Date Original



This collection contains materials pertaining to the dedication of the Freedom House historical marker along with background information on civil rights activities in and around Pine Bluff during the 1960s. 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

This collection contains a grant report generated by Peter Perschbacher for Freedom House marker project funded by the Black History Commission of Arkansas through the Curtis H. Sykes Memorial grant program, 2012. The collection consists of 1 DVD of the dedication ceremony, photographs of the historical marker, and newspaper articles detailing the dedication and the history behind Freedom House in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The residence that came to be known as Freedom House served as a safe haven for fourteen students associated with the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). SNCC was an important civil rights organization that operated during the 1960s. Its members were pivotal in civil rights activities, such as sit-ins, marches and freedom rides. SNCC began operating in Arkansas in 1962, with Bill Hanson as its first director. Located on King St. and Locust St. in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Freedom House was owned by Mary White, who opened her home to the students from the Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal School (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) who were engaged in demonstrations protesting segregation in local businesses. These students were expelled from school, but White gave them a place to stay and meet from 1963 – 1965. Lewis Yancy, a local businessman, posted bail for more than fifty student protestors who had been arrested for their participation in these demonstrations. Both White and Yancy helped local activists in their push for civil rights through providing much needed shelter and resources. A historical marker was placed at the former location of Freedom House, commemorating Mary White and Lewis Yancy’s helping the local civil rights effort.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area

Pine Bluff, Jefferson County (Ark.)





Resource Type



Freedom House historical marker grant project, MS.000744


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Freedom House Historical Marker grant project report, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History