. Elizabeth Eckford (Little Rock, AR)(1941) Member of the Little Rock Nine
  • 23. Ernest Green (Little Rock, AR)(1941) Member of the Little Rock Nine
  • 24. Gloria Ray Karlmark (Little Rock, AR)(1942) Member of the Little Rock Nine
  • 25. Rev. Joseph A. Booker (Old Portland, AR)(1859-1926) Editor, educator and community leader; Was a prominent leader in Arkansas racial relations and a pioneer in African-American education in Arkansas
  • 26. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff - 1873 - Founded as Branch Normal College; Public historically black institution located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas
  • 27. Robert “Say” McIntosh (Osceola, AR)(1943) Restaurant owner, political activist and community organizer distinctly tied to the Little Rock (Pulaski County) area and Arkansas politics
  • 28. Sidney Moncrief (Little Rock, AR) (1957) Professional basketball player with the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association
  • 29. Carlotta Walls-Lanier (Little Rock, AR)(1942) Member of the Little Rock Nine
  • 30. Thelma Mothershed-Wair (1940) Member of the Little Rock Nine
  • 31. Terrence Roberts(Little Rock, AR)(1941) Member of the Little Rock Nine
  • 32. Jefferson Thomas (Little Rock, AR)(1942-2010) Member of the Little Rock Nine
  • 33. Dr. Edith Irby Jones (Conway, AR)(1927-2019) First African American to attend and to graduate from the University of Arkansas Medical School (now UAMS); Served as a highly successful doctor, educator and philanthropist in Arkansas, Texas, and overseas
  • 34. Carol Ann Blow (1953) – First African American female to attend Mount St. Mary Academy
  • 35. Joseph Corbin (1833-1911) Journalist, served as Arkansas state superintendent of public instruction during Reconstruction and was the founder and president of the first African-American institution of higher education in Arkansas – which is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
  • 36. Philander Smith College– 1877 - First historically black, four-year college in Arkansas and the first historically black college to be accredited by a regional accrediting institution
  • 37. Christopher Columbus “CC” Mercer Jr. (Pine Bluff, AR)(1924-2012) Lawyer; NAACP field secretary; Advisor to Daisy L. Bates; Drove the Little Rock Nine to school during their first semester
  • 38. Charles “Sonny” Liston (St. Francis County, AR)(1932-1970) Boxer
  • 39. Bass Reaves (Crawford County, AR)(1838-1910) Was one of the first black lawmen west of the Mississippi River
  • 40. Clarence L Hunter Sr. (1926-2004) First African American detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and assistant chief of the Little Rock Police Department; retired in 1982
  • 41. Charles E. Bussey Jr. – (1918-1996) First African American elected to serve on the Little Rock (Pulaski County) City Board of Directors since Reconstruction, the first African-American deputy sheriff of Pulaski County, and the first African-American mayor of Little Rock
  • 42. Lottie Shackleford (Little Rock, AR)(1941) First female mayor of Little Rock
  • 43. Frank Scott Jr. (Little Rock, AR)(1983) Mayor of Little Rock since January 2019.
  • 44. Lucius Christopher “LC” Bates (1904-1980) Activist; Co-founder of the Arkansas State Press; Husband of Daisy L. Bates
  • 45. Sue Cowan Williams (1910-1994) Teacher; Fought for fair salaries for African American teachers
  • 46. Arkansas Baptist College – 1884 – Historically Black Liberal Arts institution founded by the “Colored Baptists of the State of Arkansas”
  • 47. Scipio Jones (Tulip, AR) (1863-1943) Attorney that represented 12 men sentenced to death after the Elaine Massacre
  • 48. Mike Conley Jr. (Fayetteville, AR) (1987) Played NBA basketball with the Memphis Grizzlies
  • 49. Milton Williams Jr. (Little Rock, AR) (1922-2017)Tuskegee Airman
  • 50. Milton Crenshaw (Little Rock, AR) (1919-2015) Tuskegee Airman
  • 51. Sheryl Underwood (Little Rock, AR) (1963) Comedian; Co-host of CBS’ “The Talk”
  • 52. James “Lil JJ” Lewis III (Little Rock, AR) (1990) Comedian; Star of Nickelodeon’s “Just Jordan”
  • 53. Luenell Campbell (Tollette, AR)(1959) Comedian
  • 54. John H. Johnson (Arkansas City, AR)(1918-2005) Owner and operator of Johnson Publishing Company which produced Jet and Ebony Magazines
  • 55. Deborah Myers Mathis – (1953) Worked in Washington, DC at WTTG-TV and then returned to Little Rock to work at KARK-TV.She also worked as a journalist for the Arkansas Gazette and later the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and is a published author.
  • 56. Shorter College – 1886 – Historically Black two-year institution founded by the African Methodist Episcopal Church; located in North Little Rock.

Loan Box

Our loan box, "Goin' North", is a free resource designed for Arkansas teachers to use in their classrooms. It is packed with reproductions of historical artifacts, guide books and other educational resources. "Goin' North" explores the complexities and effects of The Great Migration by focusing on the migrants themselves and the lives the African American migrants. The loan box is adaptable for grade levels 4th - 8th grade and is available upon request for up to two weeks. It includes a teacher's guidebook with lesson plans, student worksheets and related activities. Click here to request this loan box.

Downloadable Guide Book: Great Migration Guidebook Great Migration Guidebook (5032 KB)  

Lesson Plans

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center has created reproducible lesson plans that follow Arkansas Department of Education curriculum guidelines. Our lesson plans are for classroom use and related to Arkansas's African American history. All PDF materials listed below are free to download.

  • This lesson plan highlights the achievements of the Mosaic Templars of America and their contributions to Arkansas history. It features cross-curricular activities. Suitable for grades K-12.
    Mosaic Templars of America Mosaic Templars of America (2046 KB)
  • This lesson plan focuses on Little Rock's black business district and features cross-curricular activities, including math and science. Suitable for grades K-12.
    Little Rocks West Ninth Street Little Rocks West Ninth Street (1254 KB)
  • This lesson plan reviews the nationally recognized art of African American sculptor, ceramicist, and illustrator Isaac Scott Hathaway. Hathaway created sculptures of notable African Americans from Arkansas. Suitable for grades K-12.
    Meet the Artist: Isaac Scott Hathaway Meet the Artist: Isaac Scott Hathaway (877 KB)
  • This lesson plan introduces students to the techniques of oral history and how it can be used to record community history. Suitable for grades K-12.
    Exploring Community History: Oral History Exploring Community History: Oral History (1128 KB)
  • Portraits of Courage: the story of women's sufferage in Arkansas is a collaborative project with Arkansas PBS and the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. Find videos, professional development and more at:

These plans are not produced by MTCC. They have been created by teachers or community members for us to share with the public.

If you have any lesson plans that you would like to contribute, please email a request to have them reviewed. Email the director of education and include the subject line “Contribution – Lesson Plan Sharing.”

Request A Resource

* Required