LPJ’s Wes Harris to speak at Arkansas conference

A Lincoln Parish Journal writer is scheduled to speak at the 16th annual Red River Heritage Symposium Saturday at Arkansas’s Historic Washington State Park.

Titled “Communities that Bind us Together,” the conference will focus on the impact of different communities and their formations in the Great Bend Region of the Red River.

Wesley Harris, both a LPJ writer and the historian at the Claiborne Parish Library, will talk about using a community’s history to further education, economic, and civic goals, focusing on the history of Claiborne Parish for examples.

Harris has written extensively on the history of north Louisiana for LPJ and other publications. He has worked on the staff of the Claiborne Parish Library since 2020 when he retired from a law enforcement management career.

Historic Washington State Park preserves the largest collection of 19th-century buildings in Arkansas. Thirty of them are labeled as historically significant. The setting gives a solid sense of what town life was like from the tragic days of slavery through the Civil War. A dozen restored structures can be visited, including antebellum homes, a gun museum, and an old courthouse.

Other planned topics and speakers include the History of Fort Towson, Oklahoma, by Calista Stephens; Slaves to Christ: Methodist Missions to the Enslaved Community, by Josh William; and The Caddo Culture of the Red River, by Dr. Andrew Beaupre

The Red River Heritage Symposium will take place Saturday from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Historic Washington State Park, 103 Franklin St. in Washington, Ark.  Registration is $30. For more information, call 870-983-2684.

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