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Black Girls Making Magic: Frelicia Tucker is Wendy’s 2016 High School Heisman

courtesy of Wendys. It was Frelicia Tucker’s father’s idea to get his twin daughters involved in track and tennis at a young age. But when Frelicia was just nine years old, she tragically lost her father during a home invasion. Moving beyond that pain has been unimaginably difficult. But her mother set the example, doing what she had to do to keep her family in tact, and encouraging her daughters to stay involved in athletics as a way to honor their dad. Today, the memory of her father, combined with her mother’s support, is Frelicia’s motivation, inspiring her to train hard, to continually strive to better herself, and to both literally and figuratively get past any hurdle in her way. “My hunger to succeed comes from realizing that through both achieving and failing, I can continue to better myself.” ~ Frelicia Tucker ~ Turning tragedy into perseverance has driven Frelicia to unprecedented successes in her sports. She has set three school records in track and field, breaking two records that were more than 20 yeas old. She became the state champion in the 400-meter hurdle, while also lettering in tennis and cheerleading. She has worked her way to the head of her class as well, and she will graduate as the valedictorian.   Frelicia doesn’t keep her work ethic and passion for excellence to herself; she uses it to inspire others and to champion causes she believes in. She began volunteering with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as a freshman, earning the position of President of the state NAACP Youth Chapter as a junior. This January, she delivered a speech on education equity to an audience of more than 4,000 including Democratic presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Her passionate address earned her a joyous round of applause, a warm hug from Senator Sanders, and 60 shares and 2,500 views on social media. The positive response and hearing how her words touched peoples’ lives has been her proudest moment. To honor Frelicia and all she has done for her community, her hometown announced that Wednesday, January 11, 2016 is Frelicia Tucker day in the City of Aiken.

Black Lives Matter Founders are Glamour’s Women of the Year

black lives matter

2016 has been a year of reactions to the police brutality in the black community.  We've seen many more celebrities speak out this year. There's been more exposure of the injustice we face.  Yet, nothing has changed.  The rallying cry of Black Lives Matter has shined a light on the issues that we [black people] suffer daily.  Only for the rest of the world to see. Founders, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, opened the lines of communication by summing up our frustrations in a simple phrase.  Their movement has allowed us to feel connected with one another.  Also, it has allowed us to share our experiences using the hashtag.  Not only that, but the movement has sparked a civil rights movement among the youngest of us. For 27 years, Glamour has recognized “Women of the Year,” women who, as the magazine’s website says, show us “that you can do great things in life when you find a way to park your doubts at the curb.” This year’s group of women includes the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement along with several other women of color, including Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, actress and activist Zendaya, and former ISIS captive Nadia Murad. We are happy to see mainstream outlets applaud the work of amazing black women and their fight for justice!  Click here to read their article.  

America’s school system could learn a LOT from this woman!

America's School System

Without telling my age, schools just aren't what they used to be.  When I was going to school, it was more of an extension of my home life.  My teachers and principals were like my aunts and uncles.  And my peers, were like cousins.  My parents knew my teachers, we all lived in the same neighborhoods.  It was perfectly normal to see our teachers during a grocery trip or at the local park.  It takes a village to raise a child was a true sentiment that we were living out.  Today, America's school system could benefit greatly from this blast from the past. Back then, the teachers were concerned with your overall well being because they cared for you as if you were their own.  So if you were getting out of hand, there was no need to send a student to the principal, when the teacher had full authority (by the principal AND your parents) to discipline you as necessary.  THEN, your parents would also be made aware of your behavior.  But that's the time when children revered their parents.  "I'm gonna tell your mama," was an actual threat.  Today, it seems we have lost the sense of community.  The understanding that the entire community shared in the development of not just successful students, but all around good people for society.  Everyone took part in this development:  parents, teachers, board of education, council persons, etc.  Today, there is just a lot of placing the blame. I was happy to run across the story of Dr. Nadia Lopez, the Principal and founder of Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY.  She has taken the extra step to show how true concern and love can be the best form of developing great individuals (students).  Her story is so inspiring because she is serving an under-served community and shining a spotlight on the brilliant minds located there.  There's nothing wrong with our students, instead, there is something wrong with the way we are schooling them.  And it's time for a change.  I'm proud to see this sister at the helm, leading the charge.  Watch the video below for more information on Dr. Nadia Lopez and her role in the educational system in America.  From us to you...I Hear That Girl!

How Four Teenage Girls Organized Huge Silent Protest

courtesy of Chicago Mag  Eva Lewis is someone you should know. She and three other black teenage girls were the driving force behind Monday’s massive sit-in protest in Millennium Park and subsequent march to protest gun violence and police brutality in Chicago. The event to “break the divide between communities, and bring youth from all areas of Chicago in solidarity with Black Lives Matter,” drew more than 1,000 people and the attention of local and national media—not bad for a group of 16- and 17-year-olds who organized the whole thing on social media. The silent sit-in was followed by poetry and other performances, and the group gained steam as it left the park and closed down the streets, marching toward Federal Plaza to meet up with another, unaffiliated group of protesters. Though the two rallies were spurred by the same news events of the previous week—the police shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, and the subsequent attack on police in Dallas—they differed in both their focus and their methods, Lewis explains. More on that later. When the 17-year-old rising senior at Walter Payton College Prep is asked to describe herself, she first identifies herself as a member of Bomic Sans (“You know, like the font Comic Sans?”), Payton’s team in the Louder Than a Bomb youth poetry competition. She’s an artist. An activist. And advocate. She ticks off an impressive list of achievements—among them, being asked to speak in front of the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women earlier this year. We spoke with Lewis after she finished her day’s work as an intern at Stony Island Arts Bank to find out how Monday’s protest came together. Start from the beginning: How did you get the idea for the rally? I didn’t decide it. This girl that I knew from my old school, Maxine Wint [16], she [and Sophia Byrd, 17,] had an idea. They know each other from Chicago Children’s Choir. Maxine posted on Twitter that she wanted to have a sit-in on Monday. They hadn’t organized a real protest, a big thing, before. I hadn’t organized one either, except I’d been behind the scenes for some of the Chicago Public Schools protests that have happened this year, helping with press releases, inclusivity, stuff like that. So I offered to help. Natalie Braye, she’s 16, she had also communicated with Maxine. All three of us used to go to Kenwood. So you got your team together. What happened next? I said, we need a group chat. Then they said we need a press release, and I had just learned how to do that. I said, we need goals, we need a purpose. What we wanted was this to be a peaceful protest. We had a goal of no arrests, which seemed impossible, because I hadn’t heard of a protest with no arrests—like this weekend was wild. There were protests all late last week and weekend. Did you go to them? Nope. I’m 17 years old. Although I have a lot of ideas, and I’m an

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Amandla Stenberg’s Soul Session is a Call to Action for black women

I'm 37 years old and I am still peeling back the layers of me.  The difference now than 10 years ago, is that I am loving everything that I am learning about myself.  It's a true process to full acceptance of self.  It is what goaded me to write my first book, "I Hear That Girl:  Life Advice for Every Sista". Enter, Amandla Stenberg.   She’s been called one of the most influential teenagers in America. Her video history project “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows” went viral with nearly 2 million views. She recently co-directed a series called #BLACKGIRLMAGIC for Teen Vogue. And she’s done it all before even graduating from high school. Recently, the young activist was given a stage to speak and empower black women and girls across the globe.  What better platform than that of Oprah Winfrey and her "Soul Sessions".   When I watched the less than 20 minute video, I found myself recounting the many questions of inferiority and frustrations with society's standard of beauty.  I remember realizing that I didn't fit into that mold and that I never would, and how bad that could be.  It wasn't until years later when I decided, "so what!"  That was the day I began to love myself as a whole.  I work daily to continue to love the woman I am and am still becoming.  It's refreshing to see a young girl that recognizes her queendom so early.  These are the revelations I am impassioned to see on the faces of the many young girls and women I speak with during the STRONGER Tour and within the pages of this blog.  If we can empower our women, we can change our communities. Check out Amandla's moving speech:  My Authenticity is My Activism, below:

Women Empowerment Organizations Come Together for 2016 “Women Build”

First African American Female Licensed Nascar Driver, Tia Norfleet, has been confirmed to participate in Southern Crescent Habitat For Humanity's "Women Build" taking place on April 2nd, 5th, 7th and 9th at 2338 Glebe Court, Lovejoy, Georgia 30228. Norfleet will be amongst other women empowerment organizations such as: The WNBA Atlanta Dream (The only all-female ownership group in Atlanta professional sports), Atlanta Women Realtors (A network of successful realtors, advancing women as professionals and leaders in business), 100 Female Entrepreneurs(A fundamental organization for millennial and emerging women in business),Single Wives Club (An organization that educates, empowers, and inspires single ladies to become better women before becoming wives) and many more. The "Women Build" is an annual project that empowers women to build homes and enable them to positively impact the lives of families by making home ownership a reality. Proudly Sponsored by African Pride, this four day build challenges all-women volunteer teams to come together to actively work to build a home for LaTonya Flugence and her family. To register and make a contribution, please visit schabitat.org/womenbuild. Women possess all that is needed to create a dramatic change in our community. for Southern Crescent Habitat For Humanity (SCHFH) "Women Build."  Each volunteer is asked for a contribution to help fund the builds supplies and materials. Volunteer dates will take place on April 2nd, 5th, 7th and 9th at 2338 Glebe Court, Lovejoy, Georgia 30228. To register and make a contribution, please visit http://www.schabitat.org/upcoming-events/women-build-2016/. Southern Crescent Habitat's "Women Build"  is a safe haven for women to practice and excel, no matter what their skill levels. The program nurtures, recruits and train women to build and maintain simple, decent, healthy and affordable homes in their community. This year's build is dedicated to LaTonya Flugence. Ms. Flugence is a working mother of two sons, Kavious, 20 years of age and Kyle, 17 years of age. She has volunteered at her local Habitat Restore and has successfully completed her sweat equity and is ready to move into her new home. "I am thankful for Southern Crescent Habitat For Humanity and to the woman that are coming together to help build, support, and donate their time to invest in me," says Flugence. SCHFH believes that everyone deserves a decent place to live. The affiliate has created opportunities for hard working people to own an attractive and affordable home. To qualify they must have a stable job with a 2-year tenure, spend more than 1/3 of their monthly income on rental housing, meet income requirements and invest 300 hours in sweat equity (building homes) and home ownership (financial and home maintenance) education. Our organization has helped over 300 families in South Atlanta, and would like to invite you to be apart of our mission to double that by 2020. The "Women Build" volunteer dates are April 2nd, 5th, 7th and 9th and can accommodate 40 volunteers per day. We are only able to hold volunteer dates with volunteer donation or sponsorship commitment. If your organization would like to participate in the "Women Build", please register at http://www.schabitat.org/upcoming-events/women-build-2016/ and get social by following our Twitter/Facebook/Instagram pages @SCHabitatfh and hashtag #SCHWomenBuild and #BuildWithSCHabitat.

Black Female Physicist Breaks Ground in Cancer Research

courtesy of AL.Com When Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green receives invitations to be a guest speaker for professional groups, schools and nonprofit organizations, she almost never turns them down. "Usually if there is an invitation to speak at a forum like that, I accept it because I feel like it's a responsibility," she said. "There are so few of us (black women in STEM fields) I don't feel like I have the luxury to say I'm too busy." By many measures, Green has been extremely busy. One of fewer than 100 black female physicists in the country, she recently won a $1.1 million grant to further develop her patent-pending technology for using laser-activated nanoparticles to treat cancer. A tomboy as a child, Green was crowned Homecoming Queen at Alabama A&M University (by a landslide vote), earned her master's and Ph.D degrees at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and is now is an assistant professor in the physics department at Tuskegee University. It's tempting to see Green for all the ways that she is unusual – not the least for winning a large grant at a relatively young age, and for being black and female in a field dominated by white men – but it's not something she said she thinks about in her day-to-day life. "It looks like I'm special, but I'm not. I'm no different from anybody else," she said. "When opportunity found me, I was prepared." Close to home Green's personal history with cancer fuels her drive to find a way to treat it. She grew up in St. Louis and – after the death of her mother and father – was raised by her aunt and uncle, General Lee Smith and his wife, Ora Lee. When Ora Lee was diagnosed with cancer, "She refused the treatment because she didn't want to experience the side effects," said Green. "It was heartbreaking, but I could appreciate she wanted to die on her own terms. "Three months later, my uncle was diagnosed with cancer." Green took time off from school to help him through chemotherapy and radiation treatments. "I saw first-hand how devastating it was, and I could understand why my aunt didn't want to go through that." She earned a bachelor's degree in physics with a concentration in fiberoptics, and then a full scholarship to UAB. She got the idea to use lasers to treat cancer without the side effects of chemo and radiation. A physicist's cancer treatment A few months ago, Green was awarded a $1.1 million grant to work on a technology that targets, images and treats cancer. I'm no different from anybody else. When opportunity found me, I was prepared. "I was completely overwhelmed with joy, with thanksgiving, humbled at the opportunity that a group of my peers thought that my work was worthy for such a grant," she said. "This is a huge door opening. It outlines a path to take this treatment to clinical trial." Green had spent seven years during her master's and doctoral programs at UAB, developing a way to target cancer cells – not the healthy cells around them. "I'm really

Rebecca Stiles Taylor

In the early 20th century, women weren’t supposed to be loud or assertive. That was even more true for women of color - but that didn’t stop Savannah teacher, writer, and organizer Rebecca Stiles Taylor. Here's her story, as we focus on Forgotten Women in Savannah history. It’s tough to assign a label or title to Rebecca Stiles Taylor. "She had been a very successful teacher and social worker who had been in all of the black neighborhoods of Savannah," says Hugh Golson, a retired history teacher and a cousin of Stiles Taylor. "And she had a statewide and national reach through her work with the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs." She also founded several such clubs in Savannah, and wrote for the popular national newspaper The Chicago Defender. It’s a lot for one person. Golson traces all that work back to what she learned at Atlanta University. "They picked up the mission to educate everyone of color," he says. "They gave them a mission, almost like a preacher in the pulpit or a missionary on his ship going to a foreign shore. They were to go back. They were to cleanse, protect, and educate the lesser of all the children in their cities and communities." By all accounts, Stiles Taylor was a woman on a mission. Mary Edith Stiles described her aunt in a video for the Georgia Women of Achievement program. "She was talented, she was smart, she was aggressive," says Stiles. "She knew what she wanted and she knew exactly how to get it, even if it did seem she was demanding and aggressive." What she wanted - and how she got it - ran the gamut: from working overtime to educate poor students, to becoming the first African American woman to serve as Savannah’s Probation Officer in Juvenile Court. In her newspaper column, she took early stands on big civil rights issues, like segregation in the military and poll taxes. She even lobbied the president in 1918 after a lynching in Valdosta. "It was pure savagery," says Golson. "And these black women of color are bristling over this, and they send a strong letter to President Wilson, and her name is front and center at the bottom: Rebecca Stiles Taylor." Stiles was a prominent name in Georgia. President Wilson grew up in Augusta, and Hugh Golson believes her name caught the president’s attention. "He did write up a scathing rebuke in the federal register, which was probably a pretty strong step for this man who had segregated the bathrooms of federal agencies when he took office," Golson says. Great-niece Sandra Stiles Thomas says her aunt was known for that kind of gutsy action. "I remember Aunt Rebecca, and I remember how strong an image she was," Thomas recalls. "A lot of people were afraid of Aunt Rebecca, because she didn’t play." Rebecca Stiles Taylor died in 1958. But her family remains prominent in Savannah - pastors, teachers, leaders of charity groups. Thomas says that’s in part thanks to Stiles Taylor, who she calls an elder of the family. "Aunt

Gocha Makes BOSS Moves on Finale & Shows Love Throughout the Community

On the season finale of "L.A. Hair," Gocha unveils her "Plan B" to the Kimble stylists. Click image for a preview of how it all goes down.  Not only is she making waves in the salon, she's doing what real bosses do and sharing her gift to help and motivate others throughout the Atlanta community.  I'm all for an sista that is pouring herself into the community.   October 6, 2015, the Atlanta Children's Shelter (ACS) hosted its 13th Annual Achievers' Celebration at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta to honor the remarkable success of their previously homeless families who persevered and maintained employment and permanent housing for at least one year with the help of ACS' programs.  Gocha Salon, along with the Paul Mitchell School of Atlanta provided makeovers to the honorees and program participants. Gocha also gifted the honorees with over $4,000 of free styling services for the rest of the year.  For information on the Atlanta Children's Shelter, visit http://www.acsatl.org/.   Saturday, Sept. 19, Gocha participated in Atlanta Children's Shelter's celebrity kickball game fundraiser.  The high-energy event took place  at Hammond Park.   The DECA Club students at Newton High School in Covington, GA enjoyed a dose of "real talk" from the successful celeb stylist and salon owner.  Gocha inspired the students with words of wisdom on business and hard work. Check out the trailer for the season finale of L.A. Hair below: Tune in to #LAHair TONIGHT at 10pm ET/PT on WE tv. //

Contributor Spotlight: Meet “T-Sharde'”

Over the past 7 years as editor of I Hear That Girl!, I have met some AMAZING women with a passion to share their lives in an effort to empower and encourage other women.  Social media has allowed me to make great connections with women all over the country and Periscope has definitely boosted this opportunity.  I recently linked up with this beautiful woman, Tamron Tobias, aka T-Sharde'.  We follow each other on social media and have never physically met, but it doesn't lessen our friendship any.  She is in the process of building her blog space and I offered her space on I Hear That Girl! so she could share her personality and experiences with other sisters.  Her first blog post will debut next week.  I wanted to introduce you all to her so you can see why I've decided to share her with you all!  Please welcome her to IHTG and show her some love! La Tamron Sharde` Tobias was born to create and motivate the people around her. Raised in a family of preachers, "Tam" as she is known always knew that her life would take a similar path but a different turn. As a child she loved to sing, act, and model. And so Tam's career began as she sung with her two older sisters (Shanta` & Erica) the girls were known in their local church as the Tobias Sisters, they went on to sing in their district & jurisdictional churches. Tam went on to act in school & church plays. The Tobias Sisters' mother saw the girls' love for fashion & entered them in the City of New Orleans Fashion Shows. Always seeing the world through creative eyes, Tam maintained her love for fine arts as she matriculated through life, school and church. "I grew up Pentecostal particulary in COGIC (Church Of God In Christ), I understood working in the church especially with my uncles pastoring and my late grandfathers who were pastors. One in COGIC church & the other in the Baptist church." Today, Tamron lives in Jackson, MS where she is a Production Technician for AP & Emmy award winning 16 WAPT News (ABC Affiliate). She is a graduate of Jackson State University (HBCU) where she majored in Mass Communications & Minored in Speech Communications/Theatre.  Musically, she has had the chance to share the stage with such artists as: Dorinda Clark-Cole, Kierra Sheard, J-Moss, 21:03, Donald Lawrence, Ricky Dilliard, ZaCarti Cortez, just to name a few. She is currently a member of Ben Cone III & Worship music, an aspiring author, model, & media mogul. Former Producer/Radio Personality for WJSU 88.5FM, Scriptwriter/Producer/Director. Past Talent Assistant for Coach Diana "D" Williams for Lifetime Television Networks hit dance show "Bring It". Producer/Director/Writer for "Dream Big Documentary, which documented the careers of Actor/Professor Yohance Myles (this documentary appears on Mr. Myles Actors Resume Reel which is seen by Hollywood Executives). Tamron also appeared as a movie extra for the film "Get On Up" starring Chadwick Boseman. She wrote and played lead role

Yasss! Black Man: Author R.L. Byrd

Atlanta Author, R.L. Byrd returns with continued discussions of love and life in his newest release of Black Coffee, and this time the Brothers have their say. In his debut novel, Looking for Sweet Love, Byrd introduced us to the Love Forum Divas – a panel of women who candidly shared the highs and lows of their private relationships with millions of radio listeners in Dallas, Texas. Black Coffee enters one year later, introducing readers to six men – The Brothers Forum.  As the men who held supporting roles in the women's tales, their private lives were also exposed.  "I want the reader to expect the unexpected from me; have a different experience every time they pick up an R.L. Byrd book," says R.L. Byrd. With a raw and authentic voice, R.L. Byrd journeys into the male's perspective of the challenges of love and life, unveiling truths to the great mystery of why men act and respond in ways that women are often unable to understand.  Black Coffee brings the discussions of love and relationships full circle, and offers female readers a rare peak into the psyche of their male counterparts. Visit www.RichardLeonByrd.com to snag your own copy of "Black Coffee" and connect with Richard on Instagram @Author_RLByrd

Viola Davis Makes History As Black Actresses Dominate

In a historic win tonight, the law professor in firmly in charge of the TV class. For her role in ABC’s freshman How To Get Away With Murder, Viola Davis has become the first African-American to win the Emmy for Outstanding lead actress in a drama. Having already won a SAG Award for her performance as defense lawyer and university law prof Annalise Keating on the Shonda Rhimes EP’d series created by Peter Nowalk, Davis had previously been nominated for a Golden Globe for the role. “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone is opportunity,” said an emotional Davis as she thanked Shonda Rhimes, Oscar winner Halle Berry plus fellow nominee Taraji P. Henson. Tonight’s telecast already saw wins by Orange Is The New Black‘s Udo Aduba and American Crime‘s Regina King. In a category that also saw Henson a racial barrier-breaking contender for her Empire role, the win for the two-time Oscar nominated Davis comes just days before HTGAWM begins its second season on ABC on Thursday nights along with fellow Shondaland shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.  Among the other nominees in the category in the 67th Emmys were multiple past winner Claire Danes of Homeland and two-time before nominee Robin Wright of House of Cards. Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss and Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany, who won the Critic’s Choice award in 2013 and finally got an Emmy nomination this year, were also in the category.

Dancing to Empower Youth

Sisters Alicia Graf Mack and Daisha Graf were born to move, as older sister Alicia puts it. NBCBLK interviewed the accomplished dancers on their dance styles, their training and D(n)A Arts Collective, the organization they started to teach and empower young dancers. Daisha describes herself as a commercial dancer who has worked with Beyoncé, Rihanna and other big names. Meanwhile,  Alicia says she is a concert dancer whose background includes work with prestigious institutions like Alvin Ailey and Dance Theater of Harlem. “Dancing is something that fueled me -- it fueled my spirit -- so even though it was very rigorous, I loved the challenge,” Alicia told NBCBLK. Though Dasia started dancing later than her sister, she naturally flowed into the movement. With each of them having so much talent, they say people often ask them if there’s any sibling rivalry. “No,” Dasia responds. “She’s a role model for me and still is." Alicia said that she learns a lot from her little sister, as well. She stressed the importance of having someone that she could relate to through dance, which is one reason why D(n)A Arts Collective is so important to the sisters. “I think that it’s extremely important to have a role model or an idea or an image of something that resonates within you and, for me, that was seeing... a dancer of color or a very tall ballerina because I’m unusually very tall for a ballet dancer… It gave me permission to say, I can do this.” Watch NBCBLK’s full interview with Alicia and Dasia here. 

‘There’s Always More’ Oprah’s Moving Tribute to Serena

Although Serena had a surprising loss knocking her out of the US Open Sunday, we are still very proud of her.  There is no denying her talent on the court.  If she never wins another match, Serena Williams has accomplished the highest of accolades, she has become an ICON.  She's a symbol of tenacity, strength, fierceness, and beauty.  As a black woman, she inhabits my qualities.  She represents us each time she steps on the court, or on the red carpet, or even the runway!  Following the upset, ESPN played a videopic put together as a gift from her sister Venus and narrated by Oprah.  In this video, Oprah Winfrey examines Serena Williams' career and her 21 major titles.  This piece made my heart beam, even playing it several days later.  Each time I see it, I am empowered and reminded that I can take on the world.  I am Serena.  We are Serena.  We are champions.   Check it out below and let me know in the comments how it made you feel.

Ophelia DeVore

Long before the phrase “Black is beautiful” gained currency in the 1960s, Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell was preaching that ethos by example. In New York in the 1940s — an age when modeling schools, and modeling jobs, were overwhelmingly closed to blacks — she helped start the Grace del Marco Modeling Agency and later founded the Ophelia DeVore School of Self-Development and Modeling. The enterprises, which served minorities, endured for six decades. The success of the agency, and the visibility of the school’s thousands of graduates, helped pave the way for the careers of contemporary black supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks. As an agent, Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell represented members of the first wave of black models to attain wide visibility at midcentury, among them Helen Williams, often described as the first black supermodel. She also represented a young model named Richard Roundtree before he went on to fame as an actor in “Shaft” and other movies. As a charm-school director, Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell taught dress, diction and deportment to thousands of students, including the future actress Diahann Carroll, the future television newswomen Sue Simmons and Melba Tolliver, and the future hip-hop artist Faith Evans. Besides tending to her pupils outwardly through classes like Wardrobe I, II and III; Social Graces; and Figure Control With Fencing and Ballet, Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell designed a curriculum to bolster them inwardly, offering a counterweight to the tradition of internalized self-hatred that was many black Americans’ legacy. “Black has always been beautiful,” Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell once said. “But you had to hide it to be a model.” In the late 1930s, when Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell began her career as one of the first black models in the United States, she found work partly by hiding her own heritage. But in her case, the hiding was done entirely through inadvertence. Emma Ophelia DeVore was born on Aug. 12, 1921, in Edgefield, S.C., one of 10 children of John Walter DeVore, a building contractor, and the former Mary Emma Strother, a schoolteacher. As a girl, Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell, whose family was of African, Cherokee, French and German descent, was educated in segregated Southern schools; she received additional instruction “in dancing, piano and all the other things in the arts that parents gave you to make you a lady,” as she told Ebony magazine in 2012. At 11, to further her education, she was sent to live with an aunt in New York. She graduated from Hunter College High School in Manhattan and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, with a minor in languages, including French, Latin and German, from New York University. A beauty with wide-set eyes, Ophelia DeVore had begun modeling casually as a teenager. A few years later, seeking professional training, she enrolled in the Vogue School of Modeling in New York. It was only toward the end of her studies there, when the school refused admission to another black candidate, that she realized it had mistaken her, with her light skin, for white. “I didn’t know that they didn’t know,” Mrs. DeVore-Mitchell said in the Ebony interview. “I thought they

This Amazing 10-Year-Old Wants To Help Make Girls More Confident

Olivia Allen, 10, has already taken her first steps to becoming a philanthropist. Allen, who lives in Louisville, Kentucky, hosted a free conference for her peers on Aug. 22 titled, “I Can Be: Girls Confidence Conference.” “It’s important to give back,” Allen told The Huffington Post. “There are a lot of people in our community and if I help someone, they’ll help someone else… and it will be a cycle.” About 50 girls ages 8 to 12, and their parents, attended the conference as Allen led her peers in a morning filled with workshops that touched on the physical, social and psychological challenges young girls face, mainly by tackling wavering self-esteem. Allen said, this conference was necessary because she noticed a decline in morale among young girls in her community. "I realize some girls' confidence goes down when they start puberty,” Allen said, admitting that she even noticed a difference in her own at times. Because of this, she said, she wanted to do something to uplift others.  Allen spent this summer planning the conference mainly on her own and had financial assistance from her mother, Anitra Allen. She contacted speakers to help lead three separate workshops that focused on envisioning success, turning a passion into a business and personal health care. The conference also featured two keynote speakers (Barbara Sexton Smith andAshley D. Miller) who addressed confidence and pursuing your dreams. Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville, opened the conference and commended Allen for her work in the community. According to her mom, Allen has always had a caring spirit. She said, her daughter once told her after seeing a panhandler one day after school, "Mommy, every time I see a homeless person, I just want to raise money to buy them a house.” She suggested her daughter do something more feasible to help out her community and Allen took her advice, she said, by holding a toy drive in March where she collected more than 100 toys for Kosair Charities. One month following the toy drive, Allen organized a food drive where she fed underprivileged children in her community.  The confidence conference was Allen's most recent community outreach event, but she told HuffPost it wouldn’t be her last. She plans on continuing her work in the community and holding another conference for girls soon, she said.  “The importance of having a conference like this is to show girls what they can be,” her mom told HuffPost. "I never want to tell her she can’t do anything.” Allen attributes much of her confidence to both her parents and her spiritual upbringing. Her career aspirations currently include everything from becoming a fashion designer, mathematician, news anchor, actress, singer and more. "It was important to me because it was important to her," her mom said. "Confidence is one of those things that can dictate what you decide to do and that will influence who you think you are."

Yesss!…Black Man- The Men of M Bar Atlanta

Four young, well established African- American men have joined forces to partner in bringing the M BAR vision to life - Damien Gordon (Mixologist/ Owner), Yaw Botchey ( Marketing Director), Xavier Peoples (Client Relations),  and Melvin Simms (General Manager). M BAR will offer guests the definitive Atlanta bar and lounge experience. The juxtaposition of black and white silent films infused into a modern aesthetic, a menu of american classics mixed with modern favorites, an offering of unique batch private labels to today's most premium spirit brands -  the space will conjure up a sense of pride to all who enter and a sense of community to all who partake.  I had the opportunity to talk with Xavier Peoples about the group's decision to open an upscale lounge on modest Auburn Avenue.  He told us that it was extremely important that they build in our own communities.  Auburn Avenue has a historic and cultural significance to the black community and it was vital for the group to revitalize there. During the media walk-thru, I was taken by the luxury of the location. This is definitely a place to bring pride back to Auburn Avenue.  We congratulate you brothers for thinking of your community and re-investing in the area. What is M Bar? M BAR is home to the city's most unique bar and lounge featuring our signature Sangria and a superb selection of fine spirits and wines. If a more intimate high-end experience is what you're seeking, M LOUNGE serves as a VIP getaway and provides an exclusive setting with first class service. Melding the character of the historic Auburn Avenue and allure of lavish décor and architecture, M BAR dazzles even the most seasoned socialites and nightlife connoisseurs. It's contemporary setting blends with signature cocktails, savory eats and Atlanta’s hottest DJ’s to create a sensational guest experience. M BAR sets itself apart from Atlanta's traditional bars and lounges. Our VIP/ Hookah room, M LOUNGE, is a boutique-sized getaway for intimate experiences and casual conversations. Featuring its own private service and personalized amenities; guests can enjoy a more discreet and quaint interaction.

PBS Uncovers the Story of Legendary African American Tennis Pioneer Althea Gibson

People often cite Arthur Ashe as the first African American to win Wimbledon (1975).  He was indeed the first African American male to win the men's singles title, but it was, in fact, Althea Gibson, who was the first African American to cross the color line playing and winning at Wimbledon (1957 and 1958) and at the U.S. Nationals (1957 and 1958 – precursor of the U.S. Open). This fall, THIRTEEN's American Masters presents Althea, premiering nationwide Friday, September 4, 2015 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) during the U.S. Open.  The 90-minute documentary reveals the highs and lows of this remarkable athlete whose life and achievements transcend sports and have entered the annals of African American history. From her roots as a sharecropper's daughter in the cotton fields of South Carolina, to her emergence as the unlikely queen of the highly segregated tennis world in the 1950s, her story is a complex tale of race, class and gender. In recounting Gibson's story, the filmmakers were meticulous in finding period imagery, including over 450 vintage photographs.  Producer and director Rex Miller weaves this archival visual material and interviews with those who knew Gibson, such as former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Wimbledon champions Dick Savitt and Billie Jean King (who also serves as one of the film's executive producers), Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, widow of Arthur Ashe, and more. Gibson was born in Silver, South Carolina on August 25, 1927. At the age of three, her father moved the family north migrating to Harlem in 1930. Gibson was a tomboy who grew up loving sports, but disliked school so much that she started skipping classes at the age of 12 and, by 18, had dropped out of high school.  She played basketball, but "…paddle tennis started it all," says Gibson, in a clip from a 1984 interview. She learned to play that sport on the streets, but it was bandleader Buddy Walker, who was also the neighborhood play street director, who introduced her to tennis and The Cosmopolitan Club, a private black tennis club. At the club, she met Fred Johnson, the one-armed coach, who taught her how to play. Under the auspices of the American Tennis Association (ATA), an organization of African American players, she began to develop as a tennis player.  It was during this time that she met boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, who would become a friend and mentor. Though a talented tennis player, Gibson was a street kid who lacked the genteel manner associated with the sport. It was under the tutelage of Dr.Hubert Eaton of Wilmington, NC and Dr. Robert W. Johnson of Lynchburg, VA, two African American physicians who loved tennis and helped young African Americans who wanted to play, that she flourished. She honed her skill, while receiving lessons in etiquette and the social graces, traveled and played in the segregated south, and even earned her high school degree.  Her success in tennis earned her an athletic scholarship (basketball and tennis) to Florida A&M, where she received a BA in 1955 at

Michele Roberts

courtesy of Bio Michele Roberts rose from a childhood in a Bronx public-housing development to attend the UC Berkeley School of Law. She began her legal career as a public defender, eventually becoming a litigation partner for several top firms. In 2014, Roberts became the first female union leader in major North American professional sports when she was elected executive director of the NBA Players Association. Upon joining the Washington D.C. Public Defender Service in 1980, Roberts immediately distinguished herself as a formidable litigator with a knack for persuading juries. "She had a really folksy way of getting along with people who were total strangers," recalled Charles Ogletree Jr., an early supervisor who became a Harvard Law School professor. "She was like the thirteenth juror." After ascending to chief of the trial division, Roberts left the Public Defender Service in 1988 to open her own practice. She continued to work with low-income individuals, but also became involved in high-profile cases. She joined Anita Hill's legal team during the confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991, and later earned exoneration for Charles Bakaly, a Kenneth Starr aide charged with leaking confidential documents during the President Clinton-Monica Lewinsky investigation. "I don’t live my life saying, 'What ceiling am I going to crack tomorrow?' What I have done, and what I tell my nieces to do, is not to worry about whether you’re the only one, but worry about whether you’re the best one." In 2001, Roberts officially entered the world of white-collar litigation when she joined the Washington D.C. law firm of Shea & Gardner. She became a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in 2004, and then Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in 2011, earning accolades from such publications as Washingtonian magazine and Legal Times along the way. NBA Union Director After reading about the dismissal of Billy Hunter as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association in 2013, Roberts contacted the search firm hired to secure his replacement. Although she had no experience in labor relations or sports, she was convinced that she was the one to help the union. "I plan to be the best executive director in the history of this union. But I'm proud of it. And I’m proud of the players for being 'bold enough' to give a girl a chance."  The NBA players, who had approximately 300 candidates to choose from, also became convinced after Roberts explained how she would handle her responsibilities. "Being the executive director of a players union means understanding what the members want, what the members need, and helping them get there," she said. In July 2014, Roberts was elected the NBPA executive director, making her the first female union leader of the four major professional sports leagues in North America. Her history-making moment out of the way, she continued forging relationships with NBA players and Commissioner Adam Silver in preparation for new collective bargaining talks.

Assata Shakur

It is important that we know our history told from our people.  In the coming months you will hear about Assata Shakur.  The media has already begun bringing up her name now that the US and Cuba's relations have become friendly.  They have painted her as a criminal, a felon, a radical, a terrorist.  When in reality, her story sounds no different than that of Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, and the countless others we have lost just recently.  Read her story in her words and decide for yourself.  We have to arm ourselves with the history of our people in our own words. courtesy of Assata Shakur My name is Assata (she who struggles) Olugbala (for the people) Shakur (the thankful one), and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government's policy towards people of color. I am an ex political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984. I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI's COINTELPRO program. because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it "greatest threat to the internal security of the country" and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists. Political Prisoner to Exiled On May 2, 1973 I, along with Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike, supposedly for a "faulty tail light."Sundiata Acoli got out of the car to determine why we were stopped. Zaydand I remained in the car. State trooper Harper then came to the car, opened the door and began to question us. Because we were black, and riding in a car with Vermont license plates, he claimed he became "suspicious." He then drew his gun, pointed it at us, and told us to put our hands up in the air, in front of us, where he could see them. I complied and in a split second, there was a sound that came from outside the car, there was a sudden movement, and I was shot once with my arms held up in the air, and then once again from the back. Zayd Malik Shakur was later killed, trooper Werner Forester was killed, and even though trooper Harper admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik Shakur, under the New Jersey felony murder law, I was charged with killing both Zayd Malik Shakur, who was my closest friend and comrade, and charged in the death

Henrietta Lacks: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

On January 29, 1951, Lacks went to Johns Hopkins Hospital because she felt a "knot" inside of her. She had told her cousins about the "knot"; they assumed correctly that she was pregnant. But after giving birth to her fifth child, Joseph, Henrietta started bleeding abnormally and profusely. Her local doctor tested her for syphilis, which came back negative, and referred her to Johns Hopkins. Johns Hopkins was their only choice for a hospital since it was the only one near them that treated black patients. Howard W. Jones, her new doctor, examined Henrietta and the lump in her cervix. He cut off a small part of the tumor and sent it to the pathology lab. Soon after, Lacks was told she had a malignant epidermoid carcinoma of the cervix.  Following Otto Gey's death in 1970, colleagues writing a tribute discovered that Lacks' cancer had been misdiagnosed and was actually an adenocarcinoma of the cervix. This was a common mistake at the time and the treatment would not have differed. Lacks was treated with radium tube inserts, which were sewn in place. After several days in place, the tubes were removed and she was discharged from Johns Hopkins with instructions to return for X-ray treatments as a follow-up. During her radiation treatments for the tumor, two samples of Henrietta's cervix were removed—a healthy part and a cancerous part—without her permission. The cells from her cervix were given to Dr. George Otto Gey. These cells would eventually become the HeLa immortal cell line, a commonly used cell line in biomedical research.[2] In significant pain and without improvement, Lacks returned to Hopkins on August 8 for a treatment session, but asked to be admitted. She remained at the hospital until the day of her death.[2] She received treatment and blood transfusions, but died of uremic poisoning on October 4, 1951, at the age of 31.[11] A subsequent partial autopsy showed that the cancer had metastasized throughout her entire body.[2] Lacks Town Road in Clover, Virginia—along which Lacks grew up and near where she is buried Lacks was buried without a tombstone in a family cemetery in Lackstown, a part of Clover in Halifax County, Virginia. Her exact burial location is not known, although the family believes it is within feet of her mother's gravesite.[2] Lackstown is the name of the land that has been held by the (black) Lacks family since they received it from the (white) Lacks family, who had owned the ancestors of the black Lackses when slavery was legal. Many members of the black Lacks family were also descended from the white Lacks family.[2] For decades, Henrietta Lacks' mother had the only tombstone of the five graves in the family cemetery in Lackstown, and Henrietta's own grave was unmarked.[11][12] In 2010, however, Dr. Roland Pattillo of the Morehouse School of Medicine donated a headstone for Lacks after reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.[13] The headstone, which is shaped like a book, reads: Henrietta Lacks, August 01, 1920-October 04, 1951. In loving memory of a phenomenal woman, wife

Yasss…Black Man!: Johnny Gill

*Editors Note:  I came across this open letter via Huffington Post, and it was penned by Johnny Gill back in June during Father's Day.  While reading it, I thought this letter deserved more publicity, as it spoke to what it means to truly be a "FATHER", even if you're not the husband.  I love his point of view and the efforts he makes to succeed at being a great Father.  This is what needs to be heard, because there are tons of great Father's out there that are being ignored due to the fact that they do not reside in the same household as their child. * Whether you are a single parent, co-parent or a happily married couple or in a committed union, raising children comes with many challenges. As a co-parent living over 3,000 miles away from my son, it's never easy. My son, Isaiah, lives in Washington, DC, and I live in Los Angeles. From the time Isaiah was 1 month old, he was bicoastal. During the early months and up until the time he started school, I would travel to and from Washington to bring Isaiah to Los Angeles. It was the most incredible bonding time during the early days of his life. Now, at 9 years old and attending school, Isaiah still travels back and forth and we spend time together during his days off from school. He often travels to Los Angeles on a Thursday or Friday and he returns on a red eye flight on Sunday, just in time for school on Monday morning. I frequently fly to Washington on my days off. I also have him during the summer months and most holidays. Although I make every effort to spend as much time with Isaiah as possible, at times, it's still not enough. I miss being a part of his day-to-day routine, helping with his school work and participating in various extra curriculum activities. It's a sacrifice, and it's well worth it because you will never get that time back. I am extremely grateful for the relationship that I have with Isaiah's mother. She is beyond incredible. I have learned and discovered a great deal about co-parenting. It's been a growing process for us, with many teachable moments. The most important lesson is that both parents must work together to make sure that they continue to bring balance in a child's life. It's about both parents having respect for each other. And it's so important at this junction in Isaiah's life for him to see that his parents have a healthy, communicative and friendly relationship. I admit that I am a bit old-fashioned. For me, I believe a child needs a mother and a father under the same roof. A man cannot teach a girl how to become a woman and a woman cannot teach a boy how to become a man. I realize how important that is, and though it can be tough without both parents, it can be done. My father, the late Johnny Gill,

Yasss…Black Man! Jonathan Grimes

courtesy of Black Enterprise Jonathan Grimes can be described as the type of husband women want to marry, the type of man women are glad their friend married, and the type of friend you’ve always wanted. He’s funny, down-to-earth, a true conversationalist and thought purveyor and led by faith. On any given day, you will find him juggling the many hats he wears daily—which include husband, father of three girls, professional, performer, and dream chaser. But just as quickly as you hold him in high esteem, he denounces the idea of him as the “perfect man” and gives you the real inside scoop on what it takes to balance it all. When asked how he maintains and balances his career (he was just recently promoted to Sales Program Execution Manager for Retail Real Estate at AT&T), passions, and home life, Grimes says he compartmentalizes his many roles in order to give 100% to each of his responsibilities. He wants to be great at every role and is very clear that grace and faith are necessary to achieve this balance; he doesn’t blame himself if he falls short one day in any given area because he knows he gave his best. Grimes is a man who keeps it real and doesn’t sugarcoat the truth about his journey, his challenges, and his purpose. So exactly what is his journey? He confidently and calmly answers: “To leave a legacy for my children and find my purpose.” For Grimes, living an authentic life is a top priority. “I want Tamika (his wife) to know the same man as the lady at work,” he says. “That way, you don’t have to remember to be someone different.” He’s been said to have “good ol’ common sense,” with an understanding of how to be a real man—something he says his upbringing taught him. His mother and father have been married for 37 years, and his grandmother and grandfather are preachers. He’s been groomed to know—and more importantly, to apply—the values that sometimes seem foreign in an era where there are overwhelming divorce rates and lower marriage rates. At the age of 31, Grimes provides sound marriage advice with a healthy marriage of nearly seven years to his best friend under his belt. He attributes the success of his marriage to these three things: 1. Make sure the person you marry is your best friend. 2. Understand how to communicate effectively. Be knowledgeable about how your wife wants to be communicated with. If she’s sensitive, act accordingly. If she’s a Type A personality, speak her language. 3. And lastly, but not least—he repeats this one twice: Never take your wife for granted. Grimes also emphasizes the simplicity of communicating, loving, and having good character. He insists that these values are not lost and that today’s men and women should not lose hope in finding the “right one” or a Godly mate. In addition to seeming to know a thing or two about how to maintain a healthy relationship, Grimes is also a musician and is currently in

“Sistahs Do Brunch” Event Pulls Positive Women Together to Inspire Moms & Girls

A couple weeks ago, I was invited to speak at the "Sistahs Do Brunch" event hosted by my blogger friend, Stacey Taylor of The Sistah Cafe.  It was to be a day of empowerment and networking, but we were blessed with so much more! Sistahs Do Brunch – Black Girl Power Edition was awesome!  This event brought out mothers & daughters of all ages for an afternoon of fellowship, connecting and sisterhood.  It was held at Wombtique, a holistic womb healing boutique in Roswell, Ga. owned and operated by Tanya Tibbs.  Our focus was on mothers and and their daughters.  As the venue filled up with women young and mature I just knew that it was gonna be a success. Before I RECAP it for you I simply must thank all involved.   Read the entire recap on The Sistah Cafe.

My Black is Beautiful Celebrates the Ways Black Women Are ‘All Together Beautiful’ at the 2015 Essence Festival

My Black is Beautiful (MBIB), a community-building program by Procter & Gamble (P&G) will celebrate their community of 2 million strong by shining a light on what makes Black women All Together Beautiful (ATB) at the 2015 Essence Festival. “As we continue our journey to inspire women and girls to change the conversation around Black beauty, we are excited to join our community to publicly recognize women who are All Together Beautiful and challenge them to share it with the world.”   Now in its eighth year at the Essence Festival, MBIB will kick off the ATB celebration with engaging experiences for attendees by connecting them to their favorite beauty and personal care products, including COVERGIRL, Pantene and Olay. These experiences consist of makeovers, transformational ATBprogramming, celebrity meet-and-greets, surprise gifting, expert panels and main stage moments. On the heels of exceeding the 1 million goal of its purpose-inspired Imagine A Future program - of which 3.2 million women and girls were educated and reached over three years to believe their Black is beautiful - MBIB is continuing their journey to inspire Black women and girls with the ATB Challenge. In a world where beauty is often defined solely by the outer exterior, the ATB Challenge invites women and girls to define the standard of beauty as integrity, strength, character, spirit, and positive action, and celebrate those who reaffirm this standard daily. MBIB will encourage women to accept the challenge by (1) recording and sharing a video on their social pages that celebrates a woman who is ATBusing the hashtags #MBIB and #AllTogetherBeautiful, and (2) challenging another woman to do the same for someone else. Women can also share their ATB photo and story on myblackisbeautiful.com to be included in our ATB digital mosaic. “The My Black is Beautiful family is humbled to have inspired 3.2 million girls and young women to be their best selves through the Imagine A Future program. Essence Festival played an important role over the past three years in helping us not only achieve, but exceed our goal,” said Grace Janes, My Black is Beautiful brand manager. "As we continue our journey to inspire women and girls to change the conversation around Black beauty, we are excited to join our community to publicly recognize women who are All Together Beautiful and challenge them to share it with the world.” A key component of the MBIB Essence Festival experience is the MBIB booth. Centered around theATB theme, P&G beauty brands COVERGIRL, Pantene, Olay and Clairol Professional are offering free makeovers, consultations and expert advice on personal grooming and styling. Additionally, with celebrity choreographer Laurieann Gibson, P&G personal care brands, Venus, Secret, Head & Shoulders, Always and Tampax will host a “Move with Confidence” dance area and teach guests how to groove daily with confidence and joy. Guests will also be treated to swag beauty bags and a unique social photo experience, encouraging them to celebrate why they are ATB. The MBIB booth will also include a live social news station to bring the

Loretta Lynch

It is beyond important for us to recognize those from our past as well as those that are making marks today to be named in future history.  Let us continue to teach our young girls of the greatness they have come from, have become, and can be. Born on May 21, 1959, in Greensboro, North Carolina, Loretta Lynch went on to earn her degree from Harvard Law School. She worked as a litigator for a private law firm before becoming a prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's office in New York's Eastern District, eventually making news as a senior prosecutor for the infamous 1997 Abner Louima police-brutality case. She served as U.S. attorney under the administrations of presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and in 2014 was nominated by President Obama to be U.S. attorney general, succeeding Eric Holder. After a long delay, in April 2015 she was confirmed and sworn in, thus becoming the first African-American woman to hold the position. Background and Education Loretta Elizabeth Lynch was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, to librarian Lorine Harris Lynch and Baptist pastor Lorenzo Lynch. Coming from a household that was directly involved in the Civil Rights Movement, the young Lynch went on to attend Harvard College, earning her bachelor’s in literature in 1981, and then opted to stay on with the university, graduating from Harvard Law School in 1984. Career in New York Eventually moving to New York, Lynch worked as a litigator at the firm Cahill, Gordon & Reindel from the mid-1980s until 1990. It was that year that she took on a governmental position, working as prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney team of New York’s Eastern District. In 1994 she became chief of the Long Island Office, and after several years was appointed top assistant to U.S. Attorney Zachary Carter. High-Profile Cases and Posts In 1999, Lynch served as one of the senior prosecutors in the high-profile case of Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was beaten and sodomized after being taken into police custody in Brooklyn. Coordinating strategies that included surprise testimony from police witnesses, Lynch and her team were able to secure a conviction for officer Justin Volpe. The formidable prosecutor would then be appointed twice to the post of U.S. attorney for New York's Eastern District under two Democratic leaders: The first appointment came in 1999 from President Bill Clinton. After she returned to private practice in 2002, this time as a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP, she returned to the U.S. attorney seat in 2010 under President Barack Obama. She later became chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys, and in 2014 coordinated another high-profile investigation, that of Staten Island Congressperson Michael Grimm, who would plead guilty to felony tax evasion and resign.

WNBA Star Tina Charles Donates Half Her $100,000 Salary To Charity

WNBA players don't earn a salary anywhere close to their NBA counterparts, but that's not stopping New York Liberty center Tina Charles from sharing her wealth. Charles will donate half of her $100,000 WNBA salary to a charity she started to honor her aunt, who died from multiple organ failure in 2013, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday. This isn't the first time Charles has done this either. Last season, she donated $50,000 to "Hopey's Heart," her foundation. Hopey's Heart also honors Wes Leonard, a high school basketball player who died of a sudden cardiac arrest in 2011 after hitting a game-winning shot. It provides health education, CPR training and automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) for schools and community recreation centers. Over the past few years, Charles has bought 142 AEDs for communities in need. She plans to use this season's $50,000 contribution to buy more and fund her expansion into Europe, where she will donate 16 AEDs in July. Because of Charles and Hopey's Heart, all EuroLeague women arenas will be outfitted with life-saving AEDs. Charles played for Turkish club Fenerbahce this past winter. "People ask me why I want to do this and provide every team and I tell them that I think the best joy of humility is to put the interest of others over yourself," Charles said in a FIBA press release at the time. Earning a living in women's professional basketball isn't an overly lucrative career, so for Charles to make such an impact without million-dollar paychecks only magnifies her commitment to her cause, and more importantly, her big heart. "Taking an interest in others is key in my life," she told AP on Tuesday. "It's my way of giving back. My passion of placing AEDs. Anything I can do to impact an institution with an AED is extremely important to    

Septima Clark

Known as the “Grandmother of the American Civil Rights Movement,” Septima Poinsette Clark was an educator and civil rights activist who played a major role in the voting rights of African-Americans. In 1920, while serving as an educator in Charleston, Clark worked with the NAACP to gather petitions allowing blacks to serve as principals in Charleston schools. Their signed petitions resulted in the first black principal in Charleston. Clark also worked tirelessly to teach literacy to black adults. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter awarded her a Living Legacy Award in 1979. Her second autobiography, Ready from Within: Septima Clark and the Civil Rights Movement, won the American Book Award.

New documentary on Nina Simone, ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’

courtesy of New York Daily News An astonishing new documentary on the singer Nina Simone opens with a scene of the star staring into space. She’s onstage, at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1976, about to begin a pivotal comeback performance. The thunderous applause that greeted her when she walked on stage has died down. And then... nothing. The singer looks around judgmentally, fidgets and broods, letting an uncomfortably long silence linger before announcing that she’ll never play a jazz festival again, vowing to move “to a higher plane.” It’s a squirm-inducing moment, which makes you wonder: Who is this difficult and intense woman? Over the next 110 minutes of Liz Garbus’ film, “What Happened, Miss Simone?,” we discover a lot about who Nina Simone was — a troubled, angry, scary soul who also happened to be one of the greatest musicians and singers of the last century. “What Happened,” which opens in theaters Wednesday, then hits Netflix Friday, draws on archival interviews with the star, her family and colleagues, along with priceless performance footage of the singer, who died in 2003 at age 70. Together, it tells a tale that’s at once rousing and disturbing. Born Eunice Waymon in the segregated North Carolina of 1933, the woman who became Nina Simone was a child prodigy pianist. At 12, she performed her first recital. Two white women were in attendance — Nina’s mom served as their maid — and they took an interest. The women had the youngster practicing eight hours a day, with the goal of making her the first black woman to play Carnegie Hall. Yet she was rejected by the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, due to her race, she believed. To make money, she wound up playing pop, jazz and R&B in a dive bar in Atlantic City under the name Nina Simone so her family wouldn’t feel, and share, her shame. The owner of the bar insisted she both sing and style herself as a soul star, though classical music was her passion. However selfish the club owner’s motives, he inadvertently gave the world an incredible gift. Simone became one of the most distinct, engaged and ruthless singers of all time. With her deep pitch and formidable character, she had a masculine energy, shielding a great vulnerability. Her rich vibrato resonated with equal parts righteousness and hurt. A crushing version she cut of “I Loves You Porgy” became a Top 20 hit but she had trouble sustaining her popularity, for both internal and external reasons. She had a defiance that put people off. If that quality hurt her career, it could result in righteous art. One of her first self-penned numbers, “Mississippi Goddam” reacted with unflinching bravery to the violent racism of the South in the '60s.  As the decade heated up, however, Simone’s politics became more violent. “Are you ready to smash white things,” she asks an audience in the late ’60s. “Are you ready to kill?” Both her extremism, and her inner turmoil, gave her performances an alarming honesty. She was uncommonly present in her

Yasss…Black Man!- Michael Render

With a resumé that includes trunk-rattling raps and repelling f**kboys, Killer Mike has finally decided to make the jump to public office. Killer Mike will be presumably running as Michael Render, his government name, for the vacant seat for District 55’s representative for Georgia’s House of Representatives. Tyrone Brooks, the previous seatholder, was forced to resign after tax fraud.  Render announced his decision to step up. "In Atlanta Georgia there will be special election tomorrow for District 55. Former state representative Tyrone Brooks no longer sits in the seat. I would like as many people as possible to go to the polls and write in Michael Render. Why? because if I win we win. Thank you now go vote." This isn’t a pipe dream like Waka Flocka Flame‘s ill-fated presidential campaign. This is the first time many people even heard of District 55’s special election. There may be more qualified candidates, but probably not enough to outweigh Render’s popularity. Render might be speaking at the state’s capital soon.

Taraji P. Henson wins Critics’ Choice Award for ‘Empire

Taraji P. Henson became the first black woman to win a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress in a Drama on Sunday evening at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Hollywood. Her role as “Cookie Lyon” on Fox’s runaway hit Empire has spawned massive fanfare and will probably secure her more awards in the future. “Thank you, Fox. You’re bold, you took a shot, you took a risk,” she said during her Sunday evening acceptance speech. “This just means that I’m touching lives, and thats why I got into acting.” Watch Taraji’s acceptance speech below: This historic win sets the stage for Henson’s potential forthcoming Best Actress Emmy nominiation — of which she remarked last week in a Los Angeles Press Conference, “I gotta win! I gotta win for history!” That win, should it happen, would make Henson the first African-American woman to snag the honor. If the show’s popularity and Cookie Lion’s tenacity is any measure, more historic firsts are in the actress’s future.

Business Babies and Beauty founder Shanda Cadet

Business Babies and Beauty was founded by Shanda Cadet to empower mothers around the country to pursue & accomplish their dreams.  As a stay at home wife, mother, and home school teacher to her 6 children,  she is also the President of Airbender, a premier Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning company in Atlanta, GA, and CEO of One Rich Lifestyle, a creative lifestyle brand.  The One Rich Lifestyle brand features baby & beauty Products including apparel, baby essentials,  home décor,  nail polish and more. Shanda enjoys both her home life and professional pursuits, and is often asked how she does it all.  That question has led to her being booked to speak at conferences, summits,  and conventions to provide tips and instruction on how to balance work and personal life.  " I started the company to help moms who needed tips and advice on how to balance it all. How to be present with your family and work or build a business. And how to effectively manage their time to do the things they love.  Because I have a love for business and start up, I want to assist other women who want to be in business. I want to encourage women that they can have it all! Just do it!"  Shanda will soon host Atlanta mompreneurs for an exciting big hat brunch this summer, stay connected with her on Instagram for details! @BusinessBabiesandBeauty

Yasss… Black Man! – Brandon Frame

If you begin to speak about empowering movements and making an impact in our communities, Brandon Frame is a man that you must mention. His cumulative collection of experiences, skills, and talents result in selfless service for the present and future generations of leaders under his personal motto. Be Different. Growing up in Hartford, Connecticut, Brandon established himself at an early age by committing to achieving his goals. His penchant for excellence was sealed while attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. As a graduate of the illustrious institution, Brandon cultivated his passion for developing young Black Males through programs such as the Role Model, Scholar, Gentleman (RSG) MENtoring Program for Charles R. Drew Charter School and after graduating, teaching English at The Fessenden School, where he was selected to sit on the Diversity Inclusion Committee – developing a more diverse, inclusive school and community. Be Great. In the beginning stages of his career, the educational area served as the breeding ground for creating a model that would continue to motivate students to not only become victors against the obstacles in their way, but also created an avenue where Brandon could embody high achievement on a daily basis. Currently serving as the Director of Business Partnerships and Program Development of Hartford’s High School, Inc. Brandon assists with providing students with resources, opportunities and knowledge to help them pursue careers in the fields of finance, insurance and other Corporate related sectors. Under his distinct leadership, he has created programs to level the playing field for his scholars such as The Connections Tutoring and Mentoring Program, Executive Luncheons Series, Global Business Excursion as well as an annual citywide job shadowing day. He has spearheaded internship opportunities for students with Fortune 500 companies Travelers, Prudential, The Hartford Insurance, United Healthcare, and more. Never Stop. As homage to the golden age in the Mecca of Black culture, intellect, and economic development, Brandon continues to use his power and resources for the development of the greater good. As a leader, he is the founder of TheBlackManCan, a digital platform where the Black Man is nurtured, empowered, and promoted in a positive light. He also serves as the Vice President of the Urban League of Greater Hartford Young Professionals. As the Principal Partner for Final Frame, he is creating an opportunity for men to express themselves in a presentable and professional way. As an author, he has composed “Define Yourself, Redefine The World: A Guided Journal for Black Boys and Men”, a one-of-a-kind proactive tool that will help to propel males to build their critical consciousness through self-reflection. As a dynamic and engaging speaker, he is changing the conversation on education and empowerment that is often undermined in regards to Black culture. Among a myriad of awards and honors, including the 2012 Excellence in Education Award from Black Street Black Celebration Awards, he recently he received an official citation from the State of Connecticut forTheBlackManCan Institute and was named Top 40 under 40 by The Hartford Business Journal for 2013. Brandon’s greatest accomplishment

Yasss… Black Man!

Black Man

This new series will highlight our brothers who are promoting excellence and honor in the title of Man. We honor our Kings in this segment and at the same time providing our sisters with a truer perspective of our men.  Know a black man we should highlight?  Send info and photo to isis@ihearthatgirl.com!

Mom goes from “hustlin'” to living her dreams

courtesy of Huffington Post How far would you go to live the life of your dreams? Tanai Benard a school teacher and single mother of three children ages 5,6 and 8 made a decision that ultimately changed their lives forever. In 2013, Tanai's marriage was in shambles and at the time her then husband agreed that they were in need of a change. Tanai figured that moving to another country would be the best thing for the family of five, yet she soon learned that her then husband had other plans. While packing and getting ready for their new journey in the UAE she received a call from her husband who worked offshore, saying "I am just going to stay aboard the ship and ride it out." As you can imagine Tanai was devastated as her plans for her family took a turn for the worse. She had to now accept her husband's decision and began their new journey without her husband by her side. There were other devastating surprises along the way, but that didn't stop Tanai from moving forward with her life and starting over as they boarded a plane four deep. When Tanai finally shared the move with her family their first response was "Where is that?" No one in her family knew exactly where Abu Dhabi was located on the map. Her family was supportive about her move, but she had yet to share the news about the big move with her mother and father while making her family swear to secrecy. After going through the interview process and accepting the teaching position Tanai made the final decision to move her now family of four to the UAE. Now comes the hard part, it was now time to share her final decision with her parents. Though she was prepared to persuade her mother about the move she surprisingly enough gave her daughter her blessing. Her father on the other hand said "Why are you taking my babies over there with them terrorists?" Her dad's reaction was to be expected. Though her dad had stated "I will NEVER visit!" Tanai recently with much persuasion convinced her father to come and visit with her and the children in August of this year. Since their move to the UAE, the kids by amazement have grown and matured beautifully. After dealing with the reality of their parents' divorce they are excelling and currently attend an American curriculum private school where they are learning Arabic and French. All three children maintain an A or A/B average. The children now get the opportunity to be a part of extracurricular activities and interact with other children from all over the world. There are many single mothers across the country with big dreams, yet many fail to step out on faith and make their dreams a reality. As I read Tanai's amazing testimony of faith, it brought me to tears and encouraged me on my journey. I soon wanted to pick up the phone and encourage her, so I reached

First Black Female Astronaut, Mae Jemison, talks Fear and Inclusion

courtesy of Fast Company On paper, Mae Jemison’s accomplishments are so varied and groundbreaking, you would never stop to consider that she—like most all of us— isn’t completely fearless. Jemison studied chemical engineering at Stanford before going to medical school at Cornell. From there, she went into the Peace Corps as a medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia before becoming a general-practice physician in Los Angeles. An itch to keep exploring, something that Jemison admits has been with her since childhood, led her to NASA, where she became an astronaut and the first woman of color in the world to go into space, aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, for its STS-47 Spacelab-J mission in 1992. Among her more recent ventures, Jemison’s taught environmental science at Dartmouth, leads 100 Year Starship, an initiative to get humans to travel beyond our solar system within the next 100 years, started the Earth We Share science literacy project, serves as Bayer Corporation USA's national science literacy advocate, and is on the boards of Kimberly-Clark, Scholastic, and Valspar. Along the way, she’s learned a lot, from complex technical engineering to soft skills like patience. FEAR ISN'T ALWAYS A WEAKNESS According to Jemison, she’s learned it’s what you do with that fear that makes the difference. She suffered from a fear of heights, but once she got into the astronaut training program, Jemison says, "There was no way I was not going to get through because of my fear of heights." Instead, she relied on the strength of her ego to push forward. IT’S A WEAKNESS ONLY IF IT KEEPS YOU FROM DOING STUFF. "It’s a weakness only if it keeps you from doing stuff," Jemison explains, adding that derring-do is not necessarily a strength. She believes as you learn your strengths and work on weaknesses, the key is more an issue of balance than to focus on one in hopes the other will disappear. "You can rely on strength so much, you don’t build up your other capabilities," says Jemison. Having too much empathy can hold you back as much as not having any and not be able to read a room, she points out. As for herself, she always tries new things to see what she could do better, something as simple as switching which hand she uses to do something. "I do things with my left hand just to see if I can," she explains. The change in perspective is enough to shake things up a bit. "We are all tasked to balance and optimize ourselves," she underscores. CONFIDENCE BOOST OR BUST One of the results of this practice has been boosting confidence, according to Jemison. She has had her share of both supporters and detractors. The latter, from the time she was in kindergarten, included one teacher who learned she wanted to become a scientist and told her to pursue nursing instead. On the flip side, Jemison says other teachers were there to provide encouragement, or at least equality. One professor at Stanford chose lab partners and stressed that those who didn’t

Financial Snobb Campaign kicks off in Atlanta!

As a Dallas-based Tax Consultant, Shannon Preston created the Financial Snobb Inc campaign to empower women around the world to be financially savvy and supportive of their fellow fempreneurs.  Shannon believes in solidarity through sisterhood and her efforts include a power-shoot tour, empowerment T-shirt line and quarterly scholarship fund for women that are paying it forward through their professional efforts.  With the Financial Snobb Inc campaign, she seeks to reach like-minded women who value the great principles of support, mentorship and community. Shannon most recently hosted an #iSupportGirlBosses power-shoot featuring some of Atlanta's esteemed female influencers including Lifestyle Publicist Lillie Mae, Powerhouse Sales Coach Erika Baez, Pro MUA/Beauty Blogger Bee Wade and Celebrity Hairstylist Danie Wilks. Part 2 of this exciting power-shoot series will soon be announced and include even more of Atlanta's business-owning beauties.  For details on participating in the Financial Snobb campaign email: PR@LillieMaePR.com and follow @FinancialSnobbInc on Instagram for exciting updates.  

Female Black Activist-Daisy Bates

Daisy Bates was born on November 11, 1914, in Huttig, Arkansas. She married journalist Christopher Bates and they operated a weekly African-American newspaper, the Arkansas State Press. Bates became president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP and played a crucial role in the fight against segregation.  In 1952, she headed the Arkansas branch of the NAACP and helped in the desegregation of schools in Little Rock.  She documented in her book The Long Shadow of Little Rock:  A Memoir.  She died in 1999.

Who is Mary McLeod Bethune?

Mary McLeod Bethune was a racial justice activist who sought to improve educational opportunities for African-Americans. She is best known for starting a school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Florida, that eventually became Bethune-Cookman University. She also served as both president of the National Association of Colored Women and founder of the National Council of Negro Women.

What Did Ella Baker Do For Us Black People?

Ella Baker

Ella Baker began her involvement with the NAACP in 1940. She worked as a field secretary and then served as director of branches from 1943 until 1946. In 1957, Baker moved to Atlanta to help organize Martin Luther King's new organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). She also ran a voter registration campaign called the Crusade for Citizenship. On February 1, 1960, a group of black college students from North Carolina A&T University refused to leave a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina where they had been denied service. Baker left the SCLC after the Greensboro sit-ins. She wanted to assist the new student activists because she viewed young, emerging activists as a resource and an asset to the movement. Miss Baker organized a meeting at Shaw University for the student leaders of the sit-ins in April 1960. From that meeting, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee -- SNCC -- was born.

Black Activist Amelia Boynton’s Story

Amelia Boynton was born on August 18, 1911, in Savannah, Georgia. Her early activism included holding black voter registration drives in Selma, Alabama, from the 1930s through the '50s. In 1964, she became both the first African-American woman and the first female Democratic candidate to run for a seat in Congress from Alabama. That same year, she marched on Bloody Sunday. In 1990, Boynton won the Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Freedom. Today, she tours on behalf of the Schiller Institute. In 1930, she met her co-worker, Dallas County extension agent Samuel Boynton. The two had in common their impassioned desire to better the lives of African-American members of their community, particularly sharecroppers. The couple married in 1936 and went on to have two sons, Bill Jr. and Bruce Carver. Over the next three decades, Amelia and Samuel collectively worked toward achieving voting, property and education rights for the poor African Americans of Alabama's farm country. Boynton's early activism included co-founding the Dallas County Voters League in 1933, and holding African-American voter registration drives in Selma from the 1930s through the '50s. Even Samuel's death in 1963 did not deter Amelia's commitment to improving the lives of African Americans. Civil Rights Movement In 1964, as the Civil Rights Movement was picking up speed, Amelia Boynton ran on the Democratic ticket for a seat in Congress from Alabama—becoming the first African-American woman to do so, as well as the first woman to run as a Democratic candidate for Congress in Alabama. Although she didn't win her seat, Boynton earned 10 percent of vote. Also in 1964, Boynton and fellow civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. teamed up toward their common goals. At the time, Boynton figured largely as an activist in Selma. Still dedicated to securing suffrage for African Americans, she asked Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to come to Selma and help promote the cause. King eagerly accepted. Soon after, he and the SCLC set up their headquarters at Boynton's Selma home. There, they planned the Selma to Montgomery March of March 7, 1965. Some 600 protesters arrived to participate in the event, which would come to be known as "Bloody Sunday." On the Edmund Pettus Bridge, over the Alabama River in Selma, marchers were attacked by policemen with tear gas and billy clubs. Seventeen protesters were sent to the hospital, including Boynton, who had been beaten unconscious. A newspaper photo of Boynton lying bloody and beaten drew national attention to the cause. Bloody Sunday prompted President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965, with Boynton attending as the landmark event's guest of honor. Boynton remarried in 1969, to a musician named Bob W. Billups. He died unexpectedly in a boating accident in 1973.

The Story of Female Black Activist Mildred Loving

Mildred Loving was a Civil Rights activist in the 1960s. She and her husband successfully defeated Virginia's ban on interracial marriage. Mildred Delores Jeter was born on July 22, 1939, in Central Point, Virginia. The shy, somewhat soft-spoken woman became a reluctant activist in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s when she and her husband, Richard Loving, successfully challenged Virginia's ban on interracial marriage. Mildred Loving was partially African American and Native American. Throughout her life, she referred to herself as Indian rather than black. Mildred's family had deep roots in the area around Central Point, Virginia, where blacks and whites mixed freely with little racial tension even at the height of the Jim Crow era. As a girl, Mildred was so skinny, she was nicknamed "Bean." She was just 11 years old and attending an all-black school when she first met Richard Loving, a 17-year-old white high school student. Quietly, the two fell in love and began dating and when Mildred became pregnant at the age of 18, the two decided to get married. Virginia's Racial Integrity Act of 1924 (known as an anti-miscegenation law) barred the Lovings from marrying in their home state, so the couple drove 90 miles north to Washington, D.C. to tie the knot and then returned to their home in Caroline County, Virginia. They'd been married just a few weeks when, in the early morning hours of July 11, 1958, the county sheriff and two deputies, acting on an anonymous tip that the Lovings were in violation of the law, stormed into the couple's bedroom. Richard ended up spending a night in jail, the pregnant Mildred several more, and the couple eventually pleaded guilty to violating the Virginia law, which recognized citizens as "pure white" only if they could claim white lineage all the way back to 1684. "Almighty God created the races white, white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents," presiding Judge Leon M. Bazile ruled. “And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." The Lovings' one-year sentences were suspended, but the plea bargain came with a price: The couple was ordered to leave the state and not return together for 25 years. The Lovings followed orders. They paid their court fees, relocated to Washington, D.C., had three children, and only rarely made separate return visits to Virginia to see friends and family. But by 1963, the Lovings decided they'd had enough. The Civil Rights movement was blossoming into real change in America and with a sense, perhaps, that this new era might lead the Lovings back to their old life in Virginia, Mildred wrote Attorney General Robert Kennedy to ask for his assistance. Kennedy wrote back and referred the Lovings to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which accepted the couple’s case. On June 12, 1967, the high court agreed unanimously in favor of the Lovings, striking down

Yasss!!! First Female US Navy Admiral is a Black Woman

Washington (AFP) - The US Navy has promoted a woman to the rank of a four-star admiral for the first time in its 238-year history, a milestone for females in the American military. In a ceremony on Tuesday, Michelle Howard was promoted to vice chief of naval operations, the number two job in the service, after having already shattered barriers in previous posts in the navy. Howard, 54, is known for commanding a counter-piracy task force in the Gulf of Aden that oversaw the 2009 rescue of a commercial cargo ship skipper, Captain Richard Phillips, who was abducted by Somali pirates. The rescue involving Navy SEALs was later depicted in a film starring Tom Hanks. "If you don’t believe today was a first, when I called to order four-star shoulder boards for women, they didn't exist," Howard said during her promotion ceremony. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Howard had earned her promotion through "a brilliant naval career" and hailed it as "an historic first." View gallery US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus promotes Michelle Howard to the rank of admiral, the first woman  … "She will bear the burden of a role model and she is ready to bear that very well," said Navy chief Admiral Jonathan Greenert. Howard has blazed a trail since graduating from the Naval Academy in 1982. She was the first African-American woman to command an American naval ship in 1999, taking the helm of the USS Rushmore, a dock landing vessel that transports amphibious vehicles. Although she is the first female four-star admiral in the navy, the US Army and Air Force already have had women serve as four-star officers. The promotion follows a recent decision by commanders to open up submarines to female officers and allow women to perform some combat jobs that were previously closed to female ground troops. View gallery Adm. Michelle Howard, center, smiles as Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, left, and Wayne Cowles, How … Since 1993, women have been allowed to serve on warships and fly fighter jets. Howard was one of a small number of women who attended the US Naval Academy in the early 1980s. But women made up 25 percent of this year's graduating class at the academy, an all-time high. The promotion ceremony was held at Arlington National Cemetery's Women in Military Service for America memorial.  

Do The Right Thing Celebrates 25 Years

Today, we celebrate 25 years since filmmaker, Spike Lee, released the iconic urban classic, “Do The Right Thing”. This is one my top 5 favorite movies EVER!!! When Spike throws the trash can in the window!!!! LOL, my favorite part of all time, “Radioooooooo!!!” What’s yours?

Women On Purpose- Cheadee Doe

Beautiful U Organization Beautiful U is more than an organization, it is a concept and movement brought to life by Cheadee Doe. This ambitious young lady began this organization in 2010 with a vision in mind that the essence of true beauty is what is within. Cheadee is 18 years old and graduated from Arabia Mountain High School in 2013. She now furthers her education at Georgia Perimeter College. She resides in Decatur, GA and takes pride in giving back to her community through reaching out to the youth. She is an active member in her family’s church, Deliverance Life Tabernacle. Cheadee started the first Chapter at Arabia Mountain High School. She also has done inspirational speaking in Liberia West Africa, Alonzo Crim High School, and Murphy Candler Elementary School. She recently did mission work in Liberia West Africa raising funds to give to a local school, DLMA Academy and to orphanage homes. In the future she plans to start an orphanage home in Monrovia, Liberia West Africa, travel the world inspiring young women, and creating more recreation centers starting in Atlanta She believes in promoting self-confidence in our young ladies of this generation and giving back to the community, through Beautiful U she is able to do both.   Beautiful U organization teaches ladies that beauty comes from within and is unique and that being yourself is what makes you beautiful. This organization encourages that stereotypes and expectations from the media be put aside and allow ladies to love themselves for who they are. Through group sessions and outings this organization creates a positive sisterhood and safe haven among the ladies. Along with promoting self-confidence, the girls also establish a sense of charity and leadership.

Women On Purpose- Layla K.

Global Fashion Initiative This couture connoisseur and self proclaimed Entre-Fashionista, studied Consumer & Family Sciences at San Francisco State University.  Her fashion journey began in 1998 as a talented and innovative couture designer who celebrated her big break, opening for Guess by Marciano in a nationally televised runway show.  Layla retired from apparel design in 2007 to extend her talents and focus on the business side of the fashion industry including merchandise buying, sourcing, consulting, model management, fashion brand development, graphic artistry, photography, marketing, editorial writing, as well as event production and design. Although Layla is best known for her accomplishments in the world of fashion, she would prefer to be know for her work behind the seams, assisting young women in their transition to self-sufficiency and building up teen girls in her community. The mission of Global Fashion Initiative is simple: To provide support to young girls and young adult women through empowerment programs and unique experiences that inspire and encourage the confidence necessary to achieve the ultimate success in life.

Women On Purpose- Erica Neal

  CHRIS Kids In 1981, the Atlanta Junior League, in collaboration with the Menninger Foundation, established CHARLEE (Children Have All Rights-Legal, Educational, Emotional) to serve abused and neglected youth in the metro Atlanta. The agency began with three group homes to serve children in foster care with mental health and other therapeutic needs. Later, the name changed to CHRIS Homes and eventually became what it is today, CHRIS Kids. The name is an acronym that represents our core values, Creativity, Honor, Respect, Integrity and Safety. Programs and collaborative partnerships were created to fill gaps and, often, introduced new approaches in Georgia. CHRIS Kids has a proven track record of innovation and leading change in our community. While programs and services have changed, our mission has not. Our mission is to heal children, strengthen families and build community. Our programs and services are grounded in our values (Creativity, Honor, Respect, Integrity, Safety: CHRIS). We offer a Family of Services for children, youth and families that helps individuals overcome trauma and move to resiliency and self-sufficiency. Our goal is that all children, adults and families receive thehand up they need to lead fulfilling lives and to demonstrate responsible citizenship. The CHRIS Kids vision is to improve the community by providing children, adults and families with high-quality, trauma-informed behavioral health services and support systems. This matters because everyone deserves to be a part of a safe, vibrant community. For more information on this organization visit:  www.chriskids.org      

Women On Purpose- Keischa Bradley

P.U.S.H. Organization Keischa Bradley is the founder of P.U.S.H. organization.  P.U.S.H is a non-profit faith based organization geared toward mentoring young ladies about purity, personal situations and the Kingdom of God.  The organization is based in the Conyers/Atlanta, GA area.  The organization meets monthly and provides a safe haven and healthy conversation for dialogue among young ladies. For more information on this group visit them on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/pushingyourselfhigher  

Women On Purpose- Kimya Motley

Haven of Light International Kimya Motley has experienced family violence during the course of her lifetime. She accepted those situations as part of the normal progression of life. On September 20, 2011, all of that changed. She was shot by her ex-husband four times in the back of the head, neck, face, and back with a .38 caliber pistol. Additionally, he shot her then 10 -year old daughter, once, at point blank range in the head. Neither were expected to live, but did by God’s grace and love. Kimya knew that with the help of Jesus, she could turn her tragedy into triumph for so many others. Out of her experiences with domestic violence, the idea for Haven of Light International was birthed. Haven of Light seeks to build healthy families through a relationship with Jesus Christ and believes that lasting change is only possible through Him.   Our women's program seeks to equip the women with the necessary tools to rebuild their lives spiritually, physically, emotionally, and financially after physical, emotional, verbal, and/or sexual trauma.  For the men that our willing, we partner with local programs to help transform the men from perpetrators to protectors.Furthermore, our community outreach programs educate and provide resources for the public in the education, religious, and business sectors. We are transforming families with God's love in an atmosphere of restoration, healing, forgiveness, and hope. For more information visit:  www.haven-of-light.org

Claudette Colvin

Claudette Colvin (born September 5, 1939) is a pioneer of the African-American civil rights movement. In 1955, she was the first person arrested for resisting bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, preceding the better known Rosa Parks incident by nine months. She was among the five women originally included in the federal court case, filed on February 1, 1956 as Browder v. Gayle (1956), and testified before the three-judge panel that heard the case in the United States District Court. On June 13, 1956, the judges determined that the state and local laws requiring bus segregation in Alabama were unconstitutional. The case went to the United States Supreme Court, which upheld their ruling on December 17, 1956. Three days later, the Supreme Court issued an order to Montgomery and the state to end bus segregation in Alabama. For a long time, Montgomery's black leaders did not publicize Colvin's pioneering effort because she was a teenager and became pregnant while unmarried. Given the social norms of the time and her youth, the NAACP leaders worried about using her to represent their movement.[1][2]

Bunnatine “Bunny” Greenhouse

Bunnatine (Bunny) H. Greenhouse is a former chief contracting officer Senior Executive Service (Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting (PARC)) of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. On June 27, 2005, she testified to a Congressional panel, alleging specific instances of waste, fraud, and other abuses and irregularities by Halliburton with regard to its operations in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. She described one of the Halliburton contracts (secret, no-bid contracts awarded to Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR)—a subsidiary of Halliburton) as "the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career".[1] A long-time government employee, Greenhouse was hired by Lieutenant General Joe Ballard in 1997 to oversee contracts at the Army Corps of Engineers. After Ballard retired in 2000, Greenhouse's performance reviews, which had been exemplary throughout her public career, suddenly soured. Greenhouse filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint alleging race and gender discrimination, which her attorney states has never been investigated. In August 2005, she was demoted in what her lawyer called an "obvious reprisal" for her revelations about the Halliburton contracts.[2][3] Bunnatine Greenhouse stood alone in opposing the approval of a highly improper muti-billion dollar no bid contract to Halliburton for the reconstruction of Iraq. In retaliation for her courage she was removed from her position as the highest-ranking civilian contracting official at the Army Corps of Engineers. On July 25, 2011, The U.S. District Court in Washington, DC approved awarding Greenhouse $970,000 in full restitution of lost wages, compensatory damages and attorney fees.[4]

Barbara Rose Johns

In 1951, a 16 year old black high school girl in Prince Edward County, Virginia, led her classmates in a strike to protest the substandard conditions at Robert Russa Moton High School. Enlisting NAACP lawyers Spotswood Robinson and Oliver Hill to her cause, the lawyers filed suit at the federal courthouse in Richmond, Virginia demanding using the Moton High School case to end segregated schools in Virginia. They lost. In their appeal the lawyers incorporated the Moton case with three other similar suits that became known as Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka. Today, Moton High School, the scene of Barbara Johns' walkout, is a historic landmark and civil rights museum.

Alice Walker

Born in Putnam, GA, Alice Walker is best known as the writer of the critically acclaimed novel, "The Color Purple".  Her writings have become a part of American History. Walker's first book of poetry was written while she was a senior at Sarah Lawrence. She took a brief sabbatical from writing while working in Mississippi in the civil rights movement. Walker resumed her writing career when she joined Ms. magazine as an editor before moving to northern California in the late 1970s. Her 1975 article "In Search of Zora Neale Hurston", published in Ms. magazine, helped revive interest in the work of Zora Neale Hurston, who inspired Walker's writing and subject matter. In 1973, Walker and fellow Hurston scholar Charlotte D. Hunt discovered Hurston's unmarked grave in Ft. Pierce, Florida. The women collaborated to buy a modest headstone for the gravesite.[10] In addition to her collected short stories and poetry, Walker's first novel, The Third Life of Grange Copeland, was published in 1970. In 1976, Walker's second novel, Meridian, was published. The novel dealt with activist workers in the South during the civil rights movement, and closely paralleled some of Walker's own experiences. In 1982, Walker published what has become her best-known work, the novel The Color Purple. About a young troubled black woman fighting her way through not only racist white culture but also patriarchal black culture, it was a resounding commercial success. The book became a bestseller and was subsequently adapted into a critically acclaimed 1985 movie as well as a 2005 Broadway musical.

Maggie Lena Walker

Maggie Lena Walker was born on July 15, 1864, in Richmond, Virginia. She attended the Lancester School and later Richmond Colored Normal School. Both of the schools she attended were revolved around the education and advancement of African Americans. She graduated in 1883, and had finished her training as a schoolteacher. Maggie married Armstead Walker Jr.  A brick contractor. Although the couple was deeply in love, the school Maggie taught at frowned upon teacher’s being married. Having that rule had a hold on Maggie’s neck and it raised a lot of tension in the Walker household. What would you choose your dream or the love of your life? Well Maggie chose love and quickly quit her teaching job but that was not the end of this woman. She packed her bags and became an energetic member of the Independent Order of St. Luke; it was an organization that dedicated their time to the social and financial advancement of African Americans.   Later in 1899 Maggie became the grand secretary at the organization. There she had also founded the organizations newspaper and opened a successful bank and department store, she turned bankruptcy into profit. Maggie left this world on December 15, 1934. This woman may not be talked about much in history but she has made a great contribution for her community. Thank you Ms. Walker for your strength brilliance and inspiration for us future writers and business owners!

Daisy Bates

Daisy Bates was born on November 11, 1914, in Huttig, Arkansas. She married journalist Christopher Bates and they operated a weekly African-American newspaper, the Arkansas State Press. Bates became president of the Arkansas chapter of the NAACP and played a crucial role in the fight against segregation, which she documented in her book The Long Shadow of Little Rock. Bates was raised by Orle and Susie Smith, whom she believed to be her birth parents for many years. In "The Death of my Mother," Bates recounted learning as a child that her birth mother had been murdered by three local white men. Her father left the family shortly after her mother's death and left her in the care of his closest friend, L.C. Bates, an insurance salesman who had also worked on newspapers in the South and West. L. C. dated her for several years, and they married in 1942, living in Little Rock. The Bateses decided to act on a dream of theirs, the ownership of a newspaper. They leased a printing plant that belonged to a church publication and inaugurated the Arkansas State Press. The first issue appeared on May 9, 1941. The paper became an avid voice for civil rights even before a nationally recognized movement had emerged. The Bateses' involvement in the Little Rock Crisis resulted in the loss of much advertising revenue to their newspaper, and it was forced to close in 1959. In 1960, Daisy Bates moved to New York City and wrote her memoir, The Long Shadow of Little Rock, which won a 1988 National Book Award.

Nannie Helen Burroughs

Nannie Helen Burroughs Nannie Helen Burroughs was born in Orange, Virginia in 1883 to parents John and Jennie Burroughs.  Young Burroughs attended school in Washington, D.C. and then moved to Kentucky where she attended Eckstein-Norton University and eventually received an honorary M.A. degree in 1907. Despite the absence of a college degree, Burroughs sought a teaching position in Washington, D.C.  When she did not receive it, she moved to Philadelphia and became associate editor of The Christian Banner, a Baptist newspaper.  Burroughs returned to Washington, D.C. where, despite receiving a high rating on the civil service exam, she was refused a position in the public school system.  Burroughs took a series of temporary jobs including office building janitor and bookkeeper for a small manufacturing firm, hoping to eventually become a teacher in Washington, D.C.  She then accepted a position in Louisville as secretary of the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention. In 1907 Burroughs, supported by the National Baptist Convention, began planning the National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls in Washington, D.C.  The school opened in 1909 with 26-year-old Burroughs as its first president.  Burroughs adopted the motto “We specialize in the wholly impossible” for the school, which taught courses on the high school and junior college level.  She led her small faculty in training students through a curriculum that emphasized both vocational and professional skills.  Her students were to become self-sufficient wage earners and “expert homemakers.” Unlike most of her contemporaries, Burroughs believed that industrial and classical education were compatible. She also became an early advocate of African American history, requiring each of her students to pass that course before graduation.  Burroughs was a demanding principal.  According to observers, she was such a purist that she was physically pained when she encountered grammatical errors made by her students. Nannie Helen Burroughs never married.  She devoted her life to the National Trade and Professional School for Women and Girls and remained its principal until her death in 1961.  Three years later the institution she founded was renamed the Nannie Burroughs School.

Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman Bessie Coleman was the first black woman to earn a pilot's license. Because flying schools in the United States denied her entry, she taught herself French and moved to France, earning her license from France's well-known Caudron Brother's School of Aviation in just seven months. Coleman specialized in stunt flying and parachuting, earning a living barnstorming and performing aerial tricks. She remains a pioneer of women in the field of aviation. Life was not easy for her, moving from Atlanta, TX to the South side of Chicago only fueled her desire to "amount to something.  Her dreams were eventually realized although it was a varied journey to the goal.  Coleman was motivated by a cause, she wanted to open her own aviation school; I believe because she wanted other blacks to have the opportunity not afforded to her in the US.  Tragically, she lost her life in a plane crash.

Patricia E. Bath

Patricia E. Bath is the first African American female doctor to patent a medical invention. Patricia Bath's patent was for a method for removing cataract lenses that transformed eye surgery by using a laser device making the procedure more accurate.  Patricia Bath's passionate dedication to the treatment and prevention of blindness led her to develop the Cataract Laserphaco Probe. The probe patented in 1988, was designed to use the power of a laser to quickly and painlessly vaporize cataracts from patients' eyes, replacing the more common method of using a grinding, drill-like device to remove the afflictions. With another invention, Bath was able to restore sight to people who had been blind for over 30 years. Patricia Bath also holds patents for her invention in Japan, Canada, and Europe.

Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges In spring of 1960, Ruby Bridges was one of 6 black children in New Orleans to pass the test that determined whether or not the black children would go to the all-white school. Ruby was the only one assigned to William Frantz. Her father was initially reluctant, but her mother felt strongly that the move was needed not only to give her own daughter a better education, but to "take this step forward ... for all African-American children."  The court-ordered first day of integrated schools in New Orleans, November 14, 1960, was commemorated by Norman Rockwell in the painting The Problem We All Live With.   As soon as Bridges entered the school, white parents pulled their own children out; all teachers refused to teach while a black child was enrolled. Only one person agreed to teach Ruby and for over a year Mrs. Henry taught her alone, "as if she were teaching a whole class." That first day, Bridges and her adult companions spent the entire day in the principal's office; the chaos of the school prevented their moving to the classroom until the second day. Every morning, as Bridges walked to school, one woman would threaten to poison her; because of this, the U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower, who were overseeing her safety, only allowed Ruby to eat food that she brought from home. Another woman at the school put a black baby doll in a wooden coffin and protested with it outside the school, a sight that Bridges Hall has said "scared me more than the nasty things people screamed at us." At her mother's suggestion, Bridges began to pray on the way to school, which she found provided protection from the comments yelled at her on the daily walks.    

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