In January, the Faulkner County community came together to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On Jan. 18 during the annual prayer breakfast honoring the Civil Rights leader at the University of Central Arkansas, remarks were given by Fort Smith’s first African-American Mayor George B. McGill, UCA president Houston Davis and Congressman French Hill. Guests heard performances of the Negro National Anthem and other selections from the Sylvan Hills Middle School Vox Chorale. On Jan. 21, organizations, city and government officials joined an annual march through Downtown Conway. The march started at Simon Park and concluded at the Faulkner County Library where community leaders and Gov. Asa Hutchinson addressed the crowd.

Photos by Andy Robertson and Hilary Andrews/Staff Photos


On the heels of the MLK events, African American History Month kicks off February 1.

• Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Reynolds Performance Hall 

Inspired by the words and action of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “We Shall Overcome” by Damien Sneed showcases repertoire from across the African American music traditions that electrified generations of civil rights activists and defenders with interwoven spoken word from Dr. King’s recorded speeches. This production ties together a living lineage of music and culture that includes traditional gospel, modern gospel, classical, jazz, Broadway and spirituals. From Aretha Franklin, to Wynton Marsalis; Duke Ellington to Stevie Wonder; Nina Simone to Donny Hathaway; and traditional spirituals and music from “the Wiz”, Damien’s unique understanding of each genre allows him to fluidly cover so much musical ground in a single performance. Sneed will be accompanied by additional vocalists and instrumentalists. 

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Across the state, events are planned throughout the month. Get the full lineup online at