B. Finley Vinson

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B. Finley Vinson was president of Little Rock's First National Bank beginning in 1964, and chairman of the board in 1967. He stepped down as president in 1970, and relinquished the chairmanship in 1979.

Vinson was born in Texas and grew up in Corpus Christi. He is a graduate of Texas Agricultural & Industrial University at Kingsville. While in college he began working for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, and continued in that job for some time after graduation. Shortly before the Second World War Vinson served on the Corpus Christi Planning Commission. During the war he constructed homes to house Navy seamen. After the war he became a regional director for the Federal Housing Administration.

Vinson was called to direct urban renewal activities for the city and assist the People's Bank of Little Rock (later renamed First National Bank) by J. V. Satterfield Jr., Redding Stevenson, Pat Mehaffy, and George Wittenberg Sr. He accepted, and in 1950 he became the executive director of the Little Rock Housing Authority. Vinson has said of his time with urban renewal in the 1950s: "I think it missed some of its goals, and there were serious flaws in the program. But the bottom line is, it was a distinct plus for Little Rock. ... Downtown areas were sometimes over-cleared, and that bothered me." In a 1993 interview Vinson admitted that "the city of Little Rock through its various agencies, including the housing authority, systematically worked to continue segregation" using slum clearance and public housing projects.

In 1953 he moved over to a management position at People's Bank. Satterfield, a former Little Rock mayor and bank president and chairman, encouraged Vinson to see the bank and embedded in the community and politically engaged. Vinson became president in 1964 and chairman of the board in 1967.

Vinson became chairman of the Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission in the 1970s. During his tenure the Commission created the Statehouse Convention Center. Vinson was also co-developer of the next-door Excelsior Hotel with Doyle Rogers Sr., which opened on East Markham Avenue in downtown Little Rock in 1982. The construction of both facilities on the site required the demolition of the Grady Manning Hotel and the Marion Hotel.

Vinson is a co-founder of Fifty for the Future.


  • John A. Kirk, "'A Study in Second-Class Citizenship': Race, Urban Development and Little Rock's Gillam Park, 1934-2004," Arkansas Historical Quarterly 64.3 (Autumn 2005): 278.
  • Doug Smith, "Vinson: Renewal of LR His Passion," Arkansas Gazette, October 7, 1979.

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