Black History Month: Notable leaders blazed a trail for NWA leaders

Black History Month

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — We’re less than a week away from the start of Black History Month, but some historic accomplishments are happening and being celebrated locally.

D’Andre Jones says he starts every Fayetteville City Council Meeting by reading a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The one about bootstraps and how Dr. King mentioned we tell people to pull up their bootstraps but what happens when we have no boots?

D’ANDRE JONES, FAYETTEVILLE CITY COUNCIL MEMBER

Jones is the first African American to hold a seat on Fayetteville’s City Council in more than 20 years.

“I’m not just only representing African Americans but I’m representing individuals from all walks of life,” he said.

Jones said leaders such as Dr. King and former President Barack Obama inspired him to pull himself up by his own bootstraps.

“As a minority leader, as an African American leader, those men they transformed my leadership style,” he said.

It’s a style that includes working closely with local law enforcement to help bridge the gap against racial injustice.

Especially after this past summer of unrest.

“Having these intimate conversations to address concerns, I think that’s going to help create a healthier Fayetteville for all of us,” he said.

In order to achieve this, Jones said representation is the first step.

COURTSEY OF APRIL LEGERE

April Legere on the Rogers City Council agrees.

With Black History Month quickly approaching, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the residents of Rogers for understanding the importance of community, culture, and growth. As the first, black elected councilmember, it is my commitment to the city to create a safe space to learn and highlight the accomplishments of its diverse residents. Electing representation is the first step.

APRIL LEGERE, ROGERS CITY COUNCIL

Jones said having representation benefits Northwest Arkansas as a whole.

“Building relationships, building trust, and understanding the needs outside of my own community has been extremely beneficial,” he said. “I’m able to lead because of that awareness.” 

Jones said he’s thankful for the notable leaders in Black History because they blazed the trail leaders in Northwest Arkansas could follow.

“Prior to every meeting I think about Dr. King, I think about James Clyburn, I think about Brock Obama,” he said. “When I think about President Obama I think about him being the first black President and what he experienced in a radically divided America.”

We’re experiencing the same America.

D’ANDRE JONES, FAYETTEVILLE CITY COUNCIL MEMBER

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