ARCHIVE LIBRARY

CENTRAL LOUISIANA AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURE & HERITAGE CENTER GRAND OPENING AND PORTRAIT GALLERY UNVEILING

Brought To You By Your Rapides Parish Library

The Rapides Parish Library proudly announces the grand opening of the Central Louisiana African American Culture & Heritage Center (AACHC) at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch on February 24, 2024 at 11:00 am. The highlight of the celebration will be the unveiling of a curated portrait gallery honoring African Americans from Central Louisiana whose exceptional achievements reflect the talent and leadership produced in our community. The Center was created to tell the story of the cultural, economic, and artistic contributions that African Americans from Central Louisiana have made locally and on the world’s stage.

The AACH Center will collect the stories, art, and histories of African Americans in the region that prior to this time have been fragmented and largely uncatalogued. Housed at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch of the Rapides Parish Library next to Peabody High School, the center will provide a space to capture and celebrate those stories. A focal point of the Center is a curated portrait gallery honoring selected individuals whose exceptional achievements reflect the talent and leadership produced in our community. The thirteen portraits, created by six national and international artists and organized by lauded local artist Morris Taft Thomas, represent iconic achievements in academia, industry, sports, medicine, technology, civic and military service, and the arts. The portrait subjects honored are Arna Wendell Bontemps, Principal David Iles, John Baptist & “J.B.” LaFargue, Colonel Katrina Lloyd, Oliver "Ollie" Overton, Juan Pierre, Dr. James Jordan Prestage, Jr., Dr. Jewel Limar Prestage, Natalie Desselle Reid, Reverend Larry Douglas Smith, Dr. Clarence Talley, Sr., Amos Wesley, Jr., and Dr. Romel C. Wrenn. The world-class artists responsible for the paintings are Edward Barnes, Kylen Guilbeaux, Fannietta Johnson, Joseph Anthony Pearson, Dr. Clarence Talley, Sr., and Crystal Ann Talley.

Rapides Parish Library invites the public to attend the grand opening and portrait unveiling of the Central Louisiana African American Culture and Heritage Center at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch at 1115 Broadway Avenue in Alexandria on February 24, 2024 at 11 am.

The Rapides Parish Library administration and staff are committed to promoting lifelong learning and strive to provide the resources necessary to build a better brighter tomorrow for all residents of Rapides Parish.

For more information, please contact Sandie Flynn Buller at sandie@rpl.org or 318-445-6436 x1007.

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