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Miss America Walk Historical Markers

Located in Atlantic City, New Jersey
 
Barbara Walker Marker image, Touch for more information
By Devry Becker Jones, July 24, 2020
Barbara Walker Marker
1New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Barbara Walker — Memphis, TN — Miss America 1947 —
"I'm sure being Miss America has broadened my experience, but I have actually enjoyed being a former Miss America more than the year I reigned. Being on display was not my 'thing.' The most positive outcome has been my long association with a . . . Map (db m153499) HM
2New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — BeBe Shopp — Hopkins, MN — Miss America 1948 —
"Of course you can't compare it [the pageant] to the Olympics and yet it does call for a great deal of training and self-discipline....Sometimes girls don't realize it just isn't surface beauty.... But when it instills incentive in young girls to . . . Map (db m153490) HM
3New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Bette Cooper — Bertrand Island, NJ — Miss America 1937 —
"Cooper entered the Pageant on a lark and never expected to win. She was only eighteen, and about to enter her senior year at a private day school in the rural New Jersey community of Hackettstown. Cooper was stunned by her victory. She had no . . . Map (db m153510) HM
4New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Carolyn Sapp — Honolulu, HI — Miss America 1992 —
"Learning happens in a cooperative environment....It's parents working together with their kids, their teachers, and everyone in the community. Education is everyone's business… The only way we will improve education in this big country of ours . . . Map (db m153526) HM
5New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Cheryl Prewitt — Akerman, MS — Miss America 1980 —
"I walked with a limp for six years. Then five years ago, when I was 17, my parents took me to a healing service. That meeting changed my life!…Yes, I believe in miracles. My being Miss America is proof that miracles do still happen. Nothing can . . . Map (db m153544) HM
6New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Colleen Hutchins — Salt Lake City, UT — Miss America 1952 —
"At almost 26, the oldest girl to become Miss America…says 'My career was already on its way prior to becoming Miss America. I had graduated from the Pasadena Playhouse and was completing my doctorate in theater at the University of Utah. After . . . Map (db m153487) HM
7New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Debbye Turner — Columbia, MO — Miss America 1990 —
"I grew up in a single-parent, lower middle class home. And veterinary medicine, one of the most expensive professional jobs out there. I knew I needed help to reach that goal."1 "I won Miss America because I practiced that marimba for . . . Map (db m153529) HM
8New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Deborah Bryant — Overland Park, KS — Miss America 1966 —
"Being Miss America impacted on my life in a most positive way. It financed my education and afforded me the opportunity to travel and develop communications skills. On the negative side, it probably distracted me from completing my premed studies . . . Map (db m153472) HM
9New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Debra Barnes — Pittsburg, KS — Miss America 1968 —
"'It sounds corny and trite…but the main thing I'm looking for is meeting people. I love people.' She smiled as she told how the people there (Moran, Kansas, pop. 550) raised $1,300 for the fare so that her father…and sister could attend the . . . Map (db m153470) HM
10New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Debra Muffett — Anaheim, CA — Miss America 1983 —
"Prior to becoming Miss America, I had to overcome a fear of failure syndrome and stage fright....It took me six years to gain confidence in myself. Basically my message is not to give up."1 "I just felt that there had to be . . . Map (db m153541) HM
11New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Donna Axum — El Dorado, AR — Miss America 1964 —
"When Bert Parks called out my name it changed my life forever. It gave me the opportunity to advance my career. Instant celebrity sometimes throws up communication barriers and you have to work twice as hard to get past that, but once you do the . . . Map (db m153474) HM
12New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Dorothy Benham — Edina, MN — Miss America 1977 —
"The public only hears about Miss Americas like Bess Myerson and Phyllis George, who are in the public eye.... There are dozens of Miss Americas who are doctors, lawyers and college professors. They succeeded, too, proving that the whole idea of . . . Map (db m153460) HM
13New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Elizabeth Ward — Russelville, AR — Miss America 1982 —
"'This will be a memorable year, I'm sure. When it's over, I plan to return to college and I'll be ready to do that.' When asked if she was in favor of the ERA, she answered, 'I'm for equal rights but not for the amendment. I'm . . . Map (db m153542) HM
14New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Evelyn Ay — Ephrata, PA — Miss America 1954 —
"Each day I live a day of success and satisfaction.... I wrestled with the career versus marriage question for the entire Miss America year. The decision, after complete evaluation of life and what it means to me, what I wanted from it: . . . Map (db m153485) HM
15New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Fay Lanphier — Oakland, CA — Miss America 1925 —
"I am the oldest of the family, [and] have four brothers and a sister. My mother is a widow and so I am the main support. I did clerical work, but at the time hoped that I might better myself....I went to high school and business college in . . . Map (db m153515) HM
16New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Frances Burke — Philadelphia, PA — Miss America 1940 —
"A career in big-time modeling and movies was there for the taking. But soon after, Fran Burke turned away. She went back home to Philadelphia, eventually marrying a high school sweetheart…and began to raise a family. Fran deliberately chose . . . Map (db m153505) HM
17New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Heather Whitestone — Birmingham, AL — Miss America 1995 —
"'I believe that God allowed me to be Miss America because He has a purpose for my life....I want to challenge the children of America to be the best they can be.... With positive self-esteem, hard work, adream, willingness to work, and facing . . . Map (db m153523) HM
18New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Jacque Mercer — Litchfield, AZ — Miss America 1949 —
"I feel like a Cinderella for a day that lasted a year.... I didn't make a million dollars as so many people think. But I have a million dollars worth of memories and experience which will grow more valuable every year.... Marriage first, career . . . Map (db m153489) HM
19New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Jacqueline Mayer — Sandusky, OH — Miss America 1963 —
"Despite what happened to me, in many ways I feel very lucky. If I had my stroke [at age 28], I think I would have just lived on and on without really doing anything interesting or challenging with my life. I've been through good times and bad . . . Map (db m153475) HM
20New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Jane Jayroe — Laverne, OK — Miss America 1967 —
"Prepare yourself for whatever you want to do in life. If pageants happen to be part of that, fine. However, it shouldn't be a primary goal, because you can't have a career as a beauty queen....I admire the traditional woman, those with style. . . . Map (db m153471) HM
21New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Jean Bartel — Los Angeles, CA — Miss America 1943 —
"I was the first college girl to be crowned Miss America. Because of my affiliation with the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, I was invited to college campuses with Lenora (who was my chaperon). The idea for a Miss America scholarship resulted, I was . . . Map (db m153502) HM
22New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Jo-Carroll Dennison — Tyler, TX — Miss America, 1942 —
"I was very immature in too many ways when in my early 20s… I didn't settle down to domesticity until I was 30, I doubt that I could have.... Now I know what will make me happy, but without having worked, doing my jobs, traveling a great deal, . . . Map (db m153503) HM
23New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Judith Ford — Belvidere, IL — Miss America 1969 —
"I do not feel that Miss America is the 'ideal' American girl. Each person has his own idea of what is ideal and no one girl could possible represent America's ideal, 'Nor do I feel that Miss America is the 'average' American girl....In my opinion, . . . Map (db m153468) HM
24New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Kate Shindle — Evanston, IL — Miss America 1998 —
"With regard to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the contextual political issues are somewhat controversial… We need health education programs which acknowledge and showcase the many, many benefits of abstinence, but also listen to the . . . Map (db m153520) HM
25New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Kaye Lani Rae Rafko — Monroe, MI — Miss America 1988 —
"I've worked hard for everything in my lifetime. Nothing was handed to me on a silver platter. I come from a middle class family, and I paid for my nursing education myself."1 "Does she consider herself a feminist? 'It depends on . . . Map (db m153531) HM
26New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Kellye Cash — Memphis, TN — Miss America 1987 —
"My main objective would be to be an excellent public servant for the pageant, which is something I believe in so strongly. The pageant is about being an all-around girl. You just can't be good in talent. I worked hard in all areas and I think it . . . Map (db m153532) HM
27New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Kimberly Aiken — Columbia, SC — Miss America 1994 —
"Far too many people in our country have no place they can call home. Millions of men, women and children live in poverty, unable to satisfy their most basic needs: housing, food, clothing ad proper health care....We must break the cycle of . . . Map (db m153524) HM
28New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Kylene Barker — Roanoke, VA — Miss America 1979 —
"I graduated with a degree in apparel design and fashion merchandising at VPI and SU in Virginia. I was a cheerleader all four years there, and also instructed cheerleading clinics during the summers. I was with Golden . . . Map (db m153458) HM
29New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Laurel Lea Schaefer — Bexley, OH — Miss America 1972 —
"Even before I became Miss America, I had completed my college training with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater arts and music, and had a resume detailing my private studies in voice, dance and acting, as well as impressive performing credits. . . . Map (db m153465) HM
30New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Leanza Cornett — Jacksonville, FL — Miss America 1993 —
"At twenty-one years old I've been able to lobby on capitol Hill, address members of Congress, speak at assemblies and talk to ordinary people all over the country about the vital issue of AIDS awareness and prevention. I've gone . . . Map (db m153525) HM
31New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Lee Meriwether — San Francisco, CA — Miss America 1955 —
"After I relinquish my crown next September to another American girl, I plan to take the $5,000 educational scholarship I won with my title, and realize another ambition, which is to continue my dramatic education at the Pasadena Playhouse. One . . . Map (db m153484) HM
32New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Lynda Mead — Natchez, MS — Miss America 1960 —
"[She] admitted 'I was a tomboy' when she was a youngers down in historic Natchez. She said she played games with her brother, Herbert, and the other neighborhood boys.... When her year as Miss America ended Lynda Lee said she wants to return to . . . Map (db m153478) HM
33New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Margaret Gorman — Washington, DC — Miss America 1921 —
"This is my first introduction to Atlantic City and everything here is new to me, very interesting and I am almost convinced I am in fairyland. Happy? Why am I the happiest girl in the whole wide world, and I have every reason to think so. No, I . . . Map (db m153518) HM
34New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Maria Fletcher — Asheville, NC — Miss America 1962 —
"As a child growing up singing and dancing in my parent' school… I have always felt loved. Even before I was a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall at age 18, or Miss America 1962 at age 19. After the birth of my two children, Robyn and Jim, I began . . . Map (db m153476) HM
35New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Marian Bergeron — West Haven, CT — Miss America 1933 —
"Last night I felt just like I could fly through the air. And this morning I feel O.K." When asked about a career she said, "Sure, I like to sing and dance. But right now I'm not making any plans for the immediate future....I want a career and . . . Map (db m153513) HM
36New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Marian McKnight — Manning, SC — Miss America 1957 —
"I did some TV when we were first married, but acting was never my driving ambition....I did a Marilyn Monroe skit and song in the Miss America Pageant, but I'm not a singer, nor am I really an actress. Gary's career seemed to be . . . Map (db m153481) HM
37New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Marilyn Buford — Los Angeles, CA — Miss America 1946 —
"'Miss America, 1946,' is going to quit college for a dramatic career…, The 21 year old University of California at Los Angeles student disclosed her choice yesterday....She said she would take an intensive three-month course at a New York . . . Map (db m153500) HM
38New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Marilyn Meseke — Marion, OH — Miss America 1938 —
With the mother managing the interview in the way that has become customary with Miss America, it developed that Marilyn has plenty of boy friends, but no favorite, and has made no plans nor dreams ahead toward marriage and children. But she can . . . Map (db m153508) HM
39New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Marilyn Van Derbur — Denver, CO — Miss America 1958 —
"Tonight I break my silence....It means speaking the unspeakable word. saying the specific word that I was never able to say not to Larry (my husband) or Jennifer, my daughter. Saying the ugliest six-letter word in the English language. The word . . . Map (db m153480) HM
40New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Marjorie Vincent — Oak Park, IL — Miss America 1991 —
"'On the Miss America application they ask for hair color, eye color—everything else you can think of. But not race.' Vincent said she hopes to become a role model, not only to young black women but to 'all young women today who want to . . . Map (db m153527) HM
41New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Mary Ann Mobley — Brandon, MS — Miss America 1959 —
"Asked…how she felt about the frightening situation in her native South she said 'I think it's the unintelligent white people who've been creating all the violence. It's a tragic situation and I resent it being made a political football. I read . . . Map (db m153479) HM
42New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Mary Campbell — Columbus, OH — Miss America 1922-23 —
"I was pretty naive when I was starting... Mercy, I was after all only 15! I came home and told my mother, I was chosen Miss Columbus, and they said it's because of my figure. Mother, what's a figure?" My mother said, it's none of your . . . Map (db m153517) HM
43New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Nancy Fleming — Montague, MI — Miss America 1961 —
When asked, "Are American women usurping males in the world, and are they too dominant? She said, 'I agree that there are too many women working in the world. A woman's place is in the home with her husband and children. After she has raised a . . . Map (db m153477) HM
44New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Nena Langley — Macon, GA — Miss America 1953 —
"In the 1950s, the Miss America title was at its peak....It was a wonderful time to be Miss america. They hadn't burned their bras yet and there was still some hero worship left."1 "My life as lived as though I was never a celebrity. I . . . Map (db m153486) HM
45New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Nicole Johnson — Virginia Beach, VA — Miss America 1999 —
"I am a living testimonial that diabetes can happen to anyone…I had to find the discipline and the self-acceptance to realize that I was not a bad person. It was difficult but this has strengthened my spirit and made me stronger." . . . Map (db m153519) HM
46New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Norma Smallwood — Tulsa, OK — Miss America, 1926 —
"Although columns have been written about Miss Norma Descygne Smallwood (Miss America) as a home girl, yesterday she was offered two prime essentials of every home—a husband and a cook stove. She frowned on the proposed husband, but took . . . Map (db m153514) HM
47New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Pamela Eldred — West Bloomfield, MI — Miss America 1970 —
"Members of women's rights groups don't make any sense and I have talked with some of them. They say that they have no individuality as women. That when a woman marries she loses her name so she loses her individuality. I think women who feel . . . Map (db m153467) HM
48New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Patricia Donnelly — Detroit, MI — Miss America 1939 —
"The new Miss America, 1939, hasn't decided what sort of a man she would want to marry, but she does know that when the time comes she wants five children, three boys and two girls, and she has named ready for them. She hates housework and dishes . . . Map (db m153507) HM
49New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Phyllis George — Denton, TX — Miss America 1971 —
"My contemporaries are very concerned over the rising drug problem.... My standard (and very truthful) answer about the drug question is, 'I don't need anything artificial to turn me on. When I'm fortunate enough to have such tremendous experiences . . . Map (db m153466) HM
50New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Rebecca King — Denver, CO — Miss America 1974 —
My grandmother was an excellent role model. She ran a large farm in Iowa. She died at 86, without seeing me become Miss America. My mother was another important role model. She was a wife, a homemaker and was busy in the community and active . . . Map (db m153463) HM
51New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Rose Coyle — Philadelphia, PA — Miss America 1936 —
"Today I have a contract to appear in theatres for the coming six months…and arrangements have been made for screen tests. But I'm not going to get big-headed like some girls. I'm going to keep my head and work hard. I know I can make good in the . . . Map (db m153512) HM
52New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Rosemary LaPlance — Los Angeles, CA — Miss America 1941 —
"I have been career-minded ever since I was a little girl....I was lucky to have a contract which ran two and a half years—even though I never got a picture that would show my ability. But if there was a call for publicity it was always, . . . Map (db m153504) HM
53New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Ruth Malcomson — Philadelphia, PA — Miss America 1924 —
"It is wonderful to receive such messages, most of them advising me to commercialize my beauty, but I must consider fitting myself for the tasks of life right now....I must complete my education before considering anything. Tomorrow I enter my . . . Map (db m153516) HM
54New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Sharlene Wells — Salt Lake City, UT — Miss America 1985 —
"What the media doesn't pick up on is the attitudes of middle America, which is what I think I represent. But the title is not something that you win on morality, and I don't want to turn it into a crusade for new values. All my life I've felt . . . Map (db m153534) HM
55New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Sharon Ritchie — Denver, CO — Miss America 1956 —
"[Sharon] made her debut on Broadway in 'Sweet Charity' in January, 1966. Several weeks later she quit to the astonishment of the producers, and [she said], I am much more at peace with myself. When you're a Miss America you feel people expect you . . . Map (db m153483) HM
56New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Shawntel Smith — Muldrow, OK — Miss America 1996 —
"'My focus is on education and career....It's about being a woman of the '90s with beliefs and philosophies and ideas.... We all have to go through the process of finding out where we fit in today's society.... I think school-to-work is the . . . Map (db m153522) HM
57New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Shirley Cothran — Denton, TX — Miss America 1975 —
"Parents have less time to listen to what kids have to say, and everybody in the family is going in a different way....Families don't have a chance to sit down and talk about what's going on....More and more you see wives going out and working, . . . Map (db m153462) HM
58New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Susan Akin — Meridian, MS — Miss America 1986 —
"Being in a pageant gave me so much confidence about myself. I knew that I could get up in front of groups of people singing, speaking, anything, and I had confidence about myself…I feel that when people see the girls on stage, they're looking at . . . Map (db m153533) HM
59New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Susan Perkins — Columbus, OH — Miss America 1978 —
Answering a question about male and female equality in the workplace, Susan said, "It depends on what the activity is. As far as construction work and things of that nature go, men and women are physiologically different—fact is fact. . . . Map (db m153459) HM
60New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Susan Powell — Elk City, OK — Miss America 1981 —
"As individuals we have the power to change or alter our present and our future. Through the strength I found in my positive outlook I opened doors to my own future and will always continue to brave the confidence it takes to reach my goals in . . . Map (db m153543) HM
61New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Suzette Charles — Mays Landing, NJ — Miss America 1984 (July 28, 1984 - September 15, 1984) —
"My mother grew up in Atlantic City and the pageant… was always a big thing. But I guess with her being Black, everybody felt it wasn't the right time for her to enter. So she knew she would try to raise me towards the pageant and entertaining. . . . Map (db m153535) HM
62New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Tara Holland — Overland Park, KS — Miss America 1997 —
"'When I was about 15 years old, I realized that someone very close to me was not able to read,' That initial interest translated into involvement at Florida State University, where she served as president of the Campus Alliance for Literacy . . . Map (db m153521) HM
63New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Tawny Godin — Saratoga Springs, NY — Miss America 1976 —
"She has tried marijuana (then told her parents and got 'properly scolded). She thinks abortion and premarital sex are matters of individual choice. And she has "nothing against homosexuals." Neither the confession about pot nor the opinions on . . . Map (db m153461) HM
64New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Terry Meeuwsen — DePere, WI — Miss America 1973 —
"The question I've been asked the most is, do I feel that I've been exploited? Which to me is just as ludicrous because I'm sitting here with ten thousand dollars of scholarship money. It means the difference between being able to further my . . . Map (db m153464) HM
65New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Vanessa Williams — Millwood, NY — Miss America 1984 (Sept. 17, 1983 - July 23, 1984) —
"Diversity is appreciated a lot more than in the 1950s when there were problems with racial issues. There is still bigotry and racism going on. But there are also a majority of people who aren't thinking about it. I have had no severe problems . . . Map (db m153539) HM
66New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Venus Ramey — Washington, DC — Miss America 1944 —
"Miss America 1944 hopes to achieve a screen career or hope to gain a place in the television field. But with a career, she hopes, too, to be a 'good wife' for some fortunate husband.... 'I first heard about the Miss America Contest then [at . . . Map (db m153501) HM
67New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Vonda Van Dyke — Phoenix, AZ — Miss America 1965 —
When asked about the so-called Now Generation Vonda Key replied, "Some of their demands are no doubt justified…but many do the things they do just to be spectacular. Sure they have some legitimate gripes. But why not approach the problem . . . Map (db m153473) HM
68New Jersey (Atlantic County), Atlantic City — Yolande Betbeze — Mobile, AL — Miss America 1951 —
"'I think I'm just about the average American girl… but I am cut out for this kind of life.' She also revealed that she neither smokes nor drink, has no superstitions, likes cats, sings in the shower and wants a stage career. She also wants to be . . . Map (db m153488) HM
 
 
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Jul. 4, 2022