Celebrate Nelson Hackett Legacy With Downtown Historical Marker and Street Sign Unveiling

The U of A’s Nelson Hackett Project and the city of Fayetteville’s Black Heritage Preservation Commission are celebrating the life of Nelson Hackett, an enslaved man who fled Fayetteville in search of freedom, beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, June 16, in downtown Fayetteville.

The event will include programming about Black history and life in Fayetteville, an unveiling ceremony for the new Nelson Hackett historical marker and Nelson Hackett Boulevard street sign, and a reception featuring local Black music. The events, which are listed below, are free and open to the public.

Documenting Nelson Hackett and Fayetteville’s Black Heritage

4 – 5:30 p.m. at the Pryor Center for Arkansas Visual and Oral History

  • Sharon Killian on Fayetteville’s East Mountain Cemetery
  • Chris Hubbard and Jerry Moore on Rock Van Winkle, an enslaved Fayetteville man turned respected businessman
  • Kim Jansen on the current status of Black people and life in Fayetteville and Northwest Arkansas
  • Associate professor Michael Pierce on Nelson Hackett’s story and legacy

Historical Marker and Street Sign Unveiling Ceremony

6 – 6:30 p.m. at the northwest corner of the downtown Fayetteville square

  • Charles Robinson, U of A chancellor
  • Mayor Lioneld Jordan, City of Fayetteville
  • Councilman D’Andre Jones, City of Fayetteville
  • Dean Kathy Sloan, U of A Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
  • J.L. Jennings, Black Heritage Preservation Commission

Reception & Celebration

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Pryor Center

The city’s Black Heritage Preservation Commission, with the help of the Nelson Hackett Project, has led the way on the historical marker and street renaming project to recognize Hackett’s history and his ultimate influence on international relations and law.

“Sometime in the middle of July 1841, Nelson Hackett fled both Arkansas and slavery, setting off an international dispute that would ensure that Canada remained a safe refuge for those escaping bondage in the United States,” according to the Nelson Hackett Project.

The slate of events is made possible thanks to the generosity of the U of A’s Department of History, African and African American Studies Program, Arkansas Humanities Center, Pryor Center, and Fulbright College Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Community members throughout Northwest Arkansas are encouraged to attend all the events during the celebration.

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