Sandwich in History at Mosaic Templars today (2/1) at noon

Image may contain: sky, cloud, tree and outdoorThe Arkansas Historic Preservation Program each month sponsors a Sandwiching in History tour which familiarize people who live and work in central Arkansas with the historic structures and sites around us.

The tours take place on Fridays at noon, last less than an hour, and participants are encouraged to bring their lunches so that they can eat while listening to a brief lecture about the property and its history before proceeding on a short tour.

Today (February 1) at 12 noon, this month’s tour is at Mosaic Templars State Temple (906 S. Broadway).  Built in 1921, the Mosaic Templars State Temple was designed by African American architect Walter Thomas Bailey. The building was built by the Mosaic Templars of America, an important late 19th- and early 20th-century African American fraternal organization, as part of its headquarters and originally contained offices, a lodge hall and a hospital space.

For February, the schedule for the tour will be a little different than normal. At noon, the MLK Commission will hold a ribbon cutting for their offices in the building, which will be followed by the lecture on the building. The lecture will be held in the Auditorium of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and will likely start about 12:15-12:30. After the lecture, feel free to tour the building.

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

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Commemorate Juneteenth today at Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

Each year the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center hosts a free community Juneteenth festival as a celebration of African American freedom and achievement. This year’s event takes place today from 12 noon until 6pm.

Juneteenth is the oldest national commemoration of its kind, dating back to 1865.

Among  the musicians scheduled to perform at this year’s free Juneteenth celebration are  GRAMMY-nominated recording artist Shanice, Sir the Baptist and special host Larry Dodson of the Bar Kays.

The event will be emceed and co-hosted by Keef Glason of Power 92 FM. Local performers will include 2017 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase winner Dazz & Brie, ZaeHD, Chris James and Ron Mac, Big Piph and Tomorrow Maybe, Big John Miller Band, Gold and Glitz, Dunbar Middle School Choir and Mabelvale Drum Line.

In addition, other activities will be happening throughout the day, including vendors, food trucks, living history characters and film screenings. A screening of the documentary “Dreamland” will air at 1 p.m. and “Soul Food Junkies” will air at 3 p.m.

A kids zone will feature face painting, a video game truck, laser tag, rock climbing wall, water tinkering station and more!

Visitors are also invited to learn more about Arkansas history through the African American lens while exploring MTCC’s exhibits, including the new display, “Don’t Touch My Crown,” which opened June 14 and examines the role of hair in how African Americans define themselves and are defined by others, from the late 19th century to the present.

Seating at the performance stage is limited; attendees are invited to bring their own chairs and blankets.

MTCC is located at 501 W. Ninth St, Little Rock, AR 72201. For more information, please call (501) 683-3593 or email info@mosaictemplarscenter.com.

MTCC is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

Black History Month Spotlight – Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

The new Arkansas Civil Rights History Audio Tour was launched in November 2015. Produced by the City of Little Rock and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock allows the many places and stories of the City’s Civil Rights history to come to life an interactive tour.  This month, during Black History Month, the Culture Vulture looks at some of the stops on this tour which focus on African American history.

The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Museum collects, preserves, interprets and celebrates Arkansas’s unique African American political, economic, and social achievement from 1865 to 1950. The Center resides in the footprint of the original Mosaic Templars of America National Headquarters and Annex Buildings.

The permanent museum exhibits depict historic West Ninth Street as a thriving commercial and social hub, focusing on the black entrepreneurship, Templars organization, and the legacy of black legislators. Between 1868 and 1893, eighty-five African Americans served in the Arkansas General Assembly. The majority served in the House, with nine in the Senate. Election laws passed in 1891, together with a poll tax in 1832, ended the election of African Americans to the legislature. No black person served again until the General Assembly in 1973.

In addition to community educational programs, the Center offers a genealogy research room, an art collection created by local talent, and a well-stocked store. The Center’s third floor features a replica of the original Headquarters Building auditorium and the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame galleries.

The Center is a museum of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and admission is free.

The app, funded by a generous grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council, was a collaboration among UALR’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity, the City of Little Rock, the Mayor’s Tourism Commission, and KUAR, UALR’s public radio station, with assistance from the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Black History Month Spotlight – Mosaic Templars of America

The new Arkansas Civil Rights History Audio Tour was launched in November 2015. Produced by the City of Little Rock and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock allows the many places and stories of the City’s Civil Rights history to come to life an interactive tour.  This month, during Black History Month, the Culture Vulture looks at some of the stops on this tour which focus on African American history.

The Mosaic Templars of America was formed as a business in the late 1870s by Arkansas freedmen John E. Bush and Chester W. Keatts to provide insurance and other services to black people, and was incorporated as a fraternal organization in 1882. The Mosaic Templars name was derived from the biblical Moses who led his people out of bondage and relates to black America’s journey out of slavery.

By the 1920s the Templars’ organization extended to 26 states and six Caribbean nations. At the time, as one of the largest black-owned business enterprises in the world, Templars’ holdings included the original insurance company, a building and loan association, a publishing company, a business college, a nursing school and a hospital. For more than 40 years, the Templars Headquarters Building and the adjoining Annex and State Temple buildings on Broadway anchored the city’s black business district on West Ninth Street. Like many businesses, black and white, the Templars did not survive the era of the Great Depression.

Though the original Headquarters building burned in 2005, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is modeled on the original design. Exhibits highlight black business and self-achievement from Reconstruction to the 1950s in Arkansas and the nation.

The app, funded by a generous grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council, was a collaboration among UALR’s Institute on Race and Ethnicity, the City of Little Rock, the Mayor’s Tourism Commission, and KUAR, UALR’s public radio station, with assistance from the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau.