What a Great Night to be an African American Woman

By Torshawna Griffin

September 20, 2015 was a night that would forever be stamped in African American history, as well as in women’s history. There were six nominees: Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Elisabeth Moss, Claire Danes, Tatiana Maslany, and Robin Wright- all whom are well deserving women. But at last, Viola Davis was given the recognition that she deserved. She received the award for “Outstanding lead Actress in a Drama Series.” Viola Davis is the first African American woman to receive that award, and she accepted it with sincere grace and honor. Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson both shed tears as Viola Davis accepted her award because they knew Viola had just made an accomplishment for all African American women. The actions of Kerry Washington and Taraji P. Henson showed us how to truly support and genuinely be happy for one another. Watch Viola Davis’ speech and tell us what you think.

Remembering Maya Angelou

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

By Matiara Huff

Marguerite Annie Johnson was born April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. When she was  young, her parents split up so she and her older brother went to live with their father’s mother in Stamps, Arkansas. While living there Angelou experience racism and discrimination first hand, and learned to deal with it. Then, while on a trip to visit her mother, Angelou was raped by her mother’s boyfriend, who was later killed out of vengeance by her uncle. This experience traumatized her so much that she became mute for several years after. Later, Angelou moved to San Francisco, California for school, and became the first black female cable car conductor. When she was sixteen, she had her son and began working a number of jobs to support him.

In the mid-1950’s Angelou starred in the touring production of Calypso Heat Wave, and released the album Miss Calypso. Then she organized and starred in Cabaret for Freedom, as a member of the Harlem writer’s guild and a civil rights activist. Throughout most of the 60’s she lived abroad in Egypt, then Ghana working as a free-lance editor. In 1969 she published the memoirs of her childhood called I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings which made literary history because she was the first African-American nonfiction writer to become a best-seller. She continued to break records when she was the first African- American women to have a screen play produced with Georgia.

Throughout her career, Maya Angelou has opened doors for the African-American community and the eyes of many ignorant people. Because of this we will forever be in debt to her. The influence she created will continue to live through all of us so that she will never die. Rest In Power.

Women’s History Month: Lena Horne

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

By Rocky Richards

Women’s History Month is celebrated throughout march, so here’s another history moment for you! Earlier this month, the Women’s History Museum took the time to acknowledge Lena Horne’s work. If you have not seen women’s history museum, women in a minute on Lena Horne please take the time now to view their video.

Lena Horne was born in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn on June 30, 1917. She was known as an Actress, American Singer, Dancer, and Civil Rights Activist. Horne started her career at a very young age. At sixteen, Lena joined the chorus line of the Cotton Club in New York City before moving to Hollywood. She is known for her roles in Cabin in the Sky, Stormy Weather, and many others. For 70 years Lena Horne was in films, on television, and on Broadway. Lena Horne starred in a one woman show in 1980, which ran more than 300 performances on Broadway and earned her numerous awards and accolades.

Aside from Horne being very talented, she was also involved with the Civil Rights Movement. Horne performed at the march on Washington on behalf of NAACP, SNCC, and the National Council of Negro Women. During World War Two, Lena refused to perform for segregated audiences or for groups in which German Prisoners of War were seated in front of African American servicemen.

After all of her great work, Lena Horne passed away on May 9, 2010. Lena Horne has been as inspiration to me because she used her talent to speak out against discrimination against black Americans. Thanks Lena Horne for all that you accomplished for women today!

Meet Ursula Burns!

Ursula BurnsBy Matiara Huff

Ursula Burns was born on September 20, 1958 to a single mother in the ghetto of New York City. Now she is the CEO of Xerox and the only black woman that is a CEO of a fortune 500 company. She is also the only woman to succeed another woman as CEO to a Fortune 500 company.

In her family, education was the most important thing. Even though her mother didn’t make much money, she still made it a priority to get all of her kids through school. In college Ursula major in Mechanical Engineering at New York University. After, she was offered a summer internship at Xerox that paid for her graduate school. Since then, her professional life has only gotten better. In this interview, she goes into more depth about her journey.

Meet Dorothy Dandridge!

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

Image sourced through Creative Commons via Google Images

By Rocky Richards

Have you ever heard of the term triple threat? Dorothy Dandridge is one of the first African American women to be recognized as a triple threat. From film and theatre to singing and dancing, this woman could do it all. Dorothy Jean Dandridge was born November 9th in 1922. As a young child she started out performing with her sister Vivian under the name “The Wonder Children,” and they later toured the southern United States for five years. Eventually work slowed down for the Dandridge’s and Dorothy took a big chance and moved to Hollywood.

Dorothy is best known for being the first black actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1954 film Carmen Jones. Dorothy was originally caste as Cindy Lou because the director felt her sophisticated look was more suitable for a smaller role. She didn’t let this stop her and reinvented her look and later was caste for the leading role.

Dorothy Dandridge paved the way and left a legacy for African American woman in film and media today. Stars such as Halle Berry, Cicely Tyson, Jada Pinkett and many others have all acknowledged Dorothy’s contribution to the roles of African Americans in film. Every day, I’m motivated to give my all in the field of acting so that I can pay tribute to individuals who have paved the way for me today. Dorothy Dandridge maybe just an actress to some people, but for me she’s a legendary icon that had guts to do the things that she loved despite opposition!

Thank You Dorothy Dandridge.