Date Original



The Josephine Pankey project final report consists of oral history interviews covering 10 CDs, one book published by the Friends of Josephine Pankey, and project documents. This project was funded by the Curtis H. Sykes Memorial Grant program through the Black History Commission of Arkansas. The Black History Commission of Arkansas (BHCA) was created by Act 1233 of 1991 and is composed of seven members appointed by the governor with approval of the Senate. The BHCA is charged with preserving the history of black Arkansans and black communities in Arkansas. This commission also encourages research of Arkansas’s black history and promotes teaching black history in Arkansas schools. Grants are awarded from the BHCA in a concerted effort to ensure Arkansas’s black history is collected and preserved. The Curtis H. Sykes Memorial Grant Program was established in 2009 by Act 660 to honor the program’s namesake who served as chair of the commission from 1993 – 2007.

Biographical/Historical Note

Final grant report from the Friends of Josephine Pankey, a non-profit 501(C)3 organization funded through the Curtis H. Sykes memorial grant program, which is administered by the Black History Commission of Arkansas. Josephine Pankey, black philanthropist, teacher, and land developer was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1869 as Josephine Irvin or Irving. She came to Arkansas as a missionary for the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1892 to teach children. After moving to Little Rock and marring Samuel Pankey in the early 1900s, she taught in the Little Rock School District. Also during this time, Pankey began investing in land in Pulaski County and eventually developed communities that came to bear her name. Blacks found the Pankey communities as safe havens, particularly after the lynching of John Carter and the Flood of 1927. These communities served as financial havens, given that Pankey at times sold land at very low prices. Pankey helped many blacks to attain home ownership. Of the three communities developed by her, the last Pankey community left is located in West Little Rock along Cantrell Road/Highway 10. Josephine Pankey died in Little Rock, Arkansas, on July 18, 1954. She is buried in the Oakland and Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area






Resource Type



Friends of Josephine Pankey grant project report, MS.000725


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Friends of Josephine Pankey grant project report, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History