July 1980, a groundbreaking moment. Lencola Sullivan was crowned Miss Arkansas becoming the first African American to capture the title.
Next stop, Miss America where she gained national attention and made history again becoming the first African American to place in the Top Five.
In the late 80's Sullivan also made news when she dated Stevie Wonder. She even recorded with him as well as Kool and the Gang.
So where is Lencola Sullivan now?
"Well I’m living in The Netherlands now, happily married, I work for Shell Oil Company. I’m organizing workshops for managers worldwide and it's been a lot of fun also, and I’m also preparing to write a book," says Sullivan.
Sullivan comes home to Morrilton when she can. One recent trip was in 2006, when she was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame. It was a proud moment for her and her husband.
Sullivan still tries to be involved in the pageant circle, mentoring contestants. Her book, which she says will come out by the end of the year, will be about young women who use the platform of the pageant to make a difference in the world. Sullivan also keeps in touch with people in the pageant world, including former Miss America Vanessa Williams. Sullivan says Williams once told her that she credits Sullivan for paving the way for her to win the title. That’s something that makes Sullivan proud.
Sullivan also says she’s thrilled and amazed that people in Arkansas remember her and wants to know where she is now.