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Blytheville in Mississippi County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Blytheville Black Commercial Historic District

 
 
Blytheville Black Commercial Historic District Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Anes Abraham, 2022
1. Blytheville Black Commercial Historic District Marker
Inscription.  During segregation in the twentieth century, Ash Street was the social and commercial heart of the Black community of Blytheville. On Saturdays, when sharecropper families would dress up and come to town, Ash could be so crowded that people would have to walk in the street. Civic groups like the Blytheville Social Arts Club and the Royal Brotherhood Club organized many community services and events here and would inaugurate a community leader as the honorary Mayor of Ash Street. Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, which stood at this spot, often hosted graduations and state conventions. The annual National Cotton Picking Contest was celebrated with a street dance on this street.

Among the many Black-owned businesses on Ash Street during this era were beauty shops and barbershops, clothing stores, dry cleaners, dental and doctors offices, a pharmacy, a market, restaurants, funeral homes, and a taxicab stand. Two churches here also served the community. For entertainment there were two movie theaters, a pool hall, and night clubs. In the 1960s, an Ash Street variety store was listed in the Green Book. Celebrities like B.B. King often performed
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in the night clubs, and the movie theaters also hosted live programs, including the internationally renowned Wings Over Jordan gospel choir.
 
Erected 2022 by Mississippi County Juneteenth Celebration, Arkansas Heritage. (Marker Number 30.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansEntertainmentIndustry & Commerce.
 
Location. 35° 55.581′ N, 89° 54.488′ W. Marker is in Blytheville, Arkansas, in Mississippi County. Marker is on W Ash Street, on the right when traveling west. The marker is on the southwest corner of 5th and Ash, where Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church formerly stood. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 501 W Ash Street, Blytheville AR 72315, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. United States of America (approx. 0.2 miles away); In Memoriam to those Men From Mississippi County Who Gave Their Lives in The Viet Nam War (approx. ¼ mile away); Mississippi County Korean War Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away); Medal of Honor (approx. ¼ mile away); Brave Men from the 97th Bombardment Wing (approx. 3.8 miles away); Hornersville (approx. 13.8 miles away in Missouri).
 
Blytheville Black Commercial Historic District Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Anes Abraham, 2022
2. Blytheville Black Commercial Historic District Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 14, 2023. It was originally submitted on November 29, 2022, by Ashley Sides of Little Rock, Arkansas. This page has been viewed 224 times since then and 28 times this year. Last updated on January 12, 2023, by Ashley Sides of Little Rock, Arkansas. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 29, 2022, by Ashley Sides of Little Rock, Arkansas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 21, 2024