Arkansas community with roots in slavery still fighting for its rights


McALMONT, ARKANSAS — The area around McAlmont is an agricultural community rich with African American history. It had been a slave quarter and later a land grant to African American sharecroppers to live in. The community is now threatened with gentrification.

Dr. Joycelyn Elders, a local hero, had practiced medicine at McAlmont’s Ruffin and Jarret Nursing Home. She later rose to the position of Surgeon General of Arkansas and then US Surgeon General under President Bill Clinton. Dr. Elders had a street named after her in McAlmont until somebody changed it without rights. The community wants it changed back.

Harris Elementary School was established in 1886. Originally named Holt Pulaski County Training School, it was later known as Pulaski County Special Training School and was instrumental in educating former slaves. Today it has after school programs for children, a community garden, adult education GED, computer literacy classes and a job placement center. The community continues to fight a never-ending battle against efforts to close the school. The Dallas Cowboy’s Running Back Derrick McFadden, and 2016 Olympic Long Jump Gold medalist Jeffrey Henderson, are notable Harris alumni.

For information contact: Vern Henderson at 501-410-3020.

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