Sponsor support and ticket sales benefit the foundation’s annual grants program. In 2023, the foundation awarded more than $55,000 to 18 organizations throughout the state. Since 2010, ABHOF has awarded more than $715,000 in grant to Arkansas nonprofits, impacting Arkansans in 69 of Arkansas’s 75 counties.
This year’s class of inductees include:
Rev. Jerry Black – Blytheville The senior pastor at Beulah Missionary Church in Decatur, Georgia, Rev. Black began his ministerial journey in music when he began playing the piano at the age of eight. He served as pastor of the Greater Paradise Baptist Church in Little Rock, where he grew the members from 17 members to 3,000 over his 15 years.
Ronda Henry-Tillman, MD – Blytheville Dr. Henry-Tillman is professor and vice chair of the Department of Surgery, Division Chief of the Breast Surgical Oncology Division and a world-renowned breast cancer surgeon at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.
Curtis Howse – Little Rock As Chief Executive Officer of the Home & Auto Platform for Synchrony, Howse leads a $30 billion business platform offering comprehensive financial solutions across a broad network of home and auto merchants. He also helped create the Synchrony Black Experience Plus Network (BE+), which fuels the aspirations of minority and marginalized groups. These include women, people of color and the LBGTQ+ community within the industry.
James H. Leary – Little Rock Born into a family of musicians, Leary continued the legacy by becoming a world-class musician, composer and arranger. He has spent decades performing, recording and touring the world with musical notables such as the Count Basie Orchestra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Liza Minelli, Buddy rich, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Harris, The Boston Pops with John Williams, Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Theolonius Monk and many more.
Judge Joyce Williams Warren – Pine Bluff Judge Warren is best known for her tireless work as a juvenile judge who formed, joined, and led collaborative efforts to improve the lives of Arkansas children and families. Her list of firsts includes being Arkansas’ first black female judge, first black person ever elected to an Arkansas state-level trial court judgeship, first black law clerk for the Arkansas Supreme Court, first black female appointee and first black Chairperson to serve on the Arkansas State Board of Law Examiners, first black person to be elected to the Arkansas Judicial Council Board of Directors, first black president of the Arkansas Judicial Council and first black person to receive the Outstanding Jurist Award from the Arkansas Bar Association and the Arkansas Bar Foundation in 2021.
Harvey P. Wiley Sr. – Little Rock Appointed in 1994, Wiley was the first African American to serve as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at the Senior Executive level in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Consolidated Farm Service Agency (CFSA). Notably, Wiley holds the distinction of being the first black person to be appointed to all the positions he held in the federal government. While working full-time, he was an adjunct faculty member at several colleges and universities and made many significant contributions in the field of Financial Management training. Eventually working at the USDA Graduate School, he redefined their entire curriculum and created the “Chief Financial Officers Council Fellows Program”.
The 29th annual ceremony will be held on October 14 at Robinson Center. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster (link: Arkansas Black Hall of Fame 29th Induction Ceremony & Show Tickets Oct 14, 2023 Little Rock, AR | Ticketmaster)