Charles E. Bussey
Born in Stamps, Arkansas December 18, 1918, Charles was the eldest child of Annie and Charles Bussey. Educated in the Stamps public schools, he attended Bishop College in Texas. He served in the United States Army and was a 33rd Degree Mason.
Having spent most of his adult life in the Little Rock political arena, he was both “pathfinder” and “trailblazer” in many areas of public service. He was the first African-American elected official to serve on the City Board of Directors since reconstruction, serving from 1969-1976, and then again from 1979-1990. He also became the first African-American deputy sheriff and the first African-American mayor, serving from November 1981 through December 1982.
Charles Bussey was elected to the Board of Directors of the Arkansas Municipal League and the U.S. League of Cities. He organized and produced the television show, “Center Stage” and was influential in negotiating the formation of the Black Access Channel 14. Some of Mr. Bussey’s other affiliations include past President of the Arkansas Lung Association, West Little Rock Rotary Club, Arkansas Livestock Association, Shriners and Elks.
Much of his life was devoted to the development of programs for children and youth. He was an organizer of the Junior Deputy Sheriffs where he managed baseball teams and other activities to keep young people off the streets. Pathfinders named “The Charles Bussey Youth and Day Care Center” located at Daisy Gatson Bates Drive and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in his honor.
As a recipient of numerous honors and awards not mentioned here, his greatest achievement was winning the heart of Mrs. Maggie B. Clark Bussey for over 50 years. They became the proud and loving parents of two sons, Charles Larry and Carl William. On June 15, 1996, at St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center where he served on the Board of Directors, Charles L. Bussey, Sr. blazed a trail to the gates of Heaven.