West Helena is the county seat of and the largest city within Phillips County, Arkansas, United States. The current city represents a consolidation, effective on January 1, 2006, of the two Arkansas cities of Helena and West Helena. The combined population of the two cities was 15,012 at the 2000 census.
With a median income of $19,896 for a household, the city is one of the poorest in the nation. One potential advance for the combined city, as reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on July 12, 2006, is an ethanol fuel refinery to be built by Las Vegas-based E-Fuels. Whether the consolidation had any bearing on the decision is not certain.
It has been said that Helena was a little Chicago back in the 1940s and 1950s because, much like Chicago, blacks from rural Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta were arriving. They were drawn to Helena because they could make money there. By then Helena was 70% black and wild music joints employed blues pianist such as Sunnyland Slim, Memphis Slim and Roosevelt Sykes.
In November 1941, a white businessman put together the staff for the town's first radio station KFFA. A group of blues musicians were given a one-hour radio spot on the condition that they sign a sponsor, which King Biscuit Flour agreed to do. Thus was born King Biscuit Entertainers and the beginning of King Biscuit Time, eventually leading later to the popular King Biscuit Blues Festival, renamed Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival in 2005, one of the largest blues festivals in the world. The celebration is held in downtown Helena on Cherry Street.
The median income for a household in the city was $21,130, and the median income for a family was $25,014. Males had a median income of $22,971 versus $17,225 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,234. About 30.9% of families and 35.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 49.5% of those under age 18 and 27.2% of those age 65 or over.
KCLT 104.9 FM West Helena, AR Urban Contemporary
KIHW (LPFM) 104.1 FM West Helena, AR Religious
A small percentage of the businesses listed on BlackCityInfo.com may not necessarily be black owned and operated but have received favorable reviews from users who have visited the establishment, or from the owners themselves who warmly seek out African American patronage.
DINING - CATERING - BBQ - SOUL FOOD
Granny Dee's Soul Food - Category: Soul Food Restaurants - Southern home cooking - 426 Cherry Street - Helena/West Helena, AR (870) 817-0200
Kelly's - Category: Soul Food Restaurants - 297 Richmond Hl - West Helena, AR (870) 572-5500
CITY VIDEO CONNECTION
Repower America - Katrinia Brown from West Helena, AR
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