Betty Flanagan Bumpers made the position of First Lady of Arkansas more than just a ceremonial position. Through her efforts, she launched a movement that saved countless lives across the country by promoting the importance of vaccinations.

She was born Betty Callan Flanagan in Franklin County in 1925. She would eventually attend the University of Iowa and the Chicago Academy of Fine Art where she would meet Dale Bumpers in the 1940s as he attended law school. The two would marry in 1949. Dale Bumpers was elected governor of Arkansas on a reform platform in 1970.

As the new Arkansas First Lady, Betty Bumpers was appalled by the poor health conditions of many Arkansas children. She soon organized and spearheaded the popular Every Child By ‘74 campaign. It was an aggressive effort by Betty Bumpers and public health officials to educate the public about the dangers of infectious diseases and the safety and effectiveness ofvaccines and ultimately require all children in the state to be vaccinated against diseases, including tetanus, measles, whooping cough, and hepatitis — all potentially deadly diseases.

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