Arkansas Black Hall of Fame11/04/2016
The Induction Ceremony for the 24th Annual Arkansas Black Hall of Fame is always a noteworthy day—a day to celebrate the contributions of dedicated individuals with a history of accomplishments.
For twenty-four years, the Black Hall of Fame Foundation has recognized the rich historical contributions of some of Arkansas’s best and brightest leaders in business, medicine, law, music, media and more.
In the past, those who have been inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame have played at Carnegie Hall or flown with the Tuskegee Airmen. Others have become leaders in AIDS research or titans of business innovation. Many have dedicated their lives to serving the community.
But this past weekend, I had the opportunity to recognize and celebrate six of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame’s newest inductees—men and women who have contributed to a significant part of American history and Arkansas history through their lives and accomplishments.
This weekend, we recognized individuals like Cynthia Scott, a leader in vocal performance, who has given joy to millions of Americans through her music, sharing the stage with performers like Ray Charles and Gladys Knight. We celebrated Justice Richard Mays, Sr., who has devoted himself to the cause of justice and civil rights through his time on the Arkansas Supreme Court and in the state legislature. We remembered Estella and Knoxie Hall who, as entrepreneurs, could neither be stopped nor discouraged by those who did not want to give them a chance. We celebrated the life of Judge Mifflin Gibbs, a businessman and politician who was appointed to office by three Presidents and continued innovating and creating for his entire life, even starting a new business at the age of 80. We applauded Gregory Davis, a native of Fort Smith, who created a media empire in Georgia in the span of his 39-year television broadcasting career. And we also recognized June Carter-Perry from Texarkana who served as a Foreign Affairs Officer in tough assignments across the globe.
Every 2016 Arkansas Black Hall of Fame inductee has a distinctive story and path in life, but each and every one is a pioneer and a world changer. These inductees have made diverse and extraordinary contributions that have touched not only Arkansas, but also influenced the world more broadly.
In the words of Rosa Parks, “Each person must live their life as a model for others.” Our state and nation are changed by these men and women who forged their way into history with their unbelievable lives and their courageous stories. If you would like to learn more about the outstanding accomplishments of current and past inductees, be sure to pay a visit the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Exhibit, located in the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center in Little Rock. I encourage you to stop by and honor those who have made invaluable contributions to both Arkansas and the world.