On August 2, 1947, future Little Rock Vice Mayor Willie Lee Hinton was born in Wynne. He was educated in Cross County. He then attended what is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
For twenty-eight years, Hinton was a vocational education teacher at the Arkansas School for the Deaf. He was also very active in neighborhood activities as well as in grassroots community-building efforts.
In 1993, Hinton made his first race for the City Board of Directors. After narrowly losing the Ward 2 race in a special election, he returned to run again the following year. Hinton won the race in November 1994 and was re-elected in 1998 and 2002. In 2003, he was selected to serve as Little Rock Vice Mayor for a two year term.
Long an advocate for neighborhood empowerment, Hinton had championed the transformation of the old Lee Elementary School into a resource center. Under his leadership the building was purchased from the Little Rock School District in 1997 and opened in 2000 as the Neighborhood Resource Center. Five years later, the Little Rock City Board of Directors voted to name it in his honor. The building, which stands at 12th and Pine Streets, is a living testament to his vision of inclusiveness and the worth of every individual.
After battling a brain tumor for nearly two years, Hinton chose not to seek a fourth term on the Little Rock City Board. His public service to the citizens of Little Rock ended on December 31, 2006. On February 13, 2007, Hinton died at his home in Little Rock at the age of 59. He was survived by his wife Blondell, two children and two grandchildren. He is buried in the Graham Cemetery in Cross County.