Lottie Shackelford has been a trailblazer throughout her career in public service.
Active in community activities and politics, she ran for the City Board in 1974 and lost. But she was appointed to the Little Rock City Board in September 1978 to fill a vacancy. This made her the first African American woman to serve on he City Board, and indeed on any governing board for the City (during Reconstruction, there were at least three African Americans on the City Council, but they were all men.) She was subsequently elected to a full-term on the City Board in 1980 winning 55% of the vote over three male candidates.
She was subsequently re-elected in 1984 (unopposed) and in 1988 (with 60% of the vote).
In January 1987, Shackelford became the first female mayor of Little Rock when she was chosen by her colleagues on the City Board to serve in that position. She was Mayor until December 1988.
From 1982 until 1992, she served as Executive Director of the Arkansas Regional Minority Purchasing Council. She left that position to serve as Deputy Campaign Manager of Clinton for President. She subsequently served on the Clinton/Gore transition team. She later served on the Overseas Private Investment Corporation from 1993 to 2003. She was the first African American to be in that position.
A graduate of Philander Smith College, she has also studied at the Arkansas Institute of Politics at Hendrix College and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
In recognition of all of her achievements, she has been included in the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail, the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, and the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame.