A few weeks ago my family and I went to a local museum, The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, whose purpose is to preserve and collect the history of African-Americans from Arkansas. I love learning about history so I love a nice museum. I had been to the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center once before, but I was excited to come back to their latest temporary exhibit, African-American Treasures from the Kinsey Collection.
I learned that the Kinsey Collection is a private collection of African-American artwork and historical documents and artifacts owned by Bernard and Shirley Kinsey. They are generous enough to lend items from their collection to various museums around the United States. You can even see items from their collection in the American Heritage Gallery at Epcot at Walt Disney World until 2018.
Being that the Kinsey Collection is only at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center until Thursday, June 16th. I wanted to make sure that we saw it while it’s in Arkansas. And I’m glad that we took time out to go see the collection because there were a lot of interesting artifacts. My favorite item in the Kinsey Collection was earliest know black marriage license from St. Augustine, FL from 1598.
Isn’t that amazing to know that black people were legally getting married in the United States in the year 1598?
It was also interesting to see a CORE flyer urging people boycott the department store, Woolworth.
Another great item from the Kinsey Collection was Maya Angelou’s typewriter. Maya Angelou spent part of her early years in Arkansas being raised by her grandmother. So it was exciting to a historical artifact from a native Arkansan included in the Kinsey Collection. Plus, I’m a fan of Maya Angelou 🙂
I also enjoyed seeing the permanent exhibits again when we visited the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. I love it that the center has done an amazing job documenting Little Rock’s black business district that thrived during the 1940’s and 50’s.
You can also see reminders of segregation in the permanent exhibits. There were even “White” and “Colored” signs on display. I can’t imagine living in a time where you would see these signs everywhere.
I also loved visiting the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame exhibit. This exhibit highlights the accomplishments of individuals who have been inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. The late blues singer Johnnie Taylor (my favorite blues singer) is one of those inductees.