Empowering our Community

We dream of a better tomorrow for communities across our great state. We are a nonprofit committed to improving educational, developmental, health/wellness and economic opportunities for African-American and underserved communities throughout Arkansas.

Celebrating Greatness

Our inductees represent African-American men and women who are among the top echelons of their fields. They are local or even national heroes who have impacted the fields of science, art, social advocacy and many more. We honor those who have achieved great success and blazed trails for generations to come.

A Night to Remember

Each year, we recognize men and women of exceptional character and undeniable talent at one of the state’s premiere fundraising events–the ABHOF Induction Ceremony and Show. The black-tie gala draws an audience of international reach to Little Rock’s Robinson Center Performance Hall, and raises money for our statewide grants program. Join us for our next induction ceremony Saturday, October 26, 2019.

Party with a Purpose

The ABHOF Foundation seeks to further the impact of the annual induction ceremony by providing an environment in which a future generation of African-American achievers with Arkansas roots will thrive and succeed.

Countdown to our next induction ceremony on
October 26, 2019 at 7:00pm

Our Mission

We’ve provided support to nonprofit organizations across the state for 15 years. Learn more about our grants program that has improved the lives of over 200,000 Arkansans.

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Shop our 25th Anniversary Commemorative Book, Seeds of Genius: Twenty-Five Years of the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, and other merchandise to support our mission.

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Inductee Spotlight

We honor the legacy of accomplished African-Americans with Arkansas roots. Our inductees have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields of endeavor and we are proud to acknowledge them with induction into the Arkansas Black of Fame. Here are this year’s honorees. Join us in celebrating their contributions on Saturday, October 26.

Senator Irma Hunter Brown

Trailblazing Legislative Leader

Class of 2019

Inductee Senator Irma Hunter Brown served 24 years in the Arkansas Legislature as the first African-American woman to have been elected to both the Arkansas House of Representatives and to the Arkansas Senate. Her work in the legislature is expansive and impressive, in that she championed many causes that have impacted the community, the city and the state. Senator Brown chaired several committees and received countless awards and recognitions for her tireless work. By trade, she is an educator; by nature, she is a change-agent. She currently serves as president of the Friends of Haven of Rest Cemetery, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the condition and appearance of the cemetery, which is a historically and predominantly black development and the final resting place of several historic African-American Arkansans.

Senator Brown is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; a life member of the Little Rock Chapter of The Links, Inc.; and a member of Union African Methodist Episcopal Church. She has been the wife of Dr. Roosevelt Brown for the past 56 years; they live in Little Rock.

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Mr. Wallace “Wali” Caradine

Pioneering Architect, Contractor & Business Leader

Class of 2019

Posthumous Inductee Wallace “Wali” Reed Caradine (1949-2017) was the first African American graduate from the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, after which he received further training at the Construction Management Institute in Dallas. During the course of his illustrious career, Wali Caradine made significant contributions to the fields of design and construction through his work with a firm in West Memphis and his own businesses, Design and Construction Associates, which became one of the largest minority-owned contracting firms in the state; Woods Caradine Architects; and Caradine Companies Architecture from 2007-2016. Caradine’s footprint can be seen in such impressive structures as The William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library, Verizon (formerly Alltel) Arena, the Arkansas Statehouse Convention Center expansion, multiple projects on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Little Rock Job Corps Campus, the University of Central Arkansas’ Greek Village, the Centre at University Park Adult Leisure Center, the Pathfinder Complex in Jacksonville, and countless other buildings. He was a mentor to several minority contractors in the Central Arkansas area, and as a tool to further his mentorship and to promote networking among local industry professionals, he founded the Arkansas Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors in 1986.

 

Wali was a husband to Dr. Delbra Caradine and father to a son, Reed Caradine, and a daughter, Ashley Caradine.

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Mr. John Donley

Award-winning Screenwriter and Television Producer

Class of 2019

Inductee John Donley is an award-winning television writer and creative entrepreneur whose presence in the industry can be seen in his work as a writer, producer, and executive. He originally studied acting after a stint in the military but soon discovered the market for black actors was very limited, so he turned to scriptwriting. He received his first recognition as a writer when he sold the script “Black Jesus” to CBS for the sitcom “Good Times”. Some of his writing credits include hit shows like “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Who’s the Boss,” “Benson,” “Sanford and Son,” and “The Jeffersons”. He has worked with industry greats such as Bill Cosby (with whom he co-wrote a comedy script) Sinbad, and Curtis Mayfield. He has written three network pilots. Mr. Donley has done work for two of the Big Three television networks, ABC and CBS. He struck a developmental deal with Universal Studios, formed his own production company, and created and produced “The Comedy Game Show” starring Mother Love. He received an NAACP Image Award as the writer for an episode of “Diff’rent Strokes”.

 

Mr. Donley was born in Gould, Arkansas, and today makes his home in Los Angeles. His community service endeavors include teaching writing classes for underprivileged youths.

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Coach Ed Johnson

Legendary Little League Football Coach and Youth Mentor

Class of 2019

Having been Head Coach of the Sunset Tigers Youth Football Organization for the past 48 years, Inductee Edward “Coach Ed” Johnson is believed to be the longest-serving active Community Youth Football Coach in the state of Arkansas. In October 1971, Ed Johnson joined another community leader to organize The Sunset Youth Sports Program in the South End Community of Little Rock. At its inception, the organization consisted of basketball, volleyball and tennis teams. Approached by his brother with an offer to assist him in coaching a youth football team, Coach Ed formed the Sunset Tigers Football Team in 1972. Their home field would be Sunset Park located at 34th and Wolfe streets in the community. Freshly home from the Vietnam War, Coach Ed said in organizing the team he was obeying an order from God. The boys were as good for him in helping him to readjust into society after his well-decorated service to his country as he was for them in a role much like a surrogate father. Johnson coached 27 players who went on to play in the National Football League and 75 college and professional team tryout players. His awards and recognitions are extensive including being inducted into the Mississippi Youth Football Hall of Fame and receiving special recognition by then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton as a recipient of the Arkansas Community Service Award.

 

His military service is marked by two Purple Heart Awards, a Bronze Star Award, a Silver Star Award, a Vietnam Bronze Star Award, and several Presidential Citations. Coach Ed’s team attends church with him and receives guidance and encouragement from him to ensure they remain on the path he believes God has laid for them. He continues to live in the South End Community, the area he has called home since he was 12 years old.

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Ms. Kristin Lewis

Internationally Renowned Opera Star

Class of 2019

Inductee Kristin Lewis is a Little Rock native who has taken the opera world by storm as a lyrico-spinto soprano, best known and praised for her interpretations of composer Giuseppe Verdi‘s operatic heroines. She began her vocal studies and received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. She continued her studies and received her Master of Music degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She is the recipient of a bevy of awards, including Artist of the Year, Oscars of the Opera Award, the Opera Prize, and the Audience Award to name a few. The 2015-16 opera season featured Ms. Lewis in her house debut at Carnegie Hall as Soprano Soloist with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, and she has performed in some of the most prestigious opera houses and theaters in the world, giving life to the works of some of the world’s most renowned composers. She has established the Kristin Lewis Foundation, Inc., to shine a spotlight on younger musicians and to foster the discovery and appreciation of opera and musical cultures. Ms. Lewis is very active in humanitarian work, and she was named an Ambassador for the Red Cross in Austria. She is also a supporter of Animal Care Austria, an animal rescue agency based in Vienna, Austria, where she currently resides.

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Mr. Roscoe Robison

Iconic Gospel/R&B Singer and Recording Artist

Class of 2019

Inductee Roscoe Robinson is a 91-year-old recording artist from Dermott, Arkansas. His career spans several decades and has brought him acclaim in both the gospel and R&B genres. He began as a gospel singer and songwriter. He performed with such noted gospel groups as the Highway QC’s, The Fairfield Four, the Blind Boys of Mississippi, and the Blind Boys of Alabama. He worked with such individual greats as the late Sam Cooke and the late Bobby Womack. Robinson was as good a secular artist as he was a gospel artist, so between the 1960s and the 1980s, he delved into the Rhythm and Blues arena. He left his mark on R&B with several chart-making hits. To celebrate his 90th birthday in May 2018, a New York record company simultaneously released two songs from Robinson, a gospel recording and an R&B recording. Roscoe Robinson has made his home in Birmingham, Alabama, for nearly 50 years.

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Nominations

Arkansas has been called home by men and women representing the best and brightest in their fields. Extend the legacy of an Arkansan who has lived a life committed to excellence. Nominate them to become a part of our next group of inductees into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame! Click below to request more information on how to nominate.

More Information

$1 million in community investments

Your donations and sponsorships have allowed us to make a sizable impact across the state of Arkansas.

240 community organizations impacted through grant awards

Your generosity has supported our mission to award grants to nonprofit organizations with interests in African-American and other underserved communities.

62counties impacted thus far

Your support has helped the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Foundation make a difference in the lives of more than 200,000 Arkansans.

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