The Pine Bluff Interested Citizens for Voter Registration, Inc. (PBICVR) was established in 1967 by nine local African Americans two years following the 1965 Voting Rights Act. During the fifty-one-year history of the organization it has brought positive state and national recognition to the city of Pine Bluff as a result of our work and community service. The USA Weekend Magazine, New York Times, JET Magazine, the Associated Press, and the Department of Justice Weed and Seed Publications, have all captured and published the work of PBICVR. Collaborating with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, PBICVR, Inc. has returned millions of dollars back into the pockets of low-income families through free income tax preparation. The organization continues its work with youngsters through the PEN OR PENCIL National Transformation Initiative, PBICVR Respect for Life Conflict Resolutions and Anti-bullying initiatives; Drug and Violence Prevention for youngsters are on-going programs of PBICVR, Inc. The organization’s work with the federally funded Weed and Seed Program has been recognized as one of fifty best collaborations in America by the National Crime Prevention Council in Washington DC along with Faith and Service Technical Network (FASTEN), and was featured in a document called, Faith Community and Criminal Justice Collaboration, a project funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. PBICVR, Inc. has also been featured in the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA) publication called, “The CADCA Strategizer 47.”
Over the years the organization has provided scholarships for graduating high school seniors, established a food pantry, provided computer labs for seniors, adults and children. Offered math tutoring for students and their parents, essay/writing contest for students in grades 4th – 9th. In 1987 the PBICVR, Inc. established the PBICVR King Team Community Service Program for youngster ages 8 to 18 who commit to working with family, staying drug-free, graduating from high school. In 2006 the organization began sustaining many of the U.S. Department of Justice Weed and Seed Programs activities, i.e., Coffee with the Chiefs, Prevention and Intervention activities aimed at crime reduction in the community, as well as the computer lab for seniors, adults and youth.
The organization spearheaded efforts to bring the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Youth Assembly to Pine Bluff in 1998, spearheaded the naming of. the first monument in Arkansas to honor Coretta Scott King, wife of slain Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Organizers of PBICVR Original KingFest Celebration thirty-five years ago, the largest interracial celebration for Pine Bluff and Jefferson County honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and, the biggest event in Arkansas which promotes community service in honor of the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. PBICVR, Inc. also organized the first interracial event in the Arkansas which brought together Jews, Muslims, Christians, Blacks and Whites in celebration of the Original KingFest Week in January 2002, immediately following September 11, 2001. The Original KingFest events have attracted more than 75,000 participants during the past 35 years.
PBICVR, Inc provided the leadership to name the first section of Arkansas Interstate (I-530) in honor of the late Pine Bluff native and Civil Rights Attorney, Wiley Austin Branton, Sr. The Wiley A. Branton, Sr. Memorial Highway, the construction cost $100 million. PBICVR spearheaded the effort to resurface University Drive/Highway 79B in front of the (HBCU) University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff beginning at Pullen Avenue and north to UAPB's football stadium; the cost of this project was $6.2 million.
PBICVR, Inc. provided the leadership to name the first Administration Building in the Pine Bluff School District in honor of M.D. Jordan and R.N. Chanay, two local African American Educators. Led efforts to name “The W.T. Cheney Elementary School” the first local African American educator to receive this honor in Pine Bluff Schools District.
Established the “PBICVR Respect for Life Campaign” in 1997 to reduce homicides in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County specifically among African Americans. Provides nonpartisan voter registration and education. The organization launched the first “Youth Business Opportunities Expo” in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County and established the Kevin Edwards Scholarship Foundation at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. In 1999 PBICVR led “Operation Relief” to help families in the Sherrill community following tornadoes which destroyed homes and property. The PBICVR, Inc. organized King Teams from around the state and travel to Dumas, Arkansas to help with a community cleanup project after the city was hit by a tornado.
PBICVR, Inc. collaborates with the U.S. Department of the Interior National Parks Service Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, the National Alliance of Faith and Justice, National CARES Mentoring Movement, Pine Bluff Police Department, Jefferson County Circuit Court Sixth Division, Pine Bluff, Dollarway, Watson Chapel and White Hall School Districts on PEN OR PENCIL Projects. In 2010 the organization began recruiting mentors to assist other youth serving organizations in Pine Bluff Jefferson County as PBICVR CARES Mentoring Affiliate.