Ernie Dodson had a dream of a new museum and performing arts center that provides a true representation about Arkansas' Afro-American culture and the contributions made by black Arkansans to the development of our state. This museum is called EMOBA-The Museum of Black Arkansans and Performing Arts Center (acronym-Ernie's Museum on Black Arkansans).

By showcasing the contributions of past generations of black Arkansans, EMOBA serves as an inspirational instrument in keeping these contributions and this heritage alive to promote pride and unity in all communities throughout Arkansas.

In September of 1993, the historic First Baptist Church at 12th & Louisiana in downtown Little Rock was purchased as a home for EMOBA. Some work has been done to this beautiful structure, but much more work is need for EMOBA to become a reality. Additional financial resources are needed along with community commitment and involvement.

How You Can Help

To make EMOBA a reality, they need your financial assistance. Please consider making a contribution to this worthwhile cause. Whether your gift is small or large, you will be making a positive impact on the future of Black Arkansans and our entire state. Contributions can be made by check to:

P.O. Box 46754
Little Rock, AR 72214

History and Mission

In March of 1993, EMOBA was incorporated as a 501(c) (3), not-for-profit organization. The primary mission of EMOBA is to educate all Arkansans, and indeed all Americans, about the significant role Afro-Americans have played in the cultural development of our state.

The purpose is to increase awareness, unity, and personal pride in our Black community and expose Black history to the state and local community through our schools, colleges, and universities, creating a better understanding and appreciation, thus fostering greater racial harmony.

To achieve this mission, EMOBA will:

  • Develop a Black Hall of Fame to house memorabilia of famous Black Arkansans with audio and video displays highlighting their achievements and contributions to society.
  • Recognize "First Blacks" and great achievers in sports, politics, business, medicine, entertainment, etc.
  • Exhibit artifacts of Afro-American culture.
  • Provide facilities for training and educating our youth and adults in the arts.
  • Develop a performing arts theater for promoting local and national performances, and to seek out, develop, and showcase the vast array of talent within our state.

Annual Events

EMOBA, located at 12th & Louisiana, is open February through September, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday-Wednesday, and Friday. Saturday and Sunday by appointment only. Call 501-661-9903 for more information.

  • "Who's Who in Arkansas Black History" exhibit opens in honor of Black History Month highlighting African Americans who have made significant contributions to our state's history and to our nation.
  • The third weekend in May is the annual Heritage Day Festival with heritage food and entertainment. For the sports fans there is "Jam Fest", EMOBA's annual basketball tournament.
  • June is the annual "Sidney Moncrief Sportsmanship Award Luncheon" with Coach and NBA Bucks star Sidney Moncrief.
  • June and July is "Teens in Action" Summer Youth Program. For eight weeks, young people between the ages of 7 and 19 learn about art appreciation, voice, speech, acting, scene design, staging and other career choices.
  • The first Friday in August is "Turtle Cove" by the "Teens in Action" Team at the Heritage House Outdoor Theater.
  • September is the bi-annual "Award of Excellence Award" Ceremony Banquet to Outstanding Arkansans. Former recipients include: the late Art Porter and Louis Jordan, Gladys McFadden and the Loving Sisters, Al Green and Dr. Dale Cowling, and Daisy Bates.
  • October is the Annual Haunted Cathedral, Arkansas' largest haunted house.
  • December is a time to relax at EMOBA's Cultural Center. Hear "Tales of Christmas" as told only by the Kenta Klauses while sipping cider and nipping on Krumpets.
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