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Helena-West Helena to host events, outline black history exhibits.

Leaders will unveil a plan Saturday to showcase the city’s Civil War history.The plan, created by the firm Mudpuppy and Waterdog Inc., of Versailles, Ky., will include interpretations of 29 Civil War sites in Phillips County. Besides the plan’s unveiling, the city will host a number of events that are free and open to the general public.

Opening ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. at 640 Biscoe St., the planned site of “Freedom Park,” northeast of the Helena Mississippi River Bridge, off the U.S. 49 bypass. Freedom Park will have five exhibits on black Americans in the town’s Civil War era. The 12th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery of Camp Nelson, Ky., and Bankhead’s Battery, Company B, 1st Tennessee Light Artillery Regiment, CSA, of Memphis will attend.

Starting at 9:30 a.m., Bankhead’s Battery, Company B, 1st Tennessee Light Artillery Regiment, CSA, will fire cannons every 30 minutes from the Mississippi River levee and the Freedom Park site.
From 9:30 to 11 a.m., visitors can tour two historic homes -Estevan Hall, 653 S. Biscoe St., used by the Union Army during the city’s occupation, and Moore-Hornor House, 323 Beech St., which played a major part in the Battle of Helena.

Three presentations will be made beginning at 11 a.m. at the Malco Theater, 422 Cherry St.:

The Civil War Helena Interpretative Plan.
The Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission’s plans for 2011.
The role of black American soldiers in the Battle of Helena, by Robert L. Bell, vice presidentof the U.S. Colored Troops Living History Association and a member of the Reactivated 12th Regiment: U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery.

At noon, a presentation will be made on the gunboat USS Tyler at the Delta Cultural Center Visitors Center, 141 Cherry St.Throughout the day, people can visit Civil War attractions at the Helena Confederate Cemetery, within Maple Hill Cemetery on N. Holly Street; the Phillips County Museum, 623 Pecan St.; and the Delta Cultural Center Depot.

Tours of the cemetery and museum will be available until 4 p.m. The Cultural Center will be open until 5 p.m.

Agencies involved in Saturday’s event include the Helena-West Helena Advertising and Promotion Commission; the Delta Bridge Project Tourism, Recreation and Quality of Life Goal Team; Southern Bancorp Capital Partners and the Delta Cultural Center.

More information is available from or from the Phillips County Chamber of Commerce at (870) 338-8327.