Celebrating Women’s History Month: Dorothy Cotton

By Caitlin Easter

“I’m tired of people saying, “And now we present her, who marched with Martin Luther King.”
Well, a lot of folk flew down there one weekend and marched, but I worked.”- Dorothy Cotton

Dorothy Cotton was very similar to other women in the fact that she never got the recognition
she deserved. Even today, the name Dorothy Cotton doesn’t ring a bell in the average American’s
imagination, because beyond the fact that she was black, she was also a women. Despite this, she was a
major champion of the civil rights movement and never allowed her gender to stop her from doing what
she wanted to do. She believed in the power of speech, and encouraged others to speak the truth with
her organizations. She was a major advocate for human rights education and leadership. She spoke at
workshops and with her Institute helped people to understand and shape themselves as leaders to
advance human rights. The Dorothy Cotton Institute was founded in 2007, and works to secure human
rights for everybody through education, interactive exhibits, and movements and campaigns. The
Institute works to develop Human Rights leaders, build a community for these leaders, and promote
practices that lead to justice and healing.

According to The Dorothy Cotton Institute, Ms. Dorothy Cotton was the Education Director at
the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the director of The Citizenship Education Program, the
Vice President for Field Operations for the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolence Social Change,
the Southeastern Regional Director of ACTION under the Carter Administration, the director of Student
Activities at Cornell University, a 2010 National Freedom Award Recipient, and the founder and
namesake of the Dorothy Cotton Institute. Ms. Cotton is now being recognized as a 2019 Honoree in the
National Women’s History Alliance following the theme of: “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace &

Before her death on June 10, 2018, she was a strong and influential advocate for violence
reduction and humanitarian issues. She was a speaker, a teacher, a facilitator, a peaceful resister, and a
woman. Her name will always be tied to Dr. Martin Luther’s because of their strong bond and joint work,
but her impact will forever be so much more than that.

More information about Ms. Cotton and her institute can be found at:


Celebrating Women’s History Month: Rosa Parks

By: Brittany Soto

In honor of Women’s History Month, I wanted to focus my attention on Rosa Parks. Most people are familiar with who Rosa Parks is but to those who aren’t, she was a civil rights activist who was best known for courageously refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person during a time when segregation was legal. She was thrown in jail as a result of this incident, sparking the infamous Montgomery Alabama Bus Boycott. Her vital role in this movement helped bring attention to the mistreatment of colored people and fought against racism and segregation. Her courage and leadership served, not only as an inspiration to people of color, but to ALL women. She was dubbed the second most popular historical figure to be talked about in schools according to a survey by American
students. (Wineburg, 2008).

Rosa Park’s courage and determination to challenge racism and segregation did not start with the bus incident. This is something that has been instilled in her since childhood. She was never afraid to speak up against the mistreatment of colored individuals by standing up against white children who
would try to harass or bully her. She was also the secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and continuously pushed to end segregation in schools and in public places. Despite the challenges she faced as being a fearless colored woman who was determined to fight for what was right, going as far as receiving daily death threats to her and her family, this never stopped her from fighting for peace and the rightful treatment of colored individuals. This just goes to show that doing what’s right isn’t always easy, but is necessary. Rosa Parks is now a legend and an
inspiration to women worldwide.

Angela Rye: Modern Day Angela Davis

By Caroline Turner

The keynote speaker for this year’s 12th Annual Women of Color Leadership Conference is Angela Rye, a political powerhouse who is being called “TV’s Wokest Bae.” Named after the legend Angela Davis, she has been living up to the movement of being the change. Angela’s continuous work has been connecting the public with politics, and growing the ever evolving sphere of politics and leadership towards one of equity.

Angela is deeply rooted in political leadership and has a very impressive history with political activism and education. A graduate of University of Washington and Seattle University School of Law, she is now the co-founder, Principal, and CEO of IMPACT Strategies, “an organization that seeks to encourage young professionals in three core areas: economic empowerment, civic engagement, and political involvement.” She has been featured in many publications and outlets as an influential politico, lawyer, and advocate. Angela serves on a number of boards including the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, and the Seattle University School of Law Alumni, and is a member of many groups including the National Bar Association, and has won 21 distinctive awards from 2010-2015. Catch her on CNN as a regular commentator, and read more about her history on her website.

Angela continues to speak at events and on media outlets, reaching local and national audiences. Her conversations are crucial to help new upcoming leaders, and help educate and advocate awareness of the issues that we face in our government and institutions today.

Beyoncé Slays the Country Music Awards


By: Korrien Hopkins

A moment a silence for Beyoncé’s performance at the 2016 Country Music Awards…

Beyoncé and the Dixie Chick’s collaboration was the highlight of the 50th CMA show. They performed a song from Beyoncé new visual album Lemonade and the song is called “Daddy Lesson.”  She expresses how it was growing up with daddy lessons in the perspective of a young girl. The girl seems to have grown up tough after her father was hard on her. He didn’t want anyone to take advantage of her.

As you may know Beyoncé showing up to any award show now days is rare. So, for her to go and blow us all away at the CMA was amazing. Some may be aware that Beyoncé is a Texas native. Her pulling off a country song at the CMA wasn’t all that surprising.  I mean she’s Beyoncé what can’t she do? Some would disagree, there was even controversy over whether she is qualified to perform a country song. But we will let the haters hate, and continue to be great. I mean, no one would down play a great an Eminem performance and say he’s not qualified. Society limits women’s “qualifications” anyways. So, my advice to every woman is to go do what you want and slay while doing it.


Young Black and Educated

By: Korrien Hopkins

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Black women are doctors believe it or not.  They are lawyers, politicians, students, educators. But the question is why people are unaware of this?

According to Addicting Info, “From 1999–2000 to 2009–10, the percentage of degrees earned by females remained between approximately 60 and 62 percent for associate’s degrees and between 57 and 58 percent for bachelor’s degrees. In contrast, the percentages of both master’s and doctor’s degrees earned by females increased from 1999–2000 to 2009–10. Within each racial/ethnic group, women earned the majority of degrees at all levels in 2009–10. For example, among U.S. residents, Black females earned 68 percent of associate’s degrees, 66 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 71 percent of master’s degrees, and 65 percent of all doctor’s degrees awarded to Black students.”

Despite these statistics black women are consistently not given credit for their achievements. This week Dr. Tamika Cross, who is an OBGYN in Houston, posted on Facebook that last weekend while aboard a Delta flight she was rejected her offer to help a sick patient. Dr. Cross was then questioned whether she was really a doctor. Another doctor on board was allowed to help. Of course, this doctor was an older Caucasian male. While Dr. Cross is a young African American female.

Dr. Cross’ experience highlights a major problem we have in our society. This is one of both racism and sexism. There is the saying, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” This is what makes it even more important that black female doctors don’t remain under represented in society for the sake of upcoming generations. We tell our black children they can be anything they want to be: an engineer, a scientist, a surgeon and a doctor. The image of Black female doctors are even being presented to children on television.  Doc McStuffins is a show that has taken Disney by storm. It features an African American girl who although isn’t really a licensed she operates on her toy to her them get better. Both boys and girls of all races watch this show. This is teaching them diversity, race and gender equality. It is teaching the future generations. However, with mainstream America saying everyone has equal opportunity and, post-Obama, racism does not exist. We than read about what happened to Dr. Cross and it makes you question what it’s all about. It is important for other races and opposite genders to recognize inequality.


It’s Magic

itsmagicBy Zaquoya Rogers

Black girl magic is sweeping the nation and it seems to have grabbed the attention and support of every black women it passes by. The term, ‘Black Girl Magic,’ represents the love and appreciation of everything little thing about being African American. This can range from our kinky hair to the melanin that gives us our beautiful shades of brown. Not only does it promote self-love but it also celebrates the potential, the power, and the ability of black women to achieve anything. Celebrities such as Solange Knowles, Serena Williams, Zendaya, Traci Ellis and many more proudly take part in the movement. Skai Jackson states “I would have to define black girl magic as just being empowering, being confident and loving yourself; Just all coming together and definitely embracing each other.”

I think Black Girl Magic is great! For so many decades black women have been the most disadvantaged and oppressed group of people. They were always taught that their hair and dark skin was unfavorable in this world. However, ‘Black Girl Magic’ has  given women the pride to walk with their chin high, and their kinky crown standing upright.

Don’t Touch My Crown

By: Korrien Hopkins

          Solange Knowles  released her new album, A Seat at the Table, earlier this month. Judging by how social media and everyone including myself is raving about this, Solange’s A Seat at the Table is a must have accessory for fall. And I can predict it will be blessing our ear drums leading up to the spring and summer. The first song I heard on her new album was Don’t Touch My Hair and for now I have to say it is my favorite. Upon reading the title of the song you would just think Solange is  trying to simply preserve her nice hair style. But listening to the lyrics, you learn the true message of the song.[youtube]https://youtu.be/YTtrnDbOQAU[/youtube]

The first message I received from the song is the fight against cultural appropriation. Black women in this world you are constantly being robbed. During slavery black women were being robbed of their freedom, their children, and their men. Today not much has change, but it is evident that this world shows a great appreciation of what black women have to offer. African Americans are great influencers in the arts. But as society comes to love our Black culture, we are also robbed of our unique style, music, and our black aesthetic. Hair represents so much more in black culture than most people realize. It is spiritual to many in a certain aspect: it is self-expression, self-love, and creativity. In an interview, Solange told Elle Magazine how when she cut her hair and decided to go natural she was brutally attacked in the media and the affect it had on her:

“There was a fashion editor of a major magazine who was white and for Halloween she wore an afro wig and had black face and called herself Solange. There was another magazine that composed celebrity-look-alikes, and they used a dog for me. They talked about my hair being like one of a dog, literally. So, hair just became so complex for me.”

After reading that article, I learned that recently Marc Jacobs released his 2017 spring collection. His models presented a beautiful array of spring colors as well as faux dreadlocks. Dreadlocks have been around forever but in today’s culture derived from Rastafarians. Aside from the beauty of dreadlocks, many have a spiritual association with them. Although some may see it as a hot new “trend” having a runway of white women with dreadlocks, I don’t see it as a fashion statement, but every bit of culture appropriation. This has been the case for many “high fashion” designers where they take something that on a black woman is viewed as “ghetto” or “dreadful,” but it’s high fashion when copied by white designers for their white models. For centuries, black women have not been seen as beautiful, including their hair. At least now, though this song, I hear black women loving themselves loudly and unapologetically.

“Don’t touch my hair When it’s the feelings I wear
Don’t touch my soul
When it’s the rhythm I know
Don’t touch my crown
They say the vision I’ve found
Don’t touch what’s there
When it’s the feelings I wear

They don’t understand
What it means to me
Where we chose to go
Where we’ve been to know
They don’t understand
What it means to me
Where we chose to go
Where we’ve been to know…

Don’t touch my pride
They say the glory’s all mine
Don’t test my mouth
They say the truth is my sound”

This song is beautiful because it is a message to women of self-love. Everyone has their own hair and their own style, and what they like.  Being you is something that you own as an individual. People will try to imitate you, they may want you to imitate them and live up to their standards of beauty and they may try to make you feel horrible if you don’t. “Don’t Touch My Hair” is the preservation of you. It is a movement, praising your style letting you know that it’s cool to be you and be unique. Be you loudly, boldly, and unapologetically because you miss out on you trying to be someone else.

Bessie Coleman

By Matiara Huff

Bessie_Coleman_and_her_plane_(1922)Bessie Coleman was the first black female pilot. She was born in 1892 in Atlanta, Texas. Her story is so influential because of how she became a pilot. Coleman attempted to go to flight school in the U.S., but she couldn’t because of her race and gender. In 1922 while working as a manicurist, she taught herself French, so that she could go to flying school in France. She received she license from Caudron Brother’s School of Aviation. When she moved back to the U.S., she practiced as often as she could by participating in air shows everywhere, and eventually specialized in stunt flying and parachuting. She died in a plane crash while on her way to an airshow in Dallas, Texas. Bessie is still an inspiration to many. She was honored in 1995 by the U.S. Postal Service with a Black Heritage commemorative stamp. Bessie helped pave the way so that black people no longer have to leave the country to learn to fly.

bell hooks: Intersectional feminist

By Matiara Huff

bellhookbell hooks, her name is powerful enough. If you don’t know how she is, this post will serve as an introduction.

bell hooks or Gloria Jean Watkins was born September 25, 1952 and has basically been an intersectional feminist ever since. She is most well known for her feminist theory that recognizes that social classifications (e.g., race, gender, sexual identity, class, etc.) are interconnected, and that ignoring their intersection creates oppression towards women and change the experience of living as a woman in society. bell hook’s most famous book, Ain’t I a woman?: Black women and feminism addresses the effects of the intersection of racism and sexism on black women, and how the convergence of sexism and racism have contributed to black women having the lowest status in American society. hook has also written a long list of other feminist books including children’s books, chapters in other people’s books, and articles in peer reviewed journals.

Aint I a women? completely changed how the world perceived black women when it came out in 1981, and is still very relevant today. Without her work, black women would be far more oppressed. bell hook was one of the intersectional feminist who brought race (and other marginalized identities) into feminism; thus, making feminism more inclusive and applicable. bell hook has made such a huge impact on feminism as we know it today, and we will forever be grateful for her contributions.

Shanice Williams @ The Wiz Live!

By Matiara Huff

Shanice Williams


Imagine being a 19-year old black actress debuting as the lead of an old-time classic story. Shanice Williams is a 19 year old actress that made her debut as Dorothy on NBC’s The Wiz Live! If you didn’t see it, December 3, NBC did a live televised performance of The Wiz. The show was an all-black cast that included Queen Latifah, Ne-Yo, Uzo Aduba, Mary J. Blige, Common, David Alan Grier, Amber Riley, and Stephanie Mills. As well as the director of A Raisin In The Sun, Kenny Leon and the choreographer from Dreamgirls and countless hip-hop music videos, Fatima Robinson.

Shanice being casted as the lead in a show like this, is literally a dream come true and an inspiration to other young black actresses. Shanice is from Rahway, New Jersey, and attended Rahway High School, and briefly attended American Musical and Dramatic Academy in LA. She receive the part in an open audition, where thousands of girls from around the country tried out. The opportunity that she received on Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 is life changing, and based on her performance, she didn’t take it for granted.