This year we will celebrate the Sixth Annual Arkansas Heritage Celebration Of Black History Month by conducting recorded presentations and interviews to be broadcast at a later date. The recordings will not be open to the public in order to comply with Covid protocols. We will post the date in which viewers can begin to enjoy presentations and interviews.
The 2021 Legend Among Us presentations will include two dynamic individuals who have contributed great services and achievements to our community, state, and nation. We congratulate Crystal Young-Haskins and Otis D. Kirkland.
Crystal is the first Black female to be assigned as assistant chief of the Little Rock Police Department.
Otis has served the community as a photographer and philanthropist for over 50 years. Particularly the Black community.
“Join me in congratulating and supporting these 2021 recognized Legend Among Us recipients. This year will be very different because there will not be an auditorium of warm smiles, clapping hands or cheering, nor the the atmosphere of sharing and greetings by our traditional vendors and those making contributory presentations. We gladly celebrate and present the 2021 Arkansas Heritage Celebration of Black History Month. We anticipate and look forward to once again engaging and entertaining a live audience. In the meantime, we also offer condolences to those who have lost loved ones due to the world wide pandemic which has affected our activities, families, and livelihoods. This in itself is a moment in history that we shall overcome. Honor and blessings to you all. Strength and support to all essential workers,” Irby stated.
ABOUT THE RECIPIENTS
Crystal Young-Haskins is a native of Central Arkansas and a 1999 graduate of North Pulaski High School. She spent the vast majority of her early years with family in the communities of Kerr, McAlmont, and Jacksonville. She experienced the love of growing up in a blended family of seven children where hard work and spirituality were always the standard. She is the mother of two amazing young men and a member of New Hope Baptist Church in North Little Rock.
Young-Haskins is a 15 year veteran of the Little Rock Police Department. She began her law enforcement career with the department in 2006 and has since been promoted through the ranks to Assistant Chief of Police serving as Bureau Commander for Field Services Bureau.
She became the first Black female in the department’s history to hold the rank of assistant chief of police and has made significant strides to champion women in law enforcement throughout the State of Arkansas. Young-Haskins has lead in various commander capacities in patrol, administration, and investigations for the past seven years. She successfully led several units awarded with Unit Commendations and the coveted Overall Crime Reduction Award in 2019 for performance.
She holds a Master of Education in Adult Education and Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with an emphasis on Law Enforcement Administration from Park University (Parkville, MO). She is a graduate of the 2014 International Association of Chiefs of Police Women’s Leadership Institute and the 265th Session FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA where she earned a Graduate Certificate in Law Enforcement Leadership from the University of Virginia (2016). She has also obtained several law enforcement certifications in Instructor Development, Victim Advocacy, and Forensic Interviewing. She is a member of the International Association of Chief of Police, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and FBI National Academy Alumni Association.
Young-Haskins was selected as a recipient of the 2020 International Association of Chief of Police 40 Under 40 Award. She is currently enrolled in the Arkansas Certified Public Manager Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Otis D. Kirkland was born in 1945 in Sherrill, AR. He is the son of sharecropper parents and the third of 14 siblings. He attended public school in Altheimer, AR and graduated in 1963. Seeking a better life and upon advice from his mother, he left home immediately following graduation and moved to Little Rock, AR where he got his first job which paid $32 a day.
In May 1966, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and stationed in Mannheim, Germany. It was during his stint in the Army that he received his training as a photographer. In 1968, he received an honorable discharge from the Army and returned to Little Rock, where with the money he had saved and the assistance of three mentors — Dr. Jerry Jewel, Dr. Worthy Springer, and Dr. M.A. Jackson — he opened his first photography studio in the Central Building on West 9th Street. He later moved to the Village Square and began networking with other organizations, including the Economic Opportunity Agency, G.W. Carver YMCA, the Little Rock School District, the Arkansas Beauticians Association, and Baptist, Shorter and Philander Smith Colleges, as well as Anderson Taekwondo Studios.
During the past 51 years as a photographer, Mr. Kirkland has covered weddings, graduations, family reunions, parades, family and personal portraits and school photo IDs. In 1991, because he never had a photo of himself with his mother or father, he sponsored free photos of children with their parents on Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
Kirkland has become a well-known photographer and philanthropist in the Little Rock area, and across the state. His work as a photographer has also taken him to other states, including Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Missouri, Michigan and California.
He has supported the Little Rock community through his work and involvement in local politics. He was elected and served as Pulaski County Justice of the Peace, District 7 from 1986 to1990. He also ran for Arkansas Lt. Governor in 1990. Kirkland was a co-founder of “Stop the Violence” and a C.O.P.E. board member. He was also a supporter of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission and sponsored Black Santa in Little Rock for several years. In September 2000, Kirkland was licensed and ordained as a Bishop in Pulaski County.
He is also an accomplished cook, having established and manned food trucks at Dunbar Junior High School and throughout the city. As part of his community service efforts, he has appeared on local television and radio programs, hosting a program entitled, “Tell It Like It Is.” Kirkland has received over 50 awards for his community service and selfless philanthropy.
He is the father of seven children and continues to reside in Little Rock.