Local mother and son write pictorial history book on African Americans

Donna Cunningham, a longtime resident of Pine Bluff and retired teacher, and her son, Jimmy Cunningham Jr., a native of Pine Bluff and current resident of Nashville, Tenn., in conjunction with Arcadia Publishing, have written a book entitled, “African Americans of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County.”

The book will be released Monday and can be purchased online at www.jimmysvoice.com or by contacting Donna Cunningham at 870-879-3442. There will be a book signing and discussion including both authors at 1 p.m. Saturday at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Business Support Incubator and Office Complex, 615 Main St. Jimmy Cunningham Jr. will also be speaking at two area churches during Black History month in Pine Bluff further highlighting findings from the book.

With more than 225 images from slavery to the present, the book breaks ground in portraying the city and the county as an amazingly rich cultural mecca of the Delta and as Arkansas’ original center of African American influence.

Unbelievable, but true, facts and images are presented to the reader which have been obscured or lost from as far back as the days of slavery. Topics including the unprecedented wealth of blacks at the turn of the 20th century, the thriving black business community, the record number of lynchings in the area, the multiple Grammy award-winning and nominated artists from the area, the “Chitlin’ Circuit,” the valiant military service (including several Tuskegee airmen) of residents, the area’s rich tradition of folk tales, the stories of courage and degradation during the segregation era, the powerful presence of the black church, and a host of other areas are discussed.

For more information about the book signing or to schedule an interview with the authors, contact Roslyn Burks at 870-413-9393.