Black Pioneers: Asbury Mansfield Miller

Asbury Mansfield Miller served for many years as an educator in Batesville, Ark. The son of Randal and Pollie Miller, A.M. Miller was born on this day in 1893 in Perla, Ark. His father, a native of Mississippi, worked in a sawmill there, according to the Encyclopedia of ArkansasMiller graduated from Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock. He later did graduate work at what is now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.  

During World War I, he worked as a waiter at Fort Logan H. Roots, a military base in North Little Rock. On May 25, 1921, he married Ethel O. Walter in Clark County. Around this time, he worked as a coach in Arkadelphia. By the 1920 census, Ethel Miller was teaching in a rural school in Beech Creek.

In 1924, the Millers moved to Batesville, where he became the principal of the African American school. Ethel was an elementary school teacher in the same school. Built in 1905, the school was in horrible condition and students there received only a ninth-grade education until high school classes were added in 1947. 

In 1930, the Millers lived in their own home on Oak Street in Batesville. By 1940, Miller was the superintendent of the school and Ethel continued to teach elementary school. Caldeen Clay, their niece who was in eighth grade, also lived with them in 1940.

Ethel Miller died in Batesville on July 20, 1947 at the age of fifty-two. She is buried in the Perla Cemetery. In 1952, the new Black school in Batesville was named in her honor. A. M. Miller later married another Batesville teacher, Theodora Waugh. Miller retired in 1966, just before the Batesville schools were integrated. Theodora died in 1973 and Miller then married another teacher, Annie Mae Williams.

During his life in Batesville, Miller was active in community development, served as a deacon of the Bethlehem Baptist Church and was a thirty-third-degree Mason. He died September 14, 1982 and is buried beside Theodora Miller in Oaklawn Cemetery in Batesville. Annie Mae Miller died on January 17, 2004 and is also buried at Oaklawn Cemetery.