This year during Black History Month, the Culture Vulture will look at 28 cultural leaders who have Little Rock connections and have been inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. Though presented in alphabetical order, up first is a personal friend of the Culture Vulture – Annie Abrams, or as she is affectionately known, Miss Annie.
Annie Mable McDaniel Abrams is a retired educator by trade and civic activist by avocation. She is included in this list because she is also a historian. As a writer and preservationist, she has worked to document history and ensure historical properties and neighborhoods will long remain in Little Rock.
Born in Arkadelphia, she moved to Little Rock at age 13 to attend Dunbar Junior High School and High School. She studied education at Dunbar Junior College and later taught in Marianna. In 1956, she returned to Little Rock to work for the Arkansas Teachers Association. After her return to the capital city, she married Orville Abrams. In addition to raising her four children, Miss Annie has helped raise countless others through her advice, support, love, and sometimes strong admonitions. She also found time to return to school and receive a degree from Philander Smith College.
Among her many accomplishments are leading efforts to rename High Street for Martin Luther King, 14th Street for Daisy L. Gatson Bates and 20th Street for Charles Bussey. Through her community activities, she had worked closely with both Bates and Bussey. She was a friend to the Little Rock Nine (who were only a few years younger than she) and to their families. Perhaps, because she has been a personal friend of many Arkansas and national politicians over the past 60 years, it should come as no surprise that she and her husband were also acquainted with Governor Faubus.
Whether a leading political figure or a small child, Miss Annie isn’t afraid to give advice or to share her love. Once an educator, always an educator, she loves to learn and teach. It is rare for her to miss a speech at the Clinton School or a Political Animals Club meeting.
In recognition of all her efforts she has been recognized with an honorary doctorate from Philander Smith College, the Brooks Hays Award, and an award award from the national Martin Luther King Jr. Commission. In 2010, she was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.
For more on Annie Abrams and other inductees into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, visit the permanent exhibit at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. That museum is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.