Willie Stevenson Glanton


"Willie Stevenson Glanton is, indeed, a pioneer in every meaning of the word in respect to the potential of women and minorities; she has succeeded with both competence and grace where the difficulties seemed insuperable."
—Wesley C. Baker, 1986

Willie Stevenson Glanton has been dedicated to the law, human services, and civil rights. Educated in Tennessee and in Washington, D.C., she was admitted to the Iowa Bar in 1953. In the 1960s, the U.S. State Department sent her to Africa and Southeast Asia to compare laws and their application to women in these countries. In the U.S., Glanton was the first woman Assistant Polk County Attorney. She has served as an attorney and equal opportunity advocate with the Small Business Administration since 1966. She is the first African-American female to be elected to the Iowa State Legislature. Glanton has held leadership positions on numerous boards, commissions and councils, and in church, civic, and community organizations. A member of Who's Who in America, she is the first woman and first African American to be elected president of the Iowa Chapter Federal Bar Association and represented that association in a people-to-people tour of China, Finland, and the Soviet Union in 1986. Glanton was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1986.

UPDATE: Glanton soon after went on a work-study mission to Russia and China with a 22-member group of the National Federal Bar Association. Glanton has served as president of the Iowa Federal Bar Association and on the Committee on Women and Minorities--Iowa Bar Association. She has served on the board of directors for the Des Moines General Hospital, Elsie Mason Manor and Ligutti Tower Housing, Golden Circle Incubator, National Conference of Christians and Jews--Iowa, and Mid-City Vision Committee. She is on the board of trustees for Des Moines University. Glanton is also on the President's Commission on Student Diversity, Drake University; Executive Council of the Boy Scouts of America--Mid-Iowa Council; and Greater Des Moines Charter Commission. Glanton received the Legacy Celebration Award for distinguished service as an area and national officer to The Links, Inc., 1993; Young Women's Resource Center Visionary Woman Award, 1991; the Judge Luther T. Glanton Community Service Award for Meritorious Service to the Community at Large, given by Blacks in Government, 1992; and the Legacy Celebration Award from Links, Inc., 1993.