UAPB-ERDC to explore early african american entrepreneurship at workshop

PINE BLUFF, Ark. –  Jefferson County and Southeast Arkansas have a rich legacy of entrepreneurship, which includes an impressive number of African-American-owned enterprises. Many may be familiar with early black entrepreneurs: Wiley Jones, Ferdinand Havis, E. E. Fluker, Marion Perry, Sr., and Nettie Hollis Johnson. However, there were many more! In fact, a business directory published in 1900 listed 235 black businessmen in Pine Bluff alone [1]. These early African-American entrepreneurs included publishers, professionals, barbers, brokers, merchants, and more. Many of the local businesses dotted streets of downtown Pine Bluff – these entrepreneurs established the first black-owned bank in Arkansas, which operated from the historic Masonic Temple.

In observance of National Small Business Week 2014, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) Economic Research & Development Center will present, “Wealth and Economic Development: Exploring Pine Bluff and Southeast Arkansas’ Early African-American Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders.” The free, open event will be held Tuesday, May 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the UAPB Business Support Incubator located 615 S. Main Street.

The event will feature the following specialists:

Dr. Carl H. Moneyhon, a specialist in the history of the American Civil War and the South who is widely published in the field. His work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he recently received one of the first College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Summer Fellowships for Research. Dr. Moneyhon joined the faculty at UALR in 1973 and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He is faculty liaison with the University History Institute, an organization that develops closer ties between the department and the community. He also serves on the editorial boards of the Arkansas Historical Quarterly and the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture. He has won the UALR Faculty Excellence Award for Research and the UALR Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching.

Archie Moore, Jr., a historian and avid collector of memorabilia with a special interest in Black Americana.  He has one of the largest collections of African-American memorabilia in the state of Arkansas. His collections have been exhibited at various genealogical, religious, and historical conferences and institutions.  Among his collections is a group of 1917 artifacts from Pine Bluff entrepreneur Madame M. E. Hockenhull, beauty culturist and manufacturer of personal care products. Mr. Moore is a native of Little Rock and attended both the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and UALR; he has a degree in business administration and is employed in federal service. He has a passion for speaking to youth organizations and volunteering across the state. Archie Moore is life-long member of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church and currently serves as historian. He currently serves or has served on boards and commissions of the following: Arkansas Humanities Council, Central Arkansas Library System (President: 2012-2013), African American Methodist Heritage Center (Madison, New Jersey), Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, and the Arkansas United Methodist Museum.

Dr. John Fluker, the grandson of E. E. Fluker—a merchant and cotton broker who operated from downtown Pine Bluff in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although Dr. Fluker spent the first 15 years of his professional life in the aerospace engineering field, his interest in business led him to pursue a business education in 1970. He enrolled first at Texas Southern University, then at the University of Houston where he earned a Ph.D. in Business Administration–Finance. While pursuing his doctorate, Dr. Fluker volunteered in the Business Development Center at Texas Southern University.  It was there that he was challenged and later inspired through his work with minority businesses.  After earning his doctorate, he worked at several universities before accepting the position of chair of the Business Department at UAPB in 1986. He successfully proposed that the department be elevated to school status and wasnamed the first dean of the newly established School of Business and Management. In 1987, he established the Economic Research & Development Center (ERDC) with the mission of supporting business and community development across the Arkansas Delta, with a particular emphasis on minority business development and assistance to low-to-moderate income communities. During his engineering career, Dr. Fluker had the privilege of working on Apollo 11, the first successful moon landing mission; yet, he touts the establishment of ERDC as one of his proudest achievements.

Please R.S.V.P by calling ERDC at (870) 575-8030 or send an email to jeterw@uapb.edu. This event is sponsored in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

[1] Moneyhon, Carl H. Arkansas and the New South, 1877-1929. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press, 1997.

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