On November 16, 2018, a ceremony was held at the Beth El Heritage Hall in Helena presenting a posthumous Purple Heart Award to the family of World War I soldier Private LeRoy Johnston. He was wounded twice during the war and returned home. Private Johnston then moved to Phillips County near relatives ,when he was caught up in the tragedy known as the Elaine Massacre. Johnston was killed and buried in a grave now lost to history. He never received his Purple Heart award for being wounded though. The Delta Cultural Center, after finding out about this, brought family members together to have a ceremony to right this historical slight. The story of Private Johnston was also brought to light through the work of Dr. Brian Mitchell, Assistant Professor at University of Arkansas at Little Rock who has done research into this soldier’s background.
The Delta Cultural Center is always hosting community events and special projects and anyone interested should check out their website. They will also come out and do presentations at schools and other organizations.