by Michael and Peggy Garrett
Robert L. and Faye Lawson Williams have been active members of ACB and the Arizona Council of the Blind since 1987. Faye is from Oklahoma City and Robert is from Macalester, Okla. They were married in 1962 following Robert’s graduation from Langston University in 1961with a degree in business administration and Faye’s degree in sociology in 1962. Robert later earned a degree from the Oklahoma City University School of Law, and Faye received a master’s degree in counseling and guidance from Arizona State University.
They relocated to Phoenix in 1972. The couple has two adult sons and two grandsons.
Robert’s profession includes IRS agent in Oklahoma City for five years and controller for the Community Action Agency for Oklahoma City and County for three years. He also served as controller for Phoenix-Maricopa County Community Affairs from 1971 until 1974. Faye spent 39 years as a primary teacher in the Oklahoma City school system and in Phoenix’s Roosevelt Elementary School District.
Faye is fully sighted while Robert lost his sight in 1977 due to glaucoma. They joined the Arizona Council of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind in 1987. He was installed by ACB national president Dr. Otis Stephens as AZCB state president in 1989. He served two terms, which ended in 1993. Faye served as AZCB secretary during his tenure as president.
Over the years Robert and Faye attended 18 national conventions and mid-winter affiliate presidents’ and special-interest group meetings. They joined the Multicultural Affairs Committee under the leadership of Pam Shaw and later Peggy Garrett. They served on this committee for more than 10 years, and contributed greatly.
Robert stated that a highlight of his tenure as state president included Arizona hosting the 31st annual national convention in 1992. Another highlight included Robert and Faye attending the 4th anniversary observances of the Americans with Disabilities Act on the White House lawn with President Bill Clinton as principal speaker. Both Robert and Faye stated that they were delighted to have the opportunity to visit the ACB national office in Washington, D.C.
The 1992 national convention included morning general speakers: Governor Fife Symington of Arizona and Pastor Dr. Warren Stewart of First Institutional Baptist Church of Phoenix, Arizona. As a lifetime member of the NAACP, Robert worked with Pastor Stewart as he provided leadership in the statewide popular vote by a 67% majority to gain the King holiday in Arizona.
AZCB state conventions alternated between Tucson, Phoenix and Prescott during Robert’s tenure. The 1992 convention in Prescott featured national convention coordinator John Horst as banquet speaker, with a capacity crowd of 100 people.
A highlight at national conventions was the Multicultural Affairs Committee’s midweek luncheons and late-night jam which both Robert and Faye always participated in.
Due to his many contributions to the community, in 2013 Robert was among six honorees by the City of Phoenix Human Relations Commission for his leadership in the blindness community.
We applaud Robert and Faye for their many contributions to their community, the state of Arizona and the American Council of the Blind!