Ms. Shackelford’s political career began in 1978 when she was appointed to the Board of Directors for the city of Little Rock, Arkansas. She was elected and re-elected city-wide three times before being elected the City’s first woman Mayor. During her tenure in local government, Ms. Shackelford directed liaison activities for minority businesses and held leadership positions in the National League of Cities. Additionally, she presented papers and conducted lecture tours on local government, economic development, and electoral politics nationally and in European and African countries, as well as, leading economic trade missions to Asian countries.
For the past several decades, Ms. Shackelford has worked tirelessly with the Democratic Party and has been a delegate to every Democratic National Convention since 1980. Her national political experience includes senior positions on presidential campaigns, working on a White House transition team, Co-Chair of the 1988 DNC Convention in Atlanta, and a DNC officer for 20 years.
With wide-ranging institutional knowledge and political experience, Ms. Shackelford remains an invaluable asset to the Democratic Party. During her tenure as DNC Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation, Ms. Shackelford traveled across the country and around the world, sharing the Democratic Party’s message and engaging voters in the political process. She regularly participated in political forums in other countries, including Azerbaijan, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria, and observed elections and the electoral process in Romania, the Baltics, West Germany, and Taiwan.
Ms. Shackelford has also been an active member, locally and nationally, of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and has received numerous honors and awards with some of the most coveted being a recipient of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Trailblazer Award in 1980 the Mary Church Terrell Award in 1998 at National Convention, The Delta Legacy Award at the 42nd National Convention. She is also a member of the Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, The Links, Inc., and The Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute.
Ms. Shackelford received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, and was a Senior Fellow at the Arkansas Institute of Politics and a 1983 Fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
She has an extensive record of having served on numerous boards and commissions such as the Board of Directors of Philander Smith College, Southern Regional Council in Atlanta, GA, National Conference on Christians and Jews (now JCA), and the Little Rock Airport Commission.