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A church in Fredonia becomes a museum with a mission of conserving African American history



Little Rock, Arkansas – The 64-year-old Fredonia church in Moro, Arkansas, needs restoration, and this past weekend the committee behind it started the process.

The committee, who are also descended from the church’s proprietors, traveled from various regions of the nation to begin converting the ancient church into a museum depicting the life of African Americans who once resided in the area.

“Right now we are cleaning everything around it so we can see what state the building is in. We have to make a determination on how much work has to be done,” Fredonia Restoration Committee, Co-Chair, Yvonne Hammonds said.

“Trying to clean it up to make it look like a treasure. Make it look like something,” Fredonia Restoration Committee, Co-Chair, Marquetta Wafford Mcclure said.

The Fredonia Church was founded around 1800 in the vicinity of Moro, Arkansas. The church then moved to a new location in 1913, and in 1961 it moved into the current building inside the city on the Daniel family’s land.

“This is our family history. It’s our heritage. It’s important. Family means a lot to us. We all grew up together as children,” Mcclure said.

“Our grandparents… They always taught us that without God there is nothing,” Historian, Donald Wafford said. “With all their blood, sweat and tears… This is what they’ve left us,” he added.

The church and its families worshipped together for several decades until closing its doors in 2013 as a result of the local population decline. However, they intended for the legacy to continue.

“Because this is still here and we still have the opportunity to take care of this… Now we’re preserving something for our descendants… For our heirs. And we’re letting them know from wince we came. Because as you know… If you don’t know where you came from, you cannot know where you’re going,” Hammonds said.

According to the Arkansas Historic Preservation program, the museum’s inclusion on the list of Arkansas’ National Register of Historic Places is the restoration committee’s ultimate goal.

“We also want to maintain the historical significance of it. Not only in having the building remain here but to have it look like it came from 1895,” Hammonds said.

When the project is completed, the group says they are excited about the impact the museum will have.

To assist realize their objective, the restoration committee is also accepting donations.





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