Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch, Professor of History at Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, will address the Annual Meeting of the Jackson County Historical Society on Sunday, February 12th, 2017. The meeting will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Parish House (3rd and Hazel) at 2:00, and the public is invited. Dr. Jones-Branch will talk about African American women in rural Arkansas and the many roles they have played in the life and economy of this state.

Dr. Jones-Branch, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, is Professor of History and Director of the Digital Press at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro. She teaches courses in U.S., Women's, Civil Rights, Rural, African American History, and Heritage Studies. She received her Bachelors and Master degrees from the College of Charleston, South Carolina, and her doctorate in History from The Ohio State University, Columbus. She has been teaching at Arkansas State University since 2003.

Dr. Jones-Branch is the author of numerous articles on women’s Civil Rights activism. In 2014, she published Crossing the Line: Women and Interracial Activism in South Carolina during and after World War II, with the University Press of Florida. She is also the co-editor of the forthcoming Arkansas Women: Their Lives and Times which will be published by the University of Georgia Press. She is also working on a second monograph, Better Living By Their Own Bootstraps: Rural Black Women’s Activism in Arkansas, which is under contract with the University of Arkansas Press.

In her address to the Jackson County Historical Society, Dr. Jones-Branch will focus on the life of Annie R. Zachary Pike, an African American farmer who resides in Marvell, Arkansas in Phillips County. Mrs. Pike is a significant landowner and farmer, and she was the first African American to be appointed to a board by an Arkansas governor in the 20th century. She also ran, as a Republican, for the state senate in 1972. Clearly, “Ms. Annie” challenges many of the stereotypes of African American women in rural Arkansas. Jones-Branch presented this talk as the keynote address for the Southern Association for Women Historians’ Annual Meeting in St. Petersburg, Florida, in November of 2016.