Mayor honored at heritage celebration

Author Jason Irby will recognize Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington as the 2022 Legend Among Us award recipient during the seventh annual Arkansas Heritage Celebration of Black History Month.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center in Little Rock, according to a press release on Stuff in The

The 2022 Legend Among Us award recipients are: Mayor Shirley M. Washington; State Senator Stephanie Flowers, a longtime lawmaker and lawyer from Pine Bluff; RJ Hampton, the first black American to run for governor of Arkansas; Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.; Fort Smith Mayor George B. McGill; and Trayce Parker, first black American president of UPS (eastern region of the United States).

Program presenters will include the Arkansas National Guard Museum, Buffalo Soldiers (Little Rock Chapter), Cherokees for Black Indian Preservation, Lupus Champions and the Sequoyah National Research Center.


Washington is the second of seven children born to Willie and Blanchie Clinger Moorehead in Gethsemane.

“As his parents struggled to make a living on the family’s small cotton farm, they vehemently insisted on the importance of hard work and the value of education. The children learned that church and school would be their passport to move from a life of working in the fields to a successful future as skilled professionals,” according to the press release.

“This resounding message has not been lost. The father and mother, respectively graduating from third and sixth grades, have had the chance to testify during their lifetime, their seven children all receive university degrees, go on to respectable careers and become God fearing, law abiding, productive citizens.

“As she listened to all of her siblings plan lives in other states across the country, Shirley decided to make Arkansas her home,” the statement said.

After graduating from Wabbaseka High School in 1966, she attended Arkansas Mechanical & Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff) and majored in elementary education with a minor in English. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and completed additional studies at the University of Central Arkansas.

“The Mayor of Washington realized at an early age that she had a gift for teaching. Her patience and love for children made her a natural motivating force in the classroom. She took his retirement after 38 years of service in the Jefferson County Public Schools, which included 22 years in the classroom and 16 years in school administration.His goal was simply to make a difference, to have a positive impact in the lives of the children of her community. This has led her to be involved with many organizations and councils over the years,” according to The Version.

Washington has served as president of the Pine Bluff Education Association, board member of the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, and the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Library Board.

Currently, she is a member of Jefferson County Democratic Women, Jefferson County Retired Teachers Association, Arkansas Black Mayor’s Association, Jefferson County Board of Governors, and a life member of the NAACP, where she serves on the Education Committee. of the Pine Bluff branch. .

The mayor has assisted her husband, Frank, in his construction business for the past 25 years.

“From this experience, she gained a deep understanding and a growing interest in community development and revitalization. She and her husband are members of Old St. James Missionary Baptist Church. They are the proud parents of three grown children and they enjoy three grandchildren.

“In October 2015, Mayor Washington stepped into the political arena, launching an effective campaign for mayor of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. His promise to provide strong visionary leadership and to be a servant leader propelled him to victory in this historic election. And, on Jan. 1, 2017, she became the first African-American woman to hold the highest office in the City of Pine Bluff,” the statement said.

“During her first term, she worked tirelessly to make great strides in uniting the community to improve the quality of life for its citizens. To name just a few of her accomplishments: she led the charge and opened the doors to a one-kind aquatic center and supported the completion of a state-of-the-art public library, completed Phase I of the downtown streetscape revitalization, created the Mayor’s Youth Council, renovated the Pine Bluff Community Center (formerly the Merrill Center), partnered with the Quapaw Tribe to develop the Saracen Casino and Resort, assisted in the development of an elementary school downtown, and helped orchestrate the return of the King Cotton Classic.

“During her second term, her goals are to continue to invest in our youth, reduce crime and revitalize our community with affordable housing and job opportunities. By leading by example, she hopes to inspire and encourage the others. The city is on the rise and crest of becoming this “destination city” for southeast Arkansas. She calls on everyone with a passion for Pine Bluff to give back and join this renaissance.” , according to the press release.

The Arkansas Heritage Celebration of Black History Month is sponsored in part by the Jason Irby Innovation Foundation, the Central Arkansas Library System, the Sequoyah National Research Center and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Mass Communications. Covid protocols will be observed during the celebration.

Details: or [email protected].

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