A big weekend is brewing May 24-26 in Lake View with a very special two-in-one celebration that includes the community's “Great Homecoming” event and the fifth biennial school reunion.
January 1 marked Lake View's 75th anniversary. Established in 1938 as the Lake View Resettlement Project, it was the first and largest of three new Arkansas Resettlement Farm communities developed exclusively for African American families.
“We think that a 75-year history demands a celebration,” commented Leon Phillips Jr., president of the Lake View Association of Alumni and Friends and former Lake View mayor and superintendent of Lake View Schools.
Lake View was established when the U.S. Resettlement Administration bought 4,500 acres in Phillips County in an area where there had once been five plantations. It took extensive work to clear the land and create an entirely new community.
Efforts are being made to preserve Lake View's legacy. The LVAAF's History Committee approached Arkansas State Parks Department leaders about placing interpretative exhibits telling the Lake View story along the Delta Heritage Trail, a major rails-to-trails facility that begins just south of Lexa and follows the old Union Pacific railroad corridor and the Mississippi River levee to southern Arkansas. The agency was receptive to the idea and agreed to fund the project.
The LVAAF's “Reflections 1938-1955: The Lake View Project – Phillips County, Arkansas” provided some of the valuable information for the preparation of the exhibit.
An official opening ceremony of the new Lake View trailhead will be part of the Diamond Jubilee.
A full slate of activities is also planned for the Lake View All School Reunion.
“One focal point of the Lake View Resettlement Project was its outstanding school,” said Phillips, “which soon became a consolidated campus and later a separate district. As a consolidated school, Lake View served as a hub for education and social activities for African Americans living in many southwest Phillips County communities. So, we think that we should periodically celebrate its history also, plus strive to preserve its legacy.”
Festivities will begin with a meet and greet session and roll call of classes on Friday evening.
Saturday will feature a picnic under a tent, an assembly, a special dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony, games and a prom night. The reunion will conclude with a community worship service and awards banquet on Sunday.