- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton was named Monday as one of the first inductees to the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame, joining a class that includes a civil rights leader, a Wal-Mart heiress and the first woman elected to the United States Senate.

Organizers of the hall said the former secretary of state, who served 12 years as the state’s first lady, was among 11 women and one organization that would be the first inducted at a ceremony in downtown Little Rock on Aug. 27. The hall is a partnership between the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Business Publishing Group.

“It certainly is long overdue that we recognize the extraordinary history of women in Arkansas’ history, its leadership and its problem solving,” Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said at a news conference at the Capitol to announce the inductees.

Other inductees to the hall include Alice Walton, the daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and the founder of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, and Daisy Bates, the civil rights activist who mentored the nine black students who desegregated Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The hall’s class also includes Hattie Caraway, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate for a full term.

The hall will also honor the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools, which was formed in response to Gov. Orval Faubus’ closing of Little Rock’s high schools rather than integrate them.

Nan Snow, the chairwoman of the hall’s board of directors, said 73 women were nominated to the hall. The hall of fame doesn’t have a physical structure, but organizers said they planned to unveil an interactive traveling exhibit that features this year’s inductees. Snow said Clinton and the other living inductees had been invited to the August event, but didn’t know if the former secretary of state would attend. Snow said the hall plans to announce new inductees every year.

“We feel like we have a lot of catching up to do because other states have had women’s hall of fames for years,” Snow said.

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Online:

Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame: www.ARwomenshalloffame.com

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