Betty Bumpers

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Betty Bumpers
Betty Bumpers was pictured with Bill Clinton and Dale Bumpers 1999.jpg
Bumpers in 1999
First Lady of Arkansas
In role
January 12, 1971 January 3, 1975
Governor Dale Bumpers
Preceded byJeannette Edris Rockefeller
Succeeded byClaudia Riley (acting) [1]
Personal details
Betty Lou Flanagan

(1925-01-11)January 11, 1925
Grand Prairie Community
Franklin County
, U.S.
DiedNovember 23, 2018(2018-11-23) (aged 93)
Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
Dale Bumpers
(m. 1949;died 2016)
Known forAdvocacy for immunizations and world peace

Betty Lou Bumpers (née Flanagan; January 11, 1925 – November 23, 2018) was an American politician, advocate for childhood immunizations, and world peace activist, who served as the First Lady of Arkansas from 1971 to 1975. [2] Together, she and Rosalynn Carter ran a successful campaign to ensure that all American school children were immunized. Bumpers was also the wife of the late Dale Bumpers, the governor of Arkansas from 1971 to 1975 and then U.S. Senator from 1975 to 1999. [3] [4]

Immunization process by which an individuals immune system becomes fortified against an agent

Immunization, or immunisation, is the process by which an individual's immune system becomes fortified against an agent.

World peace Ideal of freedom, peace, and happiness among and within all nations and people

World peace, or peace on Earth, is the concept of an ideal state of happiness, freedom and peace within and among all people and nations on earth. It can also be referred to as a global process of maintaining the environment of the Earth not less than when it used to have no any existence of war or violence.This idea of world non-violence is one motivation for people and nations to willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that objects it will be solved by love and peace. Different cultures, religions, philosophies and organisations have varying concepts on how such a state would come about.

First Lady honorary title of the wife of a president or head of state

First Lady is an unofficial title used for the wife of a non-monarchical head of state or chief executive. The term is also used to describe a woman seen to be at the top of her profession or art.


Early life

Bumpers was born in the Grand Prairie community in Franklin County, Arkansas, to salesman and auctioneer Herman Edward "Babe" Flanagan and his wife, the former Ola Callans, a teacher. [5] [6] She grew up in Franklin County, except for a period during World War II when her family lived in Fort Smith and in the state of Iowa. [5]

Franklin County, Arkansas County in the United States

Franklin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Arkansas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,125. The county has two county seats, Charleston and Ozark. The county was formed on December 19, 1837, and named for Benjamin Franklin, American statesman. To the north of the Arkansas River, which bisects Franklin County, the county is wet and alcohol is sold in liquor stores, bars and local vineyards. To the south of the Arkansas River, the county is dry.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Fort Smith, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Fort Smith is the second-largest city in Arkansas and one of the two county seats of Sebastian County. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 86,209. With an estimated population of 88,037 in 2017, it is the principal city of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area, a region of 298,592 residents that encompasses the Arkansas counties of Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian, and the Oklahoma counties of Le Flore and Sequoyah.

After studying at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and Iowa State University, [7] she taught elementary school. [8] In 1949 she married Dale Bumpers, a high school classmate who was then in law school at Northwestern University. [9] After her husband finished law school, the couple settled in Charleston, Arkansas, where Dale Bumpers practiced law and Betty worked as an elementary school teacher. [3] They had three children. [3] [9]

Iowa State University public research university in Ames, Iowa, United States

Iowa State University of Science and Technology, generally referred to as Iowa State, is a public land-grant and space-grant research university located in Ames, Iowa, United States. It is the largest university in the state of Iowa and the third largest university in the Big 12 athletic conference. Iowa State is classified as a research university with "highest research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Iowa State is also a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), which consists of 60 leading research universities in North America.

Law school institution specializing in legal education

A law school is an institution specializing in legal education, usually involved as part of a process for becoming a lawyer within a given jurisdiction.

Northwestern University Private research university in Illinois, United States

Northwestern University (NU) is a private research university based in Evanston, Illinois, United States, with other campuses located in Chicago and Doha, Qatar, and academic programs and facilities in Miami, Florida; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco, California. Along with its undergraduate programs, Northwestern is known for its Kellogg School of Management, Pritzker School of Law, Feinberg School of Medicine, Bienen School of Music, Medill School of Journalism, and McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Advocacy for childhood immunization

In 1970, Dale Bumpers was elected governor and after his inauguration in 1971, she became the state's first lady. [5] In that role, she decided to focus on the well-being of children and families. [3]

Responding to Arkansas' having one of the lowest rates of childhood immunization in the United States, she initiated a statewide campaign to immunize all of the state's children against childhood diseases. [9] Her Every Child by '74 program, which involved cooperative effort by state government, professional organizations of doctors and nurses, the Arkansas National Guard, the University of Arkansas extension service, faith-based organizations, and other volunteers. [3] [4] It was a very successful campaign, delivering immunizations to over 350,000 children on just one Saturday near its peak. [9] As a result of the program, the state attained one of the highest childhood immunization rates of any U.S. state. The Arkansas program was adopted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a model for nationwide use. [3] [4]

Arkansas National Guard Component of the US National Guard of the state of Arkansas

The Arkansas National Guard comprises both the Arkansas Army National Guard and Arkansas Air National Guard. The state functions of the National Guard range from limited actions during non-emergency situations to full scale law enforcement of martial law when local law enforcement officials can no longer maintain civil control. The National Guard may be called into federal service by the President.

University of Arkansas public research university in Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA

The University of Arkansas is a public land-grant, research university in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It is the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System and the largest, best-known university in the state. Founded as Arkansas Industrial University in 1871, its present name was adopted in 1899 and classes were first held on January 22, 1872. It is noted for its strong architecture, agriculture, business, communication disorders, creative writing, history, law, and Middle Eastern studies programs.

Agricultural extension is the application of scientific research and new knowledge to agricultural practices through farmer education. The field of 'extension' now encompasses a wider range of communication and learning activities organized for rural people by educators from different disciplines, including agriculture, agricultural marketing, health, and business studies.

Dale Bumpers entered the U.S. Senate in 1975, and the couple moved to Washington, D.C.. [9] Two years later, when Jimmy Carter arrived in Washington as the new President, Betty Bumpers sought his support for a nationwide program of childhood immunization and enlisted the assistance of First Lady Rosalynn Carter. [3] [4] After finding only a small number of states required children to be immunized before entering school, the two women joined forces and undertook a campaign to convince every state to adopt this requirement. [9] After just two years of advocacy work focused on individual state governments, they achieved their goal of having all 50 U.S. states require immunization for school entry. [4] [9]

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is also one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.

Jimmy Carter 39th president of the United States

James Earl Carter Jr. is an American politician and philanthropist who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A Democrat, he previously served as a Georgia State senator from 1963 to 1967 and as the 76th governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. Carter has remained active in public life during his post-presidency, and in 2002 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in co-founding the Carter Center.

President of the United States Head of state and of government of the United States

President of the United States (POTUS) is the title for the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.

A measles epidemic in 1989-1991 that killed more than two hundred children led to a new collaboration between Bumpers and Carter. [10] Concerned that preschool children were vulnerable to preventable illnesses because they were not getting immunized on schedule, they founded the organization Every Child By Two, with the aim of assuring immunizations for all American children by the age of two. [11] Bumpers said that the group's efforts to establish outreach programs and immunization registers in each state had contributed to an immunization rate of 90 percent for children from birth to age two in 2012. [4] [9]

Bumpers with President Jimmy Carter at the White House Betty Bumpers and Jimmy Carter.tif
Bumpers with President Jimmy Carter at the White House

A 1981 conversation with her college-student daughter Brooke inspired Bumpers to become a peace activist, focused on ending the nuclear weapons race. [3] While driving together to Washington, D.C., they crossed the Clinch River, the namesake of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project, leading Brooke to ask her mother what the family would do in a nuclear war or the aftermath of a nuclear disaster. [9] Bumpers' light-hearted response of "Well, honey, I guess we’d just go back to Arkansas" did not silence her daughter, who responded "Don’t be so stupid, Mother," and asked what would happen if Arkansas was destroyed. [9] The realization her daughter considered nuclear war to be a real threat to her future motivated Bumpers to start a campaign for peace. [9] [12]

After discussing the matter with her fellow Senate wives and other like-minded women in Washington, Bumpers decided to work to bring mainstream American women into the campaign for a nuclear weapons freeze, building on her earlier experience with grassroots volunteer activism. [3] She started the organization Peace Links in Little Rock in 1982, Peace Links worked with established women's groups such as garden clubs, parent teacher associations, and church organizations to educate women about the consequences of the nuclear arms race and to engage them in campaigning for world peace. [9] [12] [13] Within a short time, Peace Links expanded beyond Arkansas and counted some 30,000 members around the United States. [3] [9] It operated as a national organization for nearly 20 years, disbanding in 2001 after the end of the Cold War. [3] [9]

Later life

Bumpers, Bill Clinton, and Dale Bumpers in 1999 Bill Clinton and Dale and Betty Bumpers 1999.jpg
Bumpers, Bill Clinton, and Dale Bumpers in 1999

In their later years, the Bumpers lived in Little Rock, Arkansas. [14] She and Rosalynn Carter continued to be involved with the leadership of Every Child By Two in her later years. [9] Her husband of 66 years Dale Bumpers died of complications from Alzheimer's disease in January 2016. [15]

On November 23, 2018, Bumpers died from complications of dementia and a broken hip in Little Rock at the age of 93. [14]

Awards and recognitions

The National Institutes of Health Vaccine Research Center was named for Betty and Dale Bumpers in recognition of their efforts to promote childhood immunizations and vaccine research. [3]

Among the awards that Bumpers received were:

In 1994, Peace Links gave her a special Peace Links Founders Award. [13] In 1995, she and her husband shared the Maxwell Finland Award of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases; in 1998, they shared the March of Dimes Citizen of the Year Award, recognizing their commitment to children's health and polio eradication. [16] The couple also were joint recipients of the Excellence in Public Service Award of the American Academy of Pediatrics. [16]

Bumpers received honorary degrees from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas; the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and the University of Massachusetts. [16] [18]

See also

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  1. Lockwood, Frank (2016-01-03). "1st lady for 11 days, Claudia Riley dies; Arkadelphian a Democrat stalwart". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette . Archived from the original on 2018-11-24. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  2. Bowden, Bill (2018-11-24). "Betty Bumpers, Arkansas' former first lady, dies: She advocated for vaccinations, peace". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette . Archived from the original on 2018-11-26. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 "Betty Bumpers (1925–)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Betty Bumpers". National Women's Hall of Fame.
  5. 1 2 3 "Betty Bumpers Interviews". PryorCenter. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  6. Barnes, Steve (November 24, 2018). "Betty Bumpers, Campaigner for Childhood Vaccinations, Dies at 93". New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  7. The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture states she attended the University of Iowa.
  8. "President Clinton to Visit University of Arkansas". University of Arkansas Newswire. April 9, 2012.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Martin, Karen (June 1, 2012). "Betty Bumpers On Her Lifetime of Service and Volunteerism".
  10. "NIH Dedicates New Vaccine Research Center to Dale and Betty Bumpers President Clinton Delivers Keynote Address". AIDS Info. June 9, 1999.
  11. "About Us". Vaccinate Your Family. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  12. 1 2 Lindenmeyer, Kriste (2000). Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives: Women in American History. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 251–253. ISBN   9780842027540.
  13. 1 2 "Former Arkansas first lady Betty Bumpers dies at 93". Arkansas Online. November 23, 2018.
  14. Brown, Michael H. (January 2, 2016). "Dale Bumpers, Arkansas politician and barbed wit of the Senate, dies at 90". The Washington Post. ISSN   0190-8286 . Retrieved January 5, 2016.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Betty Bumpers' Awards and Recognitions". Every Child By Two. Archived from the original on February 22, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
  16. National Women's Hall of Fame, Betty Bumpers
  17. "Institute Welcomes New Board of Directors". United States Institute of Peace. Retrieved October 10, 2012.
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Jeannette Edris Rockefeller
First Lady of Arkansas
Succeeded by
Claudia Riley