The Polk County Women Attorneys Willie Stevenson Glanton Award
Born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Willie Stevenson Glanton was a woman of firsts. By age 11, she knew that she wanted to be a lawyer and “free up people.” Only the second African American woman admitted to practice law in the State of Iowa, she also became the first African American woman to be appointed a city clerk (1953), assistant county attorney (1955), to serve in the state legislature (1964) and to serve on the Des Moines city council (1980). She “wanted to make an impact for black and women’s rights, which are historically intertwined,” and “felt that our black children needed more black images in politics to stir their interests.” She practiced law with her husband in the 1960s, when women attorneys were rare. She worked in private practice, followed by 22 years of service in the Des Moines office of the Small Business Administration. She was an advocate and an activist. Speaking of her youth, Willie said, “We learned that no matter how much education we had, we must help others, reach back and help our community. If we don’t do that, we have accomplished nothing. The goal is always to improve our community, wherever we happen to be."
2020 Award Recipient
Now Accepting Nominations for the
2022 Willie Stevenson Glanton Award