LR Women Making History – Mollie Irvin

Mollie Irvin spent her life serving others.  She was a wife, mother, and grandmother. She was a volunteer in her church and her children’s schools.  She helped her friends.  She may have never seen herself as someone who would start spending every Tuesday night at Little Rock City Hall.

But she did.

Miss Mollie, as she came to be known at City Hall, had long been active in the Cloverhill/Pennbrook Neighborhood.  For many years, she served as president of the neighborhood association where she organized crime watches, police night outs and 4th of July celebrations.

When a young lady was injured crossing John Barrow in front of Henderson Middle School, Miss Mollie sprang into action.  She felt there needed to be a stoplight on the street.  She launched a campaign to have a stoplight installed at John Barrow Road and Cloverhill Road.  At the time the City did not have the money for the necessary widening and installation of the light, but was expecting it after the 2003 passage of capital bond improvements.  To make sure the City did not forget her request, Miss Mollie would come to every meeting. Sometimes she would be by herself, other times she would have guests. She was always polite and forceful with grace and humor when she made her plea.

Finally, the effort paid off.  She was actually tasked with flipping the switch to turn on the traffic signal.

Her goal met, Miss Mollie did not stop coming to City Hall.  After sitting through all those meetings, she had found herself interested in a variety of issues. She would attend the City Board meetings, neighborhood meetings, public budget meetings, and just about any other City meeting as a way to learn more. She was contacted by others for advice on how to lobby.   Her efforts were recognized nationally when the Cloverhill/Pennbrook Neighborhood was named Neighborhood of the Year by Neighborhoods USA.

Miss Mollie was as much a fixture at City Hall as city staff and elected officials.  When the holidays rolled around, Miss Mollie would show up at City Hall with individually prepared baggies full of baked goods for City officials.  She was also a fixture at Henderson Middle School as a volunteer.

Throughout her new career in civic engagement, she continued to be devoted to her family, her church, and her friends.  (She would regularly meet with friends she had known since elementary school.)

Following a brief illness, Miss Mollie died in 2016.  But her legacy lives on in the lives she touched and in a stoplight at John Barrow Road and Cloverhill Road.