Dorothy Stuck (1921–2021)
Dorothy Stuck became a newspaper publisher, civic activist, and governmental official in the latter half of the twentieth century. Both as a private citizen and journalist, she was a consistent and unwavering voice calling for equal rights for all in Arkansas in the 1950s and 1960s.
Dorothy Willard Davis was born on February 5, 1921, in Gravette (Benton County) to Floyd Davis and Mimi Davis. She spent most of her youth in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and graduated from high school there in 1939. She then returned to Arkansas to attend the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County), from which she graduated in 1943. While at UA, she majored in history and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, serving for nine years as editor of the sorority’s national magazine, The Arrow. After graduation, she spent the next three years working as a high school history teacher. In 1946, she married Howard Stuck; the couple had a son.
Stuck and her husband published three eastern Arkansas newspapers, the Marked Tree Tribune, the Lepanto News Record, and the Truman Democrat. However, just a few years into their marriage, Howard became ill, and Dorothy had to take on a significantly bigger role, becoming editor of the Marked Tree Tribune in 1950, a post she held for two decades. She soon became a leader in the local newspaper community and was a charter member of the Arkansas Press Women, serving as the group’s president in 1953. She was awarded the Press Woman of the Year Award in 1964 and 1969. During that same time period, Stuck served as director of the University of Arkansas Alumni Association as well as a delegate representing Poinsett County at the 1969 Arkansas Constitutional Convention. She chaired the Suffrage and Election Committee, being the only woman to chair a major committee.
In 1970, Stuck resigned as editor of the Tribune and moved to Dallas, Texas, to take a job as the regional director of the Office of Civil Rights for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). Serving until 1979, she was responsible for ensuring that public schools, institutions of higher learning, and state health organizations followed the department’s regulations concerning desegregation. She was also responsible for the implementation of Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which provided equal opportunities for women in education. In 1974, Stuck received HEW’s Distinguished Service Award, the department’s highest civilian award, for her leadership in the area of civil rights. She also chaired the Dallas–Fort Worth Federal Executive Board, the first woman to hold the position.
In 1981 (the same year her husband died), she and her friend and fellow activist Nan Snow established a management and publications consulting firm, Stuck & Snow Resultants. Snow said that it was Stuck’s idea to use the term “resultants” as opposed to “consultants” because they intended to be consultants who got results for their clients. Stuck and Snow also co-authored a biography of J. William Fulbright’s mother, titled Roberta: A Most Remarkable Fulbright, which was published in 1997.
In 1992, Stuck and Snow were among the original members of the Arkansas Travelers, a group of Arkansans—many of whom, like Stuck and Snow, had known Bill and Hillary Clinton for years—who gathered to travel around the country on behalf Bill Clinton’s fledgling presidential campaign. She and Hillary Clinton had met in 1981 and later served together on the board of the Southern Development Bancorporation. Stuck actively supported Clinton’s 2008 and 2016 presidential campaigns.
In 2008, Stuck received the University of Arkansas’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and she was inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017. In June 2021, she was honored at the conference of the National Federation of Press Women for her long career. She lived in Little Rock (Pulaski County) until her death on July 1, 2021.
For additional information:
“Dorothy Stuck.” Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame. http://www.arwomenshalloffame.com/dorothy-stuck/ (accessed July 4, 2021).
“Dorothy Stuck: A 100-Year Beautiful Life. Arkansas Press Women, July 3, 2021. https://arkansaspresswomen.org/dorothy-stuck-a-100-year-beautiful-life/ (accessed July 4, 2021).
Dorothy D. Stuck Papers. Special Collections. University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville, Arkansas. Online at https://uark.as.atlas-sys.com/repositories/2/resources/897 (accessed July 4, 2021).
Vrbin, Tess. “100-Year-Old Arkansas Activist Dies.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, July 4, 2021, p. 2B. Online at https://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2021/jul/04/100-year-old-arkansas-activist-dies/ (accessed July 4, 2021).
William H. Pruden III
Last Updated: 07/04/2021