New book shares the history of African Americans in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County through people, places and traditions

Share Article

Bettye J. Williams traces the lives of 45 African American achievers who shaped the town

News Image

Readers can explore the legacy of African-American farmers, entrepreneurs, ministers, lawyers, politicians and others who played a key role in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, through Bettye J. Williams new book, “The Pioneers: Early African-American Leaders in Pine Bluff, Arkansas: Freedmen, Newly Freed, and First/Second Generation, Born from 1833-1892” (published by Archway Publishing).

The book gives recognition to black leaders of generations past who helped shape Pine Bluff, the county, and the state of Arkansas. The lives of the pioneers and their civic attainments are woven into the fabric of Pine Bluff’s past history and present. In documentation format emphasizing remembrance and understanding the book is a historical compilation of 45 African American achievers who were born between 1833 and 1892. The book reflects on slavery in Arkansas and Jefferson County, the Civil War, the Republican Party in Pine Bluff, African American newspapers, Jim Crow rulings and traditions, and the African American home, school, church, and community in a town where cotton was the major economy.

“The work of slaves on the surrounding plantations in Jefferson County made Pine Bluff a thriving place for businesspeople to make tons of money,” Williams explains. “This is the first book — that I know of —which gives a Readers Digest format of happenings in a small Black community and the rich plantations located within miles of the city during 1880s and 1910. Cotton was truly King in this area. It was the labor of first and second generation freedmen who made a few people in the community rich and famous.”

“The Pioneers: Early African-American Leaders in Pine Bluff, Arkansas” is also available for purchase online on Amazon at:

“The Pioneers: Early African-American Leaders in Pine Bluff, Arkansas”
By Bettye J. Williams
Softcover | 8.25 x 11 in | 342 pages | ISBN 9781480871915
E-Book | 342 pages | ISBN 9781480871922
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Bettye J. Williams taught literature, grammar, and rhetoric in the Department of English, Theatre & Mass Communications at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff before retiring after 43 years to devote herself to the public, nonprofit sector. “The Pioneers: Early African-American Leaders in Pine Bluff, Arkansas” is the first book published for the benefit of Oak and Ivy: African American Museum and Cultural Center. Williams plans to donate all proceeds from the sale of the book to benefit the museum. She lives in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Simon & Schuster, a company with nearly ninety years of publishing experience, has teamed up with Author Solutions, LLC, the worldwide leader in self-publishing, to create Archway Publishing. With unique resources to support books of all kind, Archway Publishing offers a specialized approach to help every author reach his or her desired audience. For more information, visit or call 888-242-5904.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Marketing Services
Visit website