A life-long friendship that began in Helena.


Maintaining a long distance friendship is a hard thing to do, but these ladies have done it, and then some! Theirs is a friendship that many would envy.

Anthonette Akins and Colleen Hayden were both born in Helena in the early 30s. Hayden’s daughter is the current Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden who recently toured parts of Arkansas at the invitation of Congressman French Hill. A trip to Helena was included in the itinerary. This provided the perfect opportunity for the two lifelong friends to get together.


Hayden moved to Illinois when she was five years old. The two kept in touch and saw each other for the first time in 80 years during Dr. Hayden’s visit to Helena. 80 years!

Akins, who currently lives in Pine Bluff, and Hayden shared memories of their early lives. They were neighbors and both attended Centennial Baptist Church. They have fond memories of Mrs. Davis Greer’s Sunday school class. Their greatest hope is to see Centennial Baptist Church restored.

They also went to primer school (what is now kindergarten) at North End for a half day. They would have lunch at a local store for 5 cents. That got them a garlic sausage sandwich and two crackers.

They were taught to be self-sufficient and to appreciate what they had. They were disappointed that people today don’t seem to take pride in their neighborhoods or communities.

These two ladies expressed a love of their home town and enjoyed visiting Magnolia Cemetery and the Delta Cultural Center while in town. They embody the spirit of lasting friendship and serve as an example for all to follow.