Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame to Induct 6 Women, 1 Organization

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The Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame has announced the seven women and one organization that will be inducted as its sixth annual class for their contributions to the state in their respective fields, and for standing as positive examples for women everywhere.

The inductees will be honored at a special ceremony on Oct. 6 at the Statehouse Convention Center-Wally Allen Ballroom in Little Rock.

They are:

  • Dr. Margaret Louise Sirman Clark, the first woman African-American professor hired by the University of Arkansas in 1969 and the first African-American professor to teach in the College of Education and Health Professions and in the Department of Foreign Languages.

  • Cynthia L. Conger, the founder of four wealth management firms, manager of Conger Wealth Management and one of the first three women to become certified financial planners in Arkansas.

  • Dorothy Morris, who has, through the Morris Foundation, supported more than 50 nonprofits annually and provided seed money to organizations that include Garvan Woodland Gardens, the Arkansas Rice Depot and the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. She has also aided Youth Ranches and the THEA Foundation, among others, and co-founded the Hot Springs Giving Circle.

  • Carolyn Pollan, who served 12 two-year terms (24 years) in the Arkansas House of Representatives, making her both the longest-serving Republican and longest-serving woman in Arkansas House history. She also authored a law that permits Arkansas State Police to more adequately investigate allegations of child abuse.

  • Amy Rossi, who served as executive director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families for more than 15 years. After retiring, she continued to advocate for Medicaid expansion, curbing the childhood obesity epidemic and improving educational opportunities in Arkansas.

  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist who attained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her gospel recordings, characterized by a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and rhythmic accompaniment that was a precursor of rock and roll. She was referred to as “the original soul sister” and “the Godmother of rock and roll”. 

  • Mary Brown “Brownie” Williams Ledbetter, a lifelong political activist who worked in many controversial and crucial campaigns in Arkansas, as well as nationally and internationally. She organized the Panel of American Women and was a member of the Women’s Emergency Committee.

  • Hispanic Women’s Organization of Arkansas, a nonprofit founded in 1999 by a group of women, mostly Hispanic, concerned with the well-being of their families and their community. HWOA’s mission is “to advance educational opportunities for Hispanic women and their families, to celebrate and teach others about our culture, and to become active participants in the community.”

The nonprofit Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame began as a partnership between the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Business Publishing Group. The chamber manages the event.

The inductees are chosen by a selection committee that sought nominations from the public earlier in the year. Tickets to the induction ceremony can be purchased here