In observance of Minority Health Month, we'd like to honor the memory of several significant Arkansas women for the next few weeks. Numerous Black women have fought for the right to freedom, healthy communities and self sufficiency in Arkansas. A noted figure in Arkansas history is Mrs. Annie Mae Bankhead. Annie Mae Bankhead was born in Mississippi on December 16, 1904 , and moved with her parents in 1926 to College Station, Arkansas, a small community southeast of Little Rock. She devoted her life to improving the community, organizing the first Young People's Church Club and helping to register voters. In the 1960's, she organized the Progressive League of College Station, in order to help bring city water, gas and electric utilities into the community. She also organized and promoted the Head Start program for preschoolers, and represented Arkansas in 1966 on President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty Advisory Committee.
Ms. Bankhead helped establish a credit union, health clinic and the YMCA in the College Station community. She served as a member of the Arkansas Electoral College to cast a vote for Jimmy Carter for president. She received many other rewards during her life time, including among them: Woman of Conscience Award from the National Council of Women of the United States; the National Brotherhood and Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews; and the Distinguished Citizen's Award from the Governor's Office of Volunteerism and KARK-TV, Channel 4; the Human Interest Award from the Jefferson Comprehensive Care Center Inc.; was named Woman of the Year in 1971 by the Arkansas Democrat; was also named Senior Peacemaker of Arkansas by the Arkansas Peace Center in 1984. She died on January 28, 1989. Her legacy lives on….