Museum honors Arthur Bea as Legend of North Texas

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL)—The Museum of North Texas History will be naming Arthur Bea Williams a Legend of North Texas.

“She has blazed trails for the rest of us to follow,” Arthur Bea Williams’ close friend Rosie Flanigan said. “Trails that at some times in our lives we would’ve thought would’ve been impossible to achieve.”

“I’m really glad that I could be that person, I suspect that there are many more but we need to find them and get somebody to acknowledge them,” Williams said.

The name Arthur Bea Williams is known to almost every Texoma because of the barriers she broke.

Williams was the first African American city councilor, the first African American judge and the first African American justice of the peace.

“I opened the door to the possibility for every other woman who held that job after definitely in Wichita Falls, Wichita County,” Williams said.

She is also the first African American female to serve as mayor of Wichita Falls, filling the slot after the city’s first recall election.

“Who would have thought that in Wichita Falls we would’ve had a black mayor,” Flanigan said laughing. “And an effective one, you know it’s a difference in being something and being effective.”

This is what Williams had to say about the positions she held.

“A lot of things are being qualified and being there at the right time and seeing a door that was locked and pushing on it find out who’s behind it and walking on in if it was available,” Williams said. “But I don’t think I ever got a job or an appointment to do a job that I couldn’t do.”

Williams was inducted in the North Texas Women’s Hall of Fame and was named 2001 Wichitan of the Year and soon she will be named a Legend of North Texas by the Museum of North Texas History.

“She has shown us the way, she just didn’t say go out and plow the ground she actually plows it, and once she plowed it she was able to reap the harvest of those things and as she reaped, she shared the benefits of those things with our community,” Flanigan said.

Even though she is now retired, Arthur Bea Williams still does much for the community through charitable work and her love for children.

“Wichita Falls has been really good to me and I hope that when I am no longer here everybody can remember me and say she has been good to Wichita Falls,”

Williams will be the fifth Legend of North Texas after people like Nat Flemming, Joe Tom White and more.

Event details:

  • The Forum, 2120 Speedway Ave
  • Tuesday, Oct, 15
  • Social hour: 5:30 p.m., dinner: 6:30 p.m.
  • Tickets: $50 each, $45 for museum members, $360 for a table eight

Also, at Tuesday’s city council meeting, Arthur Bea will receive a city proclamation naming October 15 “Arthur Bea Day”.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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