Robert Fulford will present Growing Up on Yellow Bayou Plantation at the next Lakeport Legacies monthly history talk on May 24, at the Lakeport Plantation in Lake Village.

Fulford, of Dermott, grew up on Yellow Bayou Plantation, just north of Lake Village, in the 1950s and 1960s. He has written two self-published books about his childhood on the plantation.

Fulford credits his mother, Bessie Porter, as his inspiration for writing down his memories and stories. Bessie Porter was born in 1930 to Jack and Dora Porter, sharecroppers on the Millikan Plantation in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana. Fulford recalls his mother often told the story of the family’s move from across the state line to Chicot County around 1931.

Fulford has retold this story in an unpublished play, titled A Slip Away in the Night. In the play, Fulford writes, “These were hard times, and people worked to survive.” Families like the Porters looked for opportunities on other plantations “for a better life for their families.”

The event gets underway at 5:30 p.m. with refreshments and conversation, and the program starts at 6 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. Lakeport Plantation is located at 601 Highway 142 in Lake Village. For more information and to register, contact Dr. Blake Wintory, assistant director of Lakeport Plantation at 870-265-6031 or email him at [email protected]

Both of Fulford’s books, A Collection of Anecdotes During my Childhood While Living on Yellow Bayou Plantation and Dark Days of the South: Before & After Segregation, will be available for purchase (cash or check only) at the event. The books are $12 each.

Lakeport Legacies is a monthly history talk held on one the last Thursdays at the Lakeport Plantation during the spring and summer. Each month a topic from the Delta region is featured. The Lakeport Plantation is an Arkansas State University Heritage Site. Constructed in 1859, Lakeport is one of Arkansas’s premier historic structures and still retains many of its original finishes and architectural details.

Open to the public since 2007, Lakeport researches and interprets the people and cultures that shaped plantation life in the Mississippi River Delta, focusing on the Antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction Periods.

Arkansas Heritage Sites at Arkansas State University develops and operates historic properties of regional and national significance in the Arkansas Delta. A-State’s Heritage Sites include the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, Lakeport Plantation, the Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash, and the Arkansas State University Museum.

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