PB Junction is an information hub about the people, arts and music, nature, and heritage of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. This site also covers notable civic and nonprofit initiatives for economic development and renewal, especially along Main Street and in the general downtown area. At the outset, the site offered some emphasis on the renewal of Main Street along with general characteristics of the city’s arts and culture.
PB Junction’s approach is to provide unique or more in-depth stories about Pine Bluff’s people, arts and music, and natural beauty by relying on personal interviews or other direct information gathering. For history and heritage, this site brings together disparate pieces of information from a wide variety of existing sources. The posts about local renewal and economic development sometimes go beyond the typical sources, whether from interviews, inquiries, or attendance at forums, for information shared with readers; others are key point summaries with links and references to additional sources; on some topics, more detail can be found in the Pine Bluff Commercial, from state and local government websites, or from city council minutes.
Pine Bluff is a city of just under 50,000 residents, located in southeast Arkansas and surrounded by agriculture as well as the neighboring communities of Dollarway, Watson Chapel, and White Hall. It has a mayor-council form of government, with the council formed of eight alderman (two per ward).
Pine Bluff sits alongside the Arkansas River in part of a larger area once home to the Quapaw. The world’s longest bayou, Bayou Bartholomew, starts very near the west to northwest border of the city. Clear beginnings of the city’s history date back to the 1810s and 1820s, when French and other Europeans settled on a higher bluff along the river; the city was incorporated in 1839 (then called “Pine Bluff Town”), though it was named the seat of Jefferson County several years earlier.
Pine Bluff’s greater region is part of the Mississippi Alluvial Plains — also known as the Arkansas River Lowlands (a term also used for an area in Kansas), the Arkansas Delta, or the Delta Lowlands. The relatively wet lands and deep build up of soil deposits created rich agricultural land. Historically, this and the southern location meant slavery was a dominant force before the Civil War. During the Civil War, Pine Bluff was a place where escaped and former slaves sought refuge (though the legal technicality the Union exercised was the concept of contraband.
PB Junction aims to provide summaries of this history and the civil rights struggles and triumphs. These historical pieces are works in progress.
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