Dr. Sybil Jordan Hampton made history as the first African American student to attend each high school year at and graduate from Little Rock Central High School. But her impact on history exceeds that and extends into classrooms throughout Arkansas.
After a career which took her from elementary classrooms to corporate boardrooms, Dr. Hampton returned to Little Rock in 1996 to become the President of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. In that capacity, she oversaw many opportunities to broaden the ways the arts and humanities were used in classrooms and outside of classrooms. Dr. Hampton led the WRF until her retirement in 2006. Through her vision and leadership, many tens of thousands of dollars of support went to cultural institutions and organizations during her decade at the helm.
In the mid-2000s, following the unexpected death of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s executive director, Dr. Hampton served as acting executive director of the ASO while a national search could be conducted. She had long been a supporter of the ASO and other cultural institutions as a patron.
During the Central High Integration 60th Anniversary, Dr. Hampton served as emcee of the Commemoration Ceremony. A few months later, she received one of the LRCH Tiger Foundation’s first Award of Excellence. She has also been honored by inclusion in the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail and the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame.
She continues to be involved with Little Rock’s cultural life through her involvement in the Mount Holly Cemetery Association. She is a tireless advocate for this living museum of Little Rock’s past.
Last year, she was was interviewed by The HistoryMakers. Recently, she was featured at Robinson Center when the public radio program “The Moth” recorded a show there. L