RobinsoNovember: Emily Miller

emilyFrom January 1940 until December 1971, Emily Miller served on the Robinson Auditorium Commission.  She was the longest serving member of that body and had one of the longest tenures of any person on any City of Little Rock commission.  In keeping with the times, she was always referred to publicly as Mrs. Grady Miller. Probably the only time she was ever listed in a newspaper as Emily Sturges Miller was her obituary in 1993.

Born in Ohio in 1903, she studied at Smith College in Massachusetts. In 1925, she visited Washington DC for the presidential inauguration of Calvin Coolidge. While there she met Grady Miller, who was the brother-in-law of Senator Joseph T. Robinson.  After marrying Mr. Miller, she moved to Arkansas and made it her home for the next seven decades.

Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, she was active in the PTA, Junior League of Little Rock, and Colonial Dames.  Mrs. Miller was also active in Second Presbyterian Church.  As her two children became older, she and her husband traveled extensively.

Because she was related to Senator Robinson’s widow, Mayor J. V. Satterfield asked Mrs. Miller to serve on the Auditorium Commission.  She was subsequently reappointed every time her term came up.  For the 1940 ribbon cutting, Mrs. Miller joined her sister-in-law and Mayor Satterfield on the stage.  They were the only participants.  (It had been Mrs. Miller who informed Mrs. Robinson of her husband’s death.  Mr. Miller had called Mrs. Miller, who was visiting family in Ohio at the time, to inform her.  She then called her sister-in-law to extend her sympathies, not realizing that no one had yet informed Mrs. Robinson who was in Little Rock preparing for a trip.)

Several decades later as a Sunday School teacher in her late 60s, Mrs. Miller was not in favor of the musical HAIR being performed at Robinson.  When a federal judge ruled that it had to be allowed, Mrs. Miller was the only member of the Auditorium Commission who would speak to the press. Her response is one of the Culture Vulture’s favorite statements ever made to a member of the media.  “Oh dear,” was her only reply. She refused further elaboration.  While the Commission was wrong in opposing the show, the fact that none of her fellow commissioners (all men) would speak to the press, shows a lot of moxie on her behalf.


Little Rock Women’s History Month – Lucy D. Dixon

Lucy DixonKnown professionally as Mrs. Edgar F. Dixon (in an era when married women were listed publicly by their husband’s names), Lucy D. Dixon was elected to the Little Rock City Board of Directors in November 1957.  Though not noted at the time, her election was historic.  She was the first woman elected to a municipal office in Little Rock who had not first succeeded her husband.  Prior to her service on the City Board, Mrs. Dixon had served on the Little Rock School Board.  She was secretary of that body during the 1957 desegregation crisis.

Lucy Ann Dulin was born in Hensley in 1904.  She moved to Little Rock and graduated from Little Rock High School (then located on Scott Street) and attended the University of Arkansas.  From 1927 until 1935, she worked for her family’s business – Dulin Bauxite Company.  She returned to the company in 1941 and worked there until 1950.  She later served on the company’s board of directors.

Beginning in 1935, she became involved with the PTA and rose to the position of National Secretary in 1949, serving for three years in that position. As a PTA officer, she visited thirty-six of the then forty-eight states.

Among her other leadership positions were executive vice chair of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Education, trustee of Little Rock Junior College (now UALR), delegate to the White House Conference on Children and Youth, delegate to White House Conference on Education, Pulaski County Welfare Board, and Little Rock Planning Commission.  She was also active in many Methodist organizations.  In 1953, she was the Arkansas Democrat Woman of the Year.

Married to Edgar F. Dixon, she had three children: Philip Edgar, Barbara and Mimi.  She died in January 1996 at age of 91.