In the fourth chapter of Joshua, God instructed Moses to choose 12 men from among the people to take up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan.


In the fourth chapter of Joshua, God instructed Moses to choose 12 men from among the people to take up 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan.
Using these stones, the Israelites were then instructed to erect a memorial so they could tell the story of how God allowed them to cross the Jordan to future generations.
Members of The Buffaloes Foundation have apparently read that story and have erected five black historical markers to recognize African-American schools and educators in Arkadelphia.
The monuments are located at 1300 Main Street (the former Sloan School), 125 North 19th St. (the former Arkadelphia Baptist Academy), 18th and Crawford Streets (the location of where Farrie L. Dawson-Taylor opened a kindergarten class for African-American students), 17th and Logan (the former Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy) and 17th and Logan (the north side of West End Presbyterian Church in memory of Professor W.D. Feaster who was an administrator and founder of the Presbyterian Academy).
Although the markers have been in their respective locations since 2012, Leroy Brownlee of The Buffaloes Foundation, said the markers have since been landscaped so they can become more visible in the community.
“They’ve got a different look now. We’re really proud of them,” Brownlee said.
Brownlee noted Arkadelphia had three African-American schools when slavery ended around 1865.
The first principal at Sloan School, which was an African-American school, was Mrs. P.A. Holmes who served from 1872 to 1873.
According to Brownlee, Sloan was small school which was located near the intersection of modern day 14th and Main Streets.
“(Near) 11th and Main was where the 'white high school' was. If you come on down Main, down that hill where at one point there was a bottling company down there, was where Sloan was,” said Brownlee.
After Sloan burned in 1926, Peake Rosenwald School was built in 1928.
According to Brownlee, the Peake family played a major role in the history of Arkadelphia, especially black history. Eliza Peake, who was a servant woman to John H. Peake, was the mother of J. E. Peake, who served as principal of Peake Schools.
“(J.E.) Peake was a very prominent man. We don't know where he got his education,” Brownlee said.
Peake was three years old at the time his mother was freed in 1857.
According to Brownlee, not only is Peake known for his work in education, but he is also known for his work in the Masons and the Order of the Eastern Star.
Arkadelphia Baptist Academy was a boarding school for African-American boys and girls and was located near 18th and Caddo Streets.
Brownlee noted that Professor W.D. Feaster, administrator/founder of Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy, attended Yale University where he graduated fourth in his class.
A native of South Carolina, Feaster moved to Arkansas to start the Presbyterian Academy using the style of Booker T. Washington. Feaster was killed in 1926.
According to Brownlee, the Presbyterian Academy on Logan Street replicated Tuskegee University in that it resembled a college campus.
With Henderson State University, Ouachita Baptist University, the three schools for blacks, Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy and Arkadelphia Baptist Academy (which Brownlee said could be considered college prep schools) there was adequate access to education in Arkadelphia.
Brownlee said Peake and Sloan were public schools while the academies were private institutions.
“When you look at a small town like Arkadelphia, with two boarding schools and a high school for blacks and they were all sound academically, they were all sound athletically and they moved forward,” said Brownlee.
According to Brownlee, the movement continued among African-Americans until the mid 1920s when members of the Ku Klux Klan came in and burned down the schools in an effort to eliminate black education.
Brownlee said plans are in the works to display more school memorabilia at the Peake Rosenwald School.
“There are a lot of facts in there, but people don’t know it is out there. So we are going to have to open it up so that you can see those things in there,” Brownlee said.