Category: Female

December 12 1940- Dionne Warwick

GM – FBF – Today’s story sends us back to New Jersey, this artist has produced and sung a lot of hits over her career and we still hear them being played today. Her sister sung and her niece sung and we all know her niece. Enjoy!

Remember – “All my friends and peers keep asking me when I’m going to rest – I just tell them it’s another dirty four-letter word! Dionne Warwick

Today in our History – December 12, 1940 Dionne Warwick was born.

Dionne Warwick sang in a gospel trio before recording her first hit songs, including “Walk on By” and “I Say a Little Prayer.” After a lull in her career in the 1970s, her album Dionne (1979) sold a million copies. She went on to release the albums Heartbreaker (1982) and How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye? (1983). In 2012, Warwick celebrated her 50th anniversary in the music business with the album Now. She filed for bankruptcy the following year.
Born Marie Dionne Warrick on December 12, 1940, in East Orange, New Jersey, Dionne Warwick has enjoyed a tremendously long career as a singer. She comes from a gospel musical background as the daughter of a record promoter and a gospel group manager and performer. As a teenager, Warwick started up her group, the Gospelaires, with her sister, Dee Dee, and aunt Cissy Houston.

After finishing high school in 1959, Warwick pursued her passion at the Hartt College of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. She also landed some work with her group singing backing vocals for recording sessions in New York City. During one session, Warwick met Burt Bacharach. Bacharach hired her to record demos featuring songs written by him and lyricist Hal David. A record executive liked Warwick’s demo so much that Warwick got her own record deal.

In 1962, Warwick released her first single, “Don’t Make Me Over.” It became a hit the following year. A typo on the record led to an accidental name. Instead of “Dionne Warrick,” the label read “Dionne Warwick.” She decided to keep the new moniker and went on to greater chart success. In 1964, Warwick had two Top 10 singles with “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and “Walk On By”—both penned by Bacharach and David. “Walk On By” was also her first No. 1 R&B hit.

More hits, including many written by Bacharach and David, followed as the 1960s progressed. “Message to Michael” made the Top 10 in 1966, and her version of “I Say A Little Prayer” climbed as high as the No. 4 spot the following year. Warwick also found great success with her contributions to movie soundtracks. The theme song for the 1967 film Alfie, starring Michael Caine, was a solid success for her, as was “Valley of the Dolls,” from the 1968 movie of the same name.

In 1968, Warwick had other hits, including her trademark tune “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” which earned Warwick her first Grammy Award. That same year, Warwick made history as the first African-American woman to perform for Queen Elizabeth II in England.

Warwick reached the top of the pop charts for the first time in 1974 with “Then Came You,” which she recorded with the Spinners. But then Warwick suffered a career slump for several years. In 1979, she made a triumphant return to the charts with the ballad “I’ll Never Love This Way Again.” She also soon became a fixture on television with the music program Solid Gold, which she hosted in the early 1980s. Warwick also had several successful collaborative efforts. In 1982, she made the charts with “Friends In Love” with Johnny Mathis, and “Heart Breaker” with Barry Gibb.

Around this time, Warwick scored one of the biggest hits of her career with “That’s What Friends Are For.” Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Gladys Knight also appeared on this 1985 No. 1 hit, which was an AIDS charity single written by Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. “Love Power,” her duet with Jeffrey Osbourne two years later, marked her next major hit.

Warwick encountered some challenges beginning in the 1990s. It was revealed in the late 1990s that she had a lien against her for unpaid taxes. In 2002, she was arrested in a Miami airport for possession of marijuana. She lost her sister, Dee Dee, in 2008, and her cousin, Whitney Houston, four years later. Despite these personal losses, Warwick continued to perform and to record new music.

In 2012, Warwick celebrated her 50th year in music with the album Now. The recording features songs written by Bacharach and David. She once explained her longevity to Jetmagazine, saying, “I really attribute it to remaining who I am and not jumping ship, being completely cognizant of what the people … are accustomed to hearing from me.”

Warwick’s personal life overshadowed her musical talents the following year. In March 2013, she made headlines when she declared bankruptcy. Warwick owned more than $10 million in unpaid taxes, but she stated that she only $1,000 in cash and $1,500 in personal property. According to CNN, her spokesperson explained that her economic crisis was because of “negligent and gross financial mismanagement” during the late 1980s through to the mid-1990s.

Warwick has two sons, David and Damon Elliot, from her marriage to actor and musician William David Elliot. She has worked with both of her sons on different projects over the years. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 10 1982- Pamela McAllister

GM – FBF – Today’s story takes me back to the Badger state of Wisconsin, where I spent 10 years getting a BA and MFA. Also I started my own business MaddLadd Productions during the beginning of the Disco era and worked on radio stations in Southeast Wisconsin to promote my business and was program director to a few of the most distinguished discotheques in the area including Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, WI. My master’s degree was in Radio & Television Broadcasting which included some journalism classes in which I had an opportunity to meet today’s story headliner. Enjoy!

Remember – “We as black people should be qualified to run any newspaper in America”. – Pam McAllister Johnson

Today in our History – December 10, 1982 – Pamela McAllister Johnson became the first Black woman publisher of a mainstream paper, the Ithaca Journal.

Pam McAllister Johnson, American newspaper publisher, consultant. Member National Association Black Journalists, National Association Education in Journalism, New York State Publications Association, American Newspaper Publications assosiation, New York Association Black Journalists, Ithaca Business and Professional Women.; Club: Zonta.

Johnson, Pam McAllister was born on April 14, 1945 in McAlester, Oklahoma, United States. Daughter of Elmer Reuben and Esther Queen (Crump) McAllister.

Bachelor of Science, University Wisconsin, 1967, Master of Science, 1971, Doctor of Philosophy, 1977. Association professor journalism University of Wisconsin Madison,1971-1978. Associate professor Norfolk State University (Virginia), 1979-1981.

General executive Gannett Company, Inc., Bridgewater, New Jersey, since 1981. Assistant to public The Ithaca Journal, New York, 1981, president, public, since 1981. Director First Bank Ithaca.

Board of directors St. Bonaventure U., Olean, New York, Station WCNY-television, Syracuse, New York. Member of advisory board National Youth Communication, Syracuse, 1983.

Associate professor journalism University Wisconsin, Madison, 1971—1978. Associate professor Norfolk State University, Virginia, 1979—1981. General executive Gannett Company, Inc., Bridgewater, New Jersey, since 1981.

Assistant to public The Ithaca Journal, New York, 1981, president, public, 1981.

Director First Bank Ithaca. Board directors St. Bonaventure University, Olean, New York, Station WCNY-television, Syracuse. Member advisory board National Youth Communication, 1983.

Member of Ithaca Business and Professional Women, New York Association Black Journalists, married Newspaper Publications Association, New York State Publications Association, National Association Education in Journalism, National Association Black Journalists, Zonta.

Married Donald Nathanial Johnson, June 8, 1968. Children: Jason, Dawn.
Father: Elmer Reuben McAllister, Mother: Esther Queen (Crump) McAllister – Husband: Donald Nathanial Johnson, two children: Dawn Johnson and Jason Johnson. Research more about black women in journalism and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 8 2006- Cynthia Ann Mckinney

GM – FBF – Today’s story centers around a black woman who did her best to tell her story in the U.S. Congress, every day I ride pass by a stretch of highway in her honor. Enjoy!

Remember – Ever since I came to Congress in 1992, there are those who have been trying to silence my voice. I’ve been told to ‘sit down and shut up’ over and over again. Well, I won’t sit down and I won’t shut up until the full and unvarnished truth is placed before the American people. Cynthia McKinney

Today in our History – On December 8, 2006, in her last major act as a member of Congress, Cynthia McKinney introduced legislation to Impeach President George Bush because of his conduct of the Iraq War.

Cynthia Ann McKinney was born on March 17, 1955 in Atlanta, Georgia to parents Billy McKinney, who was a police officer and to a mother, Leola Christion McKinney, who was a nurse. Her father was a political activist who challenged his employer, the Atlanta Police Department, for its practice of racial discrimination. This desire to use activism in the cause of racial justice was inherited by Cynthia McKinney who initiated her first petition against racism while still in school. In 1971 she challenged a teacher at the Catholic institution for using racist language. Meanwhile, her father, Billy McKinney was elected to the Georgia State Legislature in 1973 as a Democrat.

After completing St. Joseph’s High School in Atlanta in 1973, McKinney in 1978 received a degree in international relations from the University of Southern California. This degree would serve her well in the future as became increasingly concerned about the role and impact of U.S. foreign around the world. McKinney then entered the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. There she met and Jamaican politician Coy Grandison and returned to Jamaica with him.

McKinney’s political career began in 1986 when her father, Billy McKinney persuaded his 31-year-old daughter become a write-in campaign for another legislative seat. Without any campaigning because she lived in Jamaica at the time, and little help from other Democrats, Cynthia McKinney still managed to get 20% of the total vote. Two years later she decided to mount an all-out campaign for the seat. Elected in 1988 at the age of 33, McKinney was one of the youngest members of the state legislature. She and her father became the first father-daughter pair in the Georgia legislature.

McKinney soon became controversial in the Georgia legislature for opposing the Gulf War and for challenging the chamber’s dress code by wearing slacks instead of dresses. She also joined Georgia civil rights leaders in a lawsuit to increase the number of black judges appointed in the state.

In 1992, McKinney ran for Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District seat. She won and remained in the U.S. House of Representatives for a decade. While in Congress McKinney was appointed to the Armed Services Committee and the International Relations Committee where she served as Ranking Member on its International Operations and Human Rights Subcommittee. A member of the Congressional Black Caucus, she also led the Women’s Caucus Task Force on Children, Youth and Families.
While agreeing with most of the Clinton administrations policies, she challenged the Administration on the North American Free Trade Agreement. She also called for the end of U.S. arms sales to nations with a history of human rights violations. She also continued to be a strong voice for racial justice issues. She opposed welfare reform in 1996 because she felt it would intensify the conditions facing impoverished black women and children. She called for election reform after the 2000 presidential election partly because of what she termed the disfranchisement of many Florida African American voters.

In 2002, McKinney was defeated in the Democratic Primary race by DeKalb County Judge Denise Majette. An estimated 40,000 Republicans voted in the Democratic Primary to defeat McKinney, angry over a controversial interview she had given earlier that year at a Berkeley, California radio station where she alleged that the Bush Administration had prior knowledge about the 9-11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.

In 2004, McKinney returned to Congress where she became most noted for her criticism of the Bush Administration for its lack of support for Hurricane Katrina victims. In 2006 McKinney lost in the Democratic Primary to DeKalb County attorney Hank Johnson. On December 8, 2006, in her last major act as a member of Congress, McKinney introduced legislation to Impeach President George Bush because of his conduct of the Iraq War. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 7 1941- Carole Simpson

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a Black female who was the first of her kind in television both locally in Chicago, IL and nationally on ABC news. After the federal government dropped the requirements for broadcasting in 1977 a lot of people who didn’t understand journalism and still don’t have taken a profession which I loved as a radio air personality who read the news to a Infotainment audience, Journalism as I understood it is dead. All we have now are people giving their opinion and that is not journalism. This lady was one of the last journalists on air, Enjoy!

Remember – “ I use to be proud that I did my body of work in the way it was meant to be and I still Instill this with my students to this day” – Carole Simpson

Today in our History – December 7, 1941 Carole Simpson was born.

Award-winning journalist Carole Simpson was the first black woman television reporter to broadcast radio news in Chicago. She is also the first African American woman to anchor a major television network evening newscast.

Veteran Journalist Carole Simpson, who has spent her three decades as an anchor in the network, has accumulated a lot of fan followings who seem to be mesmerized by her life behind the camera.

The American journalist Carole Estelle Simpson was born on 7 December 1941 in Chicago, Illinois. Born in Chicago, She was the daughter of Lytle Ray and Doretha Viola Simpson. She is currently 76 years of age, and the birth sign is Sagittarius.

In 1958, Carole graduated attended the University of Illinois, and after completing her graduation, she transferred to the University of Michigan where she graduated in 1962 with her B.A. degree in journalism.

Carole was the only black journalism major in her graduating class, and while pursuing her B.A. degree, she received her first media experience by working at a community newspaper during her summer breaks.

Carole, who stands at the tall height, started her first job on the radio at WCFL in Chicago, Illinois, and was later hired at WBBM.

After that, she moved to television at Chicago’s WMAQ and onto NBC News in the year 1975, becoming the first African-American woman to anchor a major network newscast.
She also became the first woman of color to moderate a presidential debate when she moderated the debate held between George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot, at Richmond, Virginia, in 1992. The same year she won the Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

Later, she joined ABC News in the year 1982 and was an anchor for the weekend edition of World News Tonight from 1988 to 2003. Though she ended her career at ABC News but had a contract with the network until 2005.

After her retirement from ABC News in 2006, she was hired as Leader in Residence at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts in the year 2007. In 2010, her autobiography, Newslady, was published by AuthorHouse.

Her time in the network has not just rewarded her with name and fame but has also been successful financially. Being the anchor of the ABC News channel, she must have earned a huge amount of salary from her career and has a net worth estimated to be in millions.

Veteran Journalist Carole is married to her husband James Edward Marshall on 3 September 1966. However, neither Carole nor James has revealed the information regarding her wedding reception. There is also no information regarding how they met and how their relationship flourished before marriage.

However, it has come to the limelight that, the couple shares two children together, a daughter named Mallika JoyMarshall, and a son Adam Marshall. Her daughter Mallika is now a physician and her son, Adam is a junior partner in a talent firm in Los Angeles.

The couple, who currently resides in Boston, seems to be happy with their two children and three grandbabies as a family who live in suburban Wellesley. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 5 1784- Phillis Wheatly

GM – FBF – There are some stories in our History that need to be shared as much as possible. Today’s story is one of them. I was blessed to take some of my students from Trenton and Ewing to Houston, Texas and actually did one of our awards ceremonies honoring the late U.S. Congressman Mickey Leland who was from 5th ward of Houston. He was a graduate of Phillis Wheatley High School where we met the Leland family, Governor Ann Richards and the late U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. The students of Phillis Wheatley High School and our Trenton students did two community events – one serving meals at a soup kitchen and the second was clothing drive at Texas Southern University. We were amazed of how many of Phillis Wheatley’s writings that the students were exposed too. Enjoy!

Remember – “In every human Breast, God has implanted a Principle, which we call Love of Freedom; it is impatient of Oppression, and pants for Deliverance.” ― Phillis Wheatley

Today in our History – December 5, 1784 – Phillis Wheatley died.

Phillis Wheatley was the first African American poet to publish a book. She was born in 1753, in West Africa and brought to New England, enslaved, in 1761, where she was sold to John Wheatley of Boston. The Wheatleys took a great interest in Phillis’s education and precocity; Wheatley learned to read and write English by the age of nine, and she became familiar with Latin, Greek, the Bible, and selected classics at an early age. She began writing poetry at thirteen, modeling her work on the English poets of the time, particularly John Milton, Thomas Gray, and Alexander Pope. Her poem “On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield” was published as a broadside in cities such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia and garnered Wheatley national acclaim. This poem was also printed in London. Over the next few years, she would print a number of broadsides elegizing prominent English and colonial leaders.

Wheatley’s doctor suggested that a trip might improve her delicate health, so in 1771 she accompanied Nathaniel Wheatley to London. She was well received in London and wrote to a friend of the “unexpected and unmerited civility and complaisance with which I was treated by all.” In 1773, thirty-nine of her poems were published in London as Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. The book includes many elegies as well as poems on Christian themes; it also includes poems dealing with race, such as the often-anthologized “On Being Brought from Africa to America.” She returned to America in 1773.

After Mr. and Mrs. Wheatley died, Phillis was left to support herself as a seamstress and poet. It is unclear precisely when Wheatley was freed from slavery, although scholars suggest it occurred between 1774 and 1778. In 1776, Wheatley wrote a letter and poem in support of George Washington; he replied with an invitation to visit him in Cambridge, stating that he would be “happy to see a person so favored by the muses.” In 1778, she married John Peters, who kept a grocery store. They had three children together, all of whom died young.

Because of the war and the poor economy, Wheatley experienced difficulty publishing her poems. She solicited subscribers for a new volume that would include thirty-three new poems and thirteen letters, but was unable to raise the funds. Phillis Wheatley, who had once been internationally celebrated, died alone in a boarding house on December 5, 1784. She was thirty-one years old. Many of the poems for her proposed second volume disappeared and have never been recovered. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 2 2008- Odetta Holmes

GM – FBF – Today’s Story is about a Folk singer whose music has been called the “soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement.” Her work inspired musicians from Bob Dylan to Joan Baez.

An elementary teacher noticed her singing voice and encouraged her mother to get her formal training. In 1956 released her first solo album, in 1999, President Bill Clinton awarded her the National Medal of Arts.

Remember – “If your neighbor looks at you like they don’t enjoy the key you’re singing in, look right back, bless them, and keep on singing.” – Odetta Holmes

Today in our History – December 2, 2008 – Odetta Holmes died.

Odetta Holmes, later known simply as Odetta, was born on December 31, 1930, in Birmingham, Alabama. Before she even learned how to play an instrument, Odetta banged on the family piano in hopes of making music—until her family members got headaches and told her to stop. Growing up in the Deep South during the Great Depression, Odetta fell in love with the work songs she heard people singing to ease the pain of the times. “They were liberation songs,” she later recalled. “You’re walking down life’s road, society’s foot is on your throat, every which way you turn you can’t get from under that foot. And you reach a fork in the road and you can either lie down and die or insist upon your life … those people who made up the songs were the ones who insisted upon life.”

Odetta’s father, Reuben Holmes, died when Odetta was a child. In 1937 she and her mother, Flora Sanders, moved across the country to Los Angeles. It was on the train to California that Odetta had her first significant experience with racism. “We were on the train when, at one point, a conductor came back and said that all the colored people had to move out of this car and into another one,” she remembered. “That was my first big wound.”

Although Odetta loved singing, she never considered whether she had any particular vocal talent until one of her grammar school teachers heard her voice. The teacher insisted to Odetta’s mother that she sign her up for classical training. In junior high, after several years of voice coaching, she landed a spot in a prestigious signing group called the Madrigal Singers. When Odetta graduated from Belmont High School in Los Angeles, she continued on to Los Angeles City College to study music. She later insisted, however, that her real education came from outside the classroom.

“School taught me how to count and taught me how to put a sentence together,” she acknowledged. “But as far as the human spirit goes, I learned through folk music.” And as far as her musical development went, Odetta said her formal training was “a nice exercise, but it had nothing to do with my life.
“Soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement’

In 1950, after graduating from college with a degree in music, Odetta landed a role in the chorus of a traveling production of Finian’s Rainbow. She fell in love with folk music when, after a show in San Francisco, she went to a Bohemian coffee shop and experienced a late-night folk music session. “That night I heard hours and hours of songs that really touched where I live,” she said. “I borrowed a guitar and learned three chords, and started to sing at parties.” Later that year, she left the theater company and took a job singing at a San Francisco folk club.

In 1953, she moved to New York City and soon became a fixture at Manhattan’s famed Blue Angel nightclub. “As I did those songs, I could work on my hate and fury without being antisocial,” she said. “Through those songs, I learned things about the history of black people in this country that the historians in school had not been willing to tell us about or had lied about.”

She recorded her first solo album, Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues, in 1956, and it became an instant classic in American folk music. Bob Dylan later cited that album as the record that first turned him on to folk music, and Time magazine raved about “the meticulous care with which she tried to recreate the feeling of her folk songs.” Odetta quickly followed with two more highly acclaimed folk albums: At the Gate of Horn (1957) and My Eyes Have Seen(1959). In 1960, Odetta delivered a famed concert at Carnegie Hall and released a live recording of the performance.

The 1960s, however, were Odetta’s most prolific years. During that decade, she lent her powerful voice to the cause of black equality—so often so that her music has frequently been called the “soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement.” She performed at political rallies, demonstrations and benefits. In 1963, during the March on Washington, Odetta gave the most iconic performance of her life: Singing from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after an introduction by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Odetta also recorded more than a dozen albums during the 1960s, most notably Odetta and the Blues, One Grain of Sand, It’s a Mighty Worldand Odetta Sings Dylan.

Odetta’s popularity waned after the 1960s, and she recorded only several more albums over the remaining four decades of her life. Her most prominent later works include Movin’ It On(1987), Blues Everywhere I Go (1999) and Looking for a Home (2001). One of the greatest American folk singers of all time, Odetta has been cited as a prominent influence by such legendary musicians as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Janis Joplin. President Bill Clinton presented her with a National Medal of Arts in 1999.

In 2004, she was made a Kennedy Center honoree and in 2005, the Library of Congress awarded her its Living Legend Award. Her highly acclaimed final album, a live recording performed when she was 74 years old, was entitled Gonna Let It Shine (2005). Her music inspired a generation of civil rights activists who helped tear down the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow to build a more equal and just United States of America.

In her later years, after the popularity of folk music had declined, Odetta made it her mission to share its potency with a new generation of youth. “The folk repertoire is our inheritance. Don’t have to like it, but we need to hear it,” she said. “I love getting to schools and telling kids there’s something else out there. It’s from their forebears, and it’s an alternative to what they hear on the radio. As long as I am performing, I will be pointing out that heritage that is ours.”

Odetta continued performing right up until almost the day of her death on December 2, 2008, at the age of 77. She had dreamed of performing at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, but tragically passed away just weeks before he took office. Research more about this great American Treasure and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 29 2000- Marvel Cooke

GM – FBF – Today’s story is close to my heart because journalism is what I studied in school. The Black woman that we honor today was one of the best. Enjoy!

Remember – “ People of color need all of the things and opportunity that the white culture enjoys.” – Marvel Cooke

Today in our History – November 29, 2000: Marvel Cooke passed away, aged 97. She was a pioneering American journalist, writer, and civil rights activist. She was the first African-American woman to work at a mainstream white-owned newspaper.

*On this date in 1903, Marvel Cooke was born. She was an African American journalist, writer, and civil rights activist.
From Mankato, Minnesota, Marvel Jackson Cooke was the daughter of Amy Wood Jackson and Madison Jackson. Her family moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1907 and in 1925, Jackson graduated from the University of Minnesota at the age of 22. When she got out of college, she moved to Harlem in New York City and was hired as editorial assistant at the Crisis, the NAACP publication. Jackson then went to the Amsterdam News where she was secretary to the women’s editor and a general assignment reporter.

While at the Amsterdam News, Jackson helped organize the first Newspaper Guild unit at a Black-owned newspaper while being the first woman reporter in the Amsterdam News’ 40-year history. She broke her engagement to Roy Wilkins and soon Married Cecil Cooke, internationally famous athlete. The Cookes moved to Greensboro, North Carolina where Marvel taught history, English and Latin in the high school department of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College. Moving back to New York City she returned to the Amsterdam News.

In 1935, she was part of the successful eleven-week Guild strike against the newspaper. She then became assistant managing editor at the People’s Voice, a Harlem-based weekly owned by Adam Clayton Powell.

“I was part of the Bronx Slave Market long enough to experience all the viciousness and indignity of a system which forces women to the streets in search of work,” she once said. Her five-part series for the Daily Compass on the abuse suffered by black domestic workers was a result of this research. Cooke also worked as a reporter and feature writer at the Compass, a short-lived white-owned New York City daily newspaper where she was the first black woman to work at a mainstream white-owned newspaper and the only Black and the only woman reporter. Cooke loved immersing herself in the arts. She read, listened to music, studied art, and went to plays. She felt that Black people in the arts contributed things that were lacking in the regular arts, because the stories and art and music of Black people reflected their life experience.

In the early fifties, Cooke devoted herself to political activism. In 1953, she was New York director of the Council of Arts, Sciences and Professions and appeared before a hearing instigated by Sen. Joseph McCarthy New York and Washington, D.C., defending un-American accusations.

Cooke was national legal defense secretary of the Angela Davis Defense Committee in the late sixties and early seventies. Her husband died in 1978. In her later years, she was national vice chairman of the American-Soviet Friendship Committee. Marvel Cooke died in December 2000 in Harlem, N.Y. Research more about black journalist and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 27 1928- Majorie Stewart Joyner

GM – FBF – Many of you might have heard of Madame C.J. Walker, business woman and first black female millionaire. Well today’s story is about the woman who carried on the empire. She also invented a device that helped both black and white women style their hair, which should have made her one of the richest women in America at the time but all of the proceeds went to Madame C.J. Walker’s estate. So she worked with Mary Bethune McLeod in education and founded both a Sorority and Fraternity. Enjoy!

Remember – ““There is nothing a woman can’t do. Men might think they do things all by themselves but a woman is always there guiding them or helping them.” –―Marjorie Joyner

Today in our History – November 27, 1928 – Marjorie Stewart Joyner receives patent # 1,693,515 for a permanent wave machine which could wave the hair of both white and Black people.

Marjorie Stewart Joyner was born in Monterey, Virginia on October 24, 1896, the granddaughter of a slave and a slave-owner. In 1912, an eager Marjorie moved to Chicago, Illinois to pursue a career in cosmetology. She enrolled in the A.B. Molar Beauty School and in 1916 became the first Black women to graduate from the school. Following graduation, the 20 year old married podiatrist Robert E. Joyner and opened a beauty salon.

She was introduced to Madame C.J. Walker, a well-known Black businesswoman, specializing in beauty products and services. Walker supplied beauty products to a number of the most prominent Black figures of the time, including singer Josephine Baker. With her fame, Ms. Walker was able to open over 200 beauty salon shops across the United States. After Madame Walker’s death in 1919, Marjorie was hired to oversee the Madame C.J. Walker Beauty Colleges as national supervisor.

A dilemma existed for Black women in the 1920’s. In order to straighten tightly-curled hair, they could so so only by using a stove-heated curling iron. This was very time-consuming and frustrating as only one iron could be used at a time. In 1926, Joyner set out to make this process faster, easier and more efficient. She imagined that if a number of curling irons could be arranged above women’s head, they could work at the same time to straighten her hair all at once. According to the Smithsonian Institute, Joyner remembered that “It all came to me in the kitchen when I was making a pot roast one day, looking at these long, thin rods that held the pot roast together and heated it up from the inside. I figured you could use them like hair rollers, and then heat them up to cook a permanent curl into the hair.” Thus, she sought a solution to not only straighten but also provide a curl in a convenient manner.

Joyner developed her concept by connecting 16 rods to a single electric cord inside of a standard drying hood. Women would thus wear the hood for the prescribed period of time and her hair would be straightened or curled. After two years Joyner completed her invention and patented it in 1928, calling it the “Permanent Waving Machine.” She thus became the first Black woman to receive a patent and her device enjoyed enormous and immediate success. It performed even better than anticipated as the curl that it added would often stay in place for several days, whereas curls from standard curling iron would generally last only one day.

In addition to the success found in Madame Walker’s salons, the device was a hit in white salons as well, allowing white patrons to enjoy the beauty of their “permanent curl” or “perm” for days. Although popular, the process could be painful as well, so Marjorie patented a scalp protector that could be used to make the experience more pleasant. This too proved to be a major success. Despite her accomplishments and success, Marjorie received none of the proceeds of her inventions as the patents were created within the scope of her employment with Madame Walker’s company, which therefore received all patent rights and royalties. Undeterred, in 1945 Joyner co-founded the United Beauty School Owners and Teachers Association along with Mary Bethune McLeod.

She tirelessly helped to raise money for Black colleges and founded the Alpha Chi Pi Omega Sorority and Fraternity in an effort to raise professional standards for beauticians. In 1973, at the age of 77, she was awarded a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Marjorie Joyner died on December 7, 1994 at the age of 98. She left behind her a legacy of creativity, ingenuity and selflessness that served to inspire many generations. Research more about Black female business leaders and Inventors and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 23 2008- Pearl Gartrell

GM – FBF – Today’s story is of a black lady who outlived all but one of her children and was first married at 14 years old. She had seen the turn of 1900 and 2000 what a story she had to tell from all that she lived through. If you have an elder in your family or know a person that is 90 or more you need to be sitting down with them and hearing as much of their story that they remember for when they are gone that firsthand knowledge goes with them. Enjoy the story!

Remember – “Keep busy, work hard and don’t worry about how old you are.” – Pearl Gartrell

Today in our History – November 23, 2008 – Pearl Gartrell, dies at one time The world’s oldest person at 120 years old.
She Lived Alone as an Adult until she was 118, Passes at 120 Years of Age.

Pearl Gartrell was born in Tillsdale, Georgia on April 1, 1888 as one of the youngest of 15 children. She lived in Jacksonville, Florida for almost seventy years. She died on Sunday, November 23, 2008.

The Baptist lady gave birth to eight children and has outlived all but one of them. Yet, she refused to move to a facility for the elderly and until two years ago, proved that she did not need anyone to live with her. Actually, no one lived with her totally, but her relatives would alternate their time with her even though her great granddaughter, Doris King, spent much of her time with her trying to make sure things went as her great grandmother wanted them to go.

On Tuesday, November 11, Ms. Gartrell became ill and was taken to the hospital. She was placed in Hospice care on November 13 and died on November 23, 2008.

Ms. Gartrell did not have a copy of her birth certificate since she was not born in a hospital. Her birth was recorded in a family Bible. The Florida State ID card did not show the exact year of her birth because the computer would not activate the year, 1888. However, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs acknowledged that she was perhaps the oldest person living in?Florida until the time of her death.

Ms. Gartrell was very careful about her food and did not like to eat in restaurants because she could not be guaranteed that the workers washed their hands.

The lady did have one habit that she would not give up – her can of sweet snuff that she kept inside of her bottom lip. At 120 years of age, she still had most of her own teeth.

Ms. Gartrell was not a person with sickness but she did have some bouts of illness. In fact, the doctors thought she would surely die in 1991 when she contracted pneumonia at the age of 103 and refused to be hospitalized. She did not like to take medication so when such was prescribed, she would hide it under her mattress. Family members learned to watch her closely when medicine was prescribed for her, to make sure she followed orders.

Ms. Gartrell broke her hip and cracked her pelvis in 1998. Once her surgery was completed and the pin in her hip had been installed, she insisted upon going home, and she did. Within months, she was walking again.

Pearl Gartrell raised her great granddaughter, Lolitha Hill and some of the other relatives. When she talked about her younger days, she talked of her mother, who was a midwife, and worked for the town’s white doctor, of their deep-cooking fireplace and the time her mother covered the faces of all of the children with black soot and had them to hide in the back of the fireplace when the KKK came. She also told of the one-room school house that was attached to the Baptist church in Tignall, Georgia, near Athens, Georgia.

Pearl Gartrell married at the age of 14 but says she cannot remember her husband’s name. This memory loss may stem from the fact that her father, brother and husband were killed in her small Georgia town. What she also remembers of her younger days was when she was forced to be submissive and gave birth to two children by a white man in that town. But, she did not harbor hate, even though she was still very shy when it came to white people.

Ms. Gartrell was filled with wisdom and love. She kept strong belief in God and even though she had cataracts, she always wanted the paper, and always wanted The Florida Star, from its first days.

Pearl Gartrell not only raised her children, she helped with the others that came along and remained a God fearing woman. Of her eight children, one died at birth, three died of heart attacks, two had cancer, one son was murdered and found in the St. Johns River and Tom Gartrell still lives in Jacksonville in a nursing facility.

Mrs. King and Mrs. Hill said their great grandmother was the foundation of their family, all the days of her life, and they are eternally grateful. She will truly be missed. Research more about people who live to be over 100 years old and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 21 2007- Frances Louise Murphy

GM – FBF – Today’s Story is about a black female who was blessed to be around family that understood the Importance of the spoken word. Her mother was one of the founders of a sorority and a teacher. Her mother was a graduate of my famed University of Wisconsin, so naturally journalism and education were Important to her. She also was named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony magazine. Enjoy!

Remember – “Education in any form will give strength to a person for life, if the knowledge is sound they will go far in life” – Frances Louise Murphy

Today in our History – November 21, 2007, Frances Louise Murphy, II, died.

Born on October 8, 1922, in Baltimore, Maryland, Frances Louise Murphy, II, grew up in a household that was focused on the newspaper the family published. Murphy’s grandfather, a former slave and Civil War veteran, founded the Afro-American in 1892; her father, Carl, was the editor and publisher of the paper and a professor of German at Howard University.

Murphy’s mother, Vashti, was one of the co-founders of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and was trained as a teacher. Murphy taught until she married Carl Murphy; she then went on to earn her B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1944, where she majored in journalism. In 1958, Murphy earned her B.S. degree from Coppin College, and her M.Ed. degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1963.

During her summers, Murphy worked for the family paper. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Murphy went to work full-time for the Afro-American, and the paper expanded from a single edition to numerous local editions around the country. By 1956, Murphy was the city editor for the Baltimore edition of the paper. After earning her teaching degree from Coppin College, Murphy became an elementary school teacher; she went on to pursue her master’s degree in education. Frustrated with her school assignment, Murphy resigned and began teaching English and working as the director of the news bureau at Morgan State University.

Murphy stayed at Morgan State until 1971, when she was named chairman of the Afro-American. In 1975, Murphy left to become a professor of journalism at State University College in Buffalo, New York, and then on to Howard University in 1985. Murphy became publisher of the Washington Afro-American in 1987, and left Howard University in 1991; she served as editor of the editorial page and wrote the column, “If You Ask Me,” by Frankie Lou for several years.

Murphy was honored by numerous organizations for her achievements; she received the Women of Strength Award from the National Black Media Coalition in 1994 and 1995; the Woman of the 20th Century Award by the National Congress of Black Women; and was named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony magazine. Murphy served on the boards of the Freedom Foundation, the University of the District of Columbia and the African American Civil War Memorial.

Murphy raised four children, and had seventeen grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.
Frances Louise Murphy, II, passed away on Wednesday, November 21, 2007, at the age of eighty-five. Research more about the great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!