Josephine Pankey, with the encouragement of her husband Samuel, was on a mission. Blacks, by law, were restricted to where they could buy land and live, and financing was not generally available from banks. In 1907 she purchased land thirteen miles northwest of Little Rock and founded a community for blacks.
Backstory and Context
Mrs. Pankey purchased three major plots of land. In 1907 she purchased eighty acres of land that was located thirteen miles west of Little Rock. She bought two and a half acres in 1908. It was in the southwest corner of the town called Pulaski Heights on North Cleveland Street. The third purchase was a fifteen-acre plot near Boyles Park in 1910.
Pankey, the first land to be purchased and the last to be platted, is the only community that still exists today. In 1922 she purchased an additional eighty acres that adjoined the original eighty. The land was subdivided into a total of sixty-one blocks and 732 lots on the north and south sides of Cantrell Road. The Pankey community stretched for several miles.
In 1979 Pankey was annexed into Little Rock and many of the community businesses moved or closed. Little Rock’s western expansion engulfed the community and current residents strive to maintain what is left of the Pankey heritage.
Marion Fulk, “Josephine Irvin Harris Pankey,” accessed November 27, 2019, https://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/entries/josephine-irvin-harris-pankey-9144/
Nancy Robinson Lott and Regina Norwood, Josephine: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Mrs. Josephine Pankey (Little Rock: Friends of Josephine Pankey, 2012)
Nancy Robinson Lott and Regina Norwood, “Pankey (Pulaski County),” accessed November 27, 2019, https://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/entries/pankey-pulaski-county-5934/