Lessons For Us All: Overcoming Extreme Poverty and Life On Welfare 02/12 by Donell Edwards – VIEWPOINTS | News Podcasts

Our special guest tonight is speaker, author, and advocate, Ms. Pamela M. Covington. Ms. Covington worked in communications for over 30 years. Her articles have appeared in city lifestyle magazines, daily and weekly newspapers, and numerous company publications. Prior to her occupational successes she unexpectedly went from living a financially secure, middle-class lifestyle to that of a welfare recipient struggling below poverty level in crime-ridden, drug-infested neighborhoods. She escaped that stint of deep poverty through the pursuit of higher education and has earned a master’s degree in Management, a master’s degree in Human Resource Management, a bachelor’s degree in Communications, and an associate degree in Television Production. She offers practical personal strategies to help others move beyond their challenges and take more control of their lives. Join us tonight for this enlightening discussion as Ms. Covington shares with us what she endured, and how she overcame a life of deep poverty to become a successful businesswoman.

Source: Lessons For Us All: Overcoming Extreme Poverty and Life On Welfare 02/12 by Donell Edwards – VIEWPOINTS | News Podcasts


Black History Month Know Your History Contest – Win $100

During the month of February The CWR Talk Network is proud to present our special series, Black American Achievement Profiles, honoring the achievements of Black Americans from the past and the present. Sponsored by Bass, Edwards & Associates Virtual Services Corporation.  Listen to these informative and educational profiles on all of the programs on The CWR Talk Network during February.

To promote more learning and appreciation of great black achievers, The CWR Talk Networkis conducting a month-long contest with a $100 award to the winner of our Know Your History contest.

To enter, identify all of the black history-makers in the photo collage below, then visit our website, cwrtalknetwork.com, go to the Know Your History entry form at the bottom of our homepage, and complete the entry form including the names of all nine of the black history-makers, and all correct entries will be entered into our drawing for our $100 grand prize.

The drawing will be held during The Lionel SHIPman $hape Your Finances Show, on Tuesday, February 27th at 7:30 PM CST.  Submit your entry today!

The Ugly Business of Sex Trafficking In America: An Inside View 02/08 by Donell Edwards – VIEWPOINTS | News Podcasts

Human trafficking is a $32 billion-a-year industry, and is on the rise and is in all 50 states. The organization, Ark of Hope for Children, estimates that up to 300,000 Americans under 18 are lured into the commercial sex trade every year. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, sexual exploitation is the most commonly identified form of human trafficking, ahead of forced labor. Why does this happen? How does it happen? Who is responsible? Who is affected? What can be done to protect children, teenage girls, and other victims? These are just some of the questions that we will answer on this very special program, The Ugly Business of Sex Trafficking In America: An Inside View. Our special guest is Ms. Noel Gomez, who was coerced into becoming a prostitute when she was 16. After 15 years and with lots of abuse, she was able to escape. During this program we will discuss with Ms. Gomez her personal experiences as an underage prostitute, how she was able to stay motivated and survive, and her current advocacy work helping young men and women who have been sexually exploited. We encourage you to join us for this informative, inside view, of the sex trafficking industry and how it affects children, young girls, boys, and others right here in America. Tune in Thursday, February 8th at 6:30 PM CST / 7:30 PM EST

Source: The Ugly Business of Sex Trafficking In America: An Inside View 02/08 by Donell Edwards – VIEWPOINTS | News Podcasts

Five Steps: Build a Career Before Graduating from College


Five Steps: Build a Career Before Graduating from College
Contributed by Karen Dikson

In 2015, the Georgetown University center on Education and the Workforce released a report showing that around 14 million college students were working. That’s over 70% of college students. Around 76% of graduate students and 40% of undergraduate students work full-time.

The question is: how many of those students are working towards career progress? The reports show that most of them must work to pay for their education. Since the work does not provide enough finances for tuition and expenses, they must take loans, too.

If you must work, why don’t you do it with a higher purpose? If you choose your positions wisely, you won’t start looking for a job after graduation with a clean sleeve. You’ll already have experience that shows how good you are. We’ll suggest 5 tips that help you start building a career while you’re still at college.

1. Be a Freelancer!

Freelancing can be a real job in today’s economy. People from all around the world are making money through writing, graphic design, coding, photography, and many other skills. Whatever skill you have, you can turn it into a profession that will be related to your future career.

Robert M., a student at Monash University, works as a freelance writer at Best Essays. He shared his experience with us: “During my first year at college, I was wondering: do I want to be a writer or a social worker? I decided to combine these two passions and write about social issues. This company gave me an opportunity to do something I loved and get good money for it. I believe this is a great contribution towards my future career. Every project demands extensive research. I’m learning a lot and I’m boosting my writing skills on the go.”

2. Start a Blog

Did you know that a good blog can bring you good money? That’s not all. A great blog can also make you an authority in the niche you choose for your profession. For example, let’s say you want to be a graphic designer after you finish college. You can create an impressive blog that covers all points of graphic design. You will share your tips and knowledge, and you’ll showcase your projects.

The sooner you start working on your blog, the greater your opportunities will be. A successful online project will look great on your portfolio. It will open the doors to your future.

3. Consider Internships

If you must work for the money, maybe this won’t be an option for you. However, you should consider an internship, even if it’s just for a month during the summer break. The biggest advantage of an internship is focus. When you opt for a position related to the career you want in future, you’re basically building that career during college.

An internship gives you great chances to build a professional network. If you prove yourself as a great worker and you get people to notice you, the organization that gives you an internship opportunity may offer you a job after graduation.

4. Take Part in Professional Events and Conferences

Colleges organize career events for a reason: during an occasion like this, the best students get a chance to be noticed from different organizations. They can develop their professional network and make connections with potential mentors. When you get a chance to attend an event of this type, you need to be very active. It’s not the right time to be humble and shy. Talk to these people; they are there to meet and attract the most talented students.

Don’t stop there! Find conferences related to the profession you’re focused on and attend them. Professional events offer you great chances to build your network. Connect with the people you meet via LinkedIn, so they will be updated about your progress.

5. Get a Job that Demands Communication

When you choose to work throughout your studies, choose your positions very carefully. Organizing the books in a bookshop is a good way to spend your time, but such position won’t get you in touch with many people. Store cashier, barista, help desk representative… – these are some of the most common jobs a student can get. The good thing about them is that they directly face you with people. No matter what career you choose for your future, communication skills will be crucial for your success.

Don’t perceive this as a job you need to have just because you lack the money to pay for college. That attitude leads to frustrations. Think of it as an opportunity to develop important skills that help you become a better applicant to any job after graduation.

It’s never too early to start doing something that will make your CV look good. A student has many opportunities to start building a career before graduation. You just need focus!


About our guest Contributor. Karen Dikson is a college instructor and blogger from New Jersey. She writes for several educational websites, including Huffington Post. She loves teaching, writing and helping her students to reach their goals. Connect with Karen via Twitter.


December 2016 Scholarships — JLV College Counseling

Big list of November Scholarships. There are scholarships on the list for students in elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and graduate school.

via December 2016 Scholarships — JLV College Counseling

Modern Era Black History Makers

There are countless Black history makers from the modern era that may not be as familiar as those from the early periods of Black history.  It would be impossible to recognize all of them in this space.  However, The College World Reporter is proud to present this small representative group of outstanding African Americans, from very diverse backgrounds, to represent all of the Black history makers from the modern era.


Colonel Guion S. Bluford – Former NASA Astronaut

Colonel Bluford

Guion S. Bluford graduated from Penn State University in 1964 as a distinguished Air Force ROTC graduate, where he received a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineeging; a master of science degree with distinction in aerospace engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1974; a doctor of philosophy in aerospace engineering with a minor in laser physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1978, and a master in business administration from the University of Houston, Clear Lake, in 1987.


He attended pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona, and received his pilot wings in January 1966.  He flew 144 combat missions, 65 of which were over North Vietnam.


He has logged over 5,200 hours jet flight time, including 1,300 hours as a T-38 instructor pilot.  He also has an FAA commercial pilot license.


Bluford became a NASA astronaut in August 1979.  His technical assignments have included working with Space Station operations, the Remote Manipulator System (RMS), Spacelab systems and experiments, Space Shuttle systems, payload safety issues and verifying flight software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL) and in the Flight Systems Laboratory (FSL).  A veteran of four space flights, Bluford served as a mission specialist on STS-8, STS 61-A, STS-39, and STS-53, and has logged over 688 hours in space.


STS-8 launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on August 30, 1983.  This was the third flight for the Orbiter Challenger and the first mission with a night launch and night landing.


STS 61-A, the German D-1 Spacelab mission, launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on October 30, 1985.  This mission was the first to carry eight crew members, the largest crew to fly in space and included three European payload specialists.


STS-39, launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on April 28, 1991, aboard the Orbiter Discovery.


STS-53 launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on December 2, 1992.  The crew of five deployed the classified Department of Defense payload DOD-1 and then performed several Military-Man-in-Space and NASA experiments.




Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr. – Pediatric Neurosurgeon
Dr. Carson
Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D., had a childhood dream of becoming a physician. Growing up in a single parent home with dire poverty, poor grades, a horrible temper, and low self-esteem appeared to preclude the realization of that dream until his mother, with only a third-grade education, challenged her sons to strive for excellence. Young Ben persevered and today is an emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and he has directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for over 29 years. He became the inaugural recipient of a professorship dedicated in his name in May 2008. He is now the Emeritus Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D. and Dr. Evelyn Spiro, R.N. Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery, having retired on June 30, 2013.
Some career highlights include the first separation of craniopagus (Siamese) twins joined at the back of the head in 1987, the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa, and the first successful placement of an intrauterine shunt for a hydrocephalic twin. Although he has been involved in many newsworthy operations, he feels that every case is noteworthy – deserving of maximum attention. He is interested in all aspects of pediatric neurosurgery and has a special interest in trigeminal neuralgia (severe facial pain) in adults.Dr. Carson holds more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, the Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans, and many other prestigious organizations. He has sat on the board of directors of numerous organizations, including Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corporation, the Academy of Achievement, and is an Emeritus Fellow of the Yale Corporation, the governing body of Yale University. He was appointed in 2004 by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics. He is a highly regarded motivational speaker who has addressed various audiences from school systems and civic groups to corporations and the President’s National Prayer Breakfast.
In 2001, Dr. Carson was named by CNN and TIME Magazine as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists. That same year, he was selected by the Library of Congress as one of 89 “Living Legends” on the occasion of its 200th anniversary. He is also the recipient of the 2006 Spingarn Medal which is the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP. In February 2008, Dr. Carson was presented with the Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal by President George W. Bush at the White House. In June 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the President, which is the highest civilian honor in the land. He has literally received hundreds of other awards during his distinguished career.In June 2013, after 40 years of medical endeavors, Carson retired and today serves as Professor Emeritus of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.
His first four books, Gifted Hands, THINK BIG, The Big Picture and Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose and Live with Acceptable Risk(January 2008), provide inspiration and insight for leading a successful life. A fifth book, America The Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great, was released in early 2012 and made the New York Times Bestseller List in 2013. His sixth book, One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future was released on May 20, 2014 and has also made the New York Times Bestseller List. His seventh book, One Vote: Make Your Voice Heard was released September 22, 2014. His eighth book, You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G., which encourages young people to aim high, was recently released on February 4, 2015. His ninth book, A More Perfect Union, was released on October 5, 2015.
Dr. Ben and Candy Carson’s dream is to name a Carson Scholar in every school within the United States.
On May 4, 2015 Dr. Ben Carson announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. (Source:  USA Today.com)
Source: CarsonScholars.org – http://carsonscholars.org/about-csf/dr-carson/


Kenneth Irvine Chenault – Chairman and CEO, American Express

Ken Chenault

Kenneth Irvine Chenault, born June 2, 1951, was the first African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company, American Express.  Prior to being appointed CEO, Mr. Chenault served as president of American Express from 1997-2001.  He was born on Long Island in 1951, attended the Waldorf School of Garden City and is a graduate of Bowdoin College (1973) and Harvard Law School (1977).  After Harvard he worked as an associate with the law firm Rogers & Wells in New York City (1977-1979) and as a consultant for Bain & Company (1979-1981).


When in January 2001 Mr. Chenault claimed the top position at American Express—one of the best-known symbols of U.S. capitalism, then with yearly sales of $25 billion—the prospects for African-Americans in corporate America had seemed dismal.  Only two other African Americans headed Fortune 500 companies:  Franklin Raines was the CEO of Fannie Mae, and A. Barry Rand was the CEO of Avis.


For his part Chenault did not dwell on racial issues.  He understood the social significance of his appointment but wanted people to judge him based solely on his performance.  He commented in Fortune, “It’s a big deal; I won’t minimize it.  But I want them to say, ‘He’s a terriffic CEO,’ not ‘He’s a terrific black CEO.’  Because the reasons why I’m CEO have nothing to do with the social significance of this breakthrough.  I’ve always been focused on performance” (January 22, 2001).


In 1995, Ebony Magazine listed Mr. Chenault alongside Michael Jordan, Rosa Parks, Bill Cosby and Colin Powell as one of 50 “living pioneers” in the African-American community.


Sources:  Biography.com – http://www.biography.com/people/kenneth-chenault-37719 Nationmaster.com/encyclopedia and Answers.com



Marva N. Collins – Educator, Author, Speaker, Trainer

Marva Collins

Marva Collins grew up in Atmore, Alabama at a time when segregation was the rule.  Black people were not permitted to use the public library, and her schools had few books, and no indoor plumbing.  Nonetheless, her family instilled in her an awareness of the family’s historical excellence and helped develop her strong desire for learning, achievement and independence.  After graduating from Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia, she taught school in Alabama for two years.  She moved to Chicago and taught in Chicago’s public school system for fourteen years.


Her experiences in that system, coupled with her dissatisfaction with the quality of education that her two youngest children were receiving in prestigious private schools, convinced her that children deserved better than what was passing for acceptable education.  That conviction led to her decision to open her own school on the second floor of her home.  She took the $5,000 balance in her school pension fund and began her educational program with an enrollment of her own two children and four other neighborhood youngsters.


Thus, Westside Preparatory School was founded in 1975 in Garfield Park, a Chicago inner-city area.  During the first year, Marva took in learning disabled, problem children and even one child who had been labeled by Chicago public school authorities as borderline retarded.  At the end of the first year, every child scored at least five grades higher proving that the previous labels placed on these children were misguided.  The CBS program 60 Minures, visited her school for the second time in 1996.  That little girl who had been labeled as borderline retarded, graduated in 1976 from college Summa Cum Laude.  It was documented on the 60 Minutes programs in 1996.  Marva’s graduates have entered some of the nation’s finest colleges and universities, such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, to mention just a few.  And, they have become physicians, lawyers, engineers, educators, and entered other professions.


Her achievements prompted President Ronald Reagan to offer her the post of Secretary of Education, which she declined in order to continue the development of Westside Preparatory School.


Ms. Collins has received many accolades in recognition of her outstanding work with children.  She was featured on Good Morning, America, 20/20, Fox News, and many more programs too numerous to list.  A made-for-television movie titled, The Marva Collins Story starred Cicely Tyson and Morgan Freeman first aired in 1982, and is still presented on television.


Some of her awards include:
  • The Jefferson Award for Benefiting the Disadvantaged
  • The Humanitarian Award for Excellence
  • Legendary Women of the World Award
  • Many honorary doctoral degrees from universities such as Amherst, Dartmouth, Notre Dame, and Clark University
  • The prestigious National Humanities Medal from President Bush in 2004


She has turned the responsibilities of running her school over to her daughter, Cynthia B. Collins, who was one of her first students in the Westside Preparatory School.  Her curriculum is based on classical  literature, and other subject material that contain ideas, lofty thoughts, and abstract concepts.  The purpose is to teach children the values that hold societies together and that present to students thoughts that may be interpreted differently.  Fourth graders in her school, for example, read Plato’s dialogue, The Republic.  In it, Plato asks, “What is justice?”  Justice has different meaning, according to one’s viewpoint or interpretations.  The students are encouraged to express their own opinion.  And, as any observer of Ms. Collins classes will attest, the children are eager to participate in classroom discussions, and their verbal skills are outstanding as are their reasoning abilities.  Her students are taught to appreciate the nuances of language, how to analyze and challenge what they read, and to express their opinions.  They learn to contrast their own ideas with the differing ones as expressed by the other students.


Ms. Collins has spoken to many major corporations including The National Girl Scouts, The National Retailers Association, The National Dairy Association, The European Division of IBM, Xerox Corporation, The Million Dollar Roundtable, The Young President’s Organization (YPO), The National Bankers’ Association, Anheuser-Busch, Coors, and she has trained executives of Long John Silvers.  Corporations have accurately discerned that the same skills Ms. Collins develops in her students are applicable in successful business entities.


Ms. Collins died on June 14, 2015 in Beaufort County, South Carolina.




Ann M. Fudge – Corporate Executive

Ann M. FudgeAnn Fudge became the first African-American to head a major advertising agency when she was named CEO of Young & Rubicam Inc., a division of WPP Group.  While at Young & Rubicam she managed the Young & Rubicam Advertising Agency, the Landor Associates branding firm and the public relations firm Burson-Marstellar, among others.

Young & Rubicam Advertising at the time Ms. Fudge assumed control was Young & Rubicam’s largest operating unit, with reported billings of $3.4 billion in 2002.  She served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Young & Rubicam from 2003 to the end of 2006.

The Young & Rubicam agency is a major industry force which has developed ad campaigns for Lincoln-Mercury, AT&T, Colgate, Sears and Metropolitan Life.

Prior to joining Young & Rubicam, Ms. Fudge worked at General Mills and at General Foods, where she served in a number of positions, including president of Kraft General Foods’ Maxwell House Coffee Company, and president of Kraft’s Beverages, Desserts and Post Divisions.

Ms. Fudge is one of the most accomplished women in the world of business.  Ms. Fudge is Vice Chairman and Senior Independent Director of Unilever NV, London and Rotterdam. She is a trustee of the New York-based Rockefeller Foundation, and is chair of the US Programs Advisory Panel of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ms. Fudge is further a trustee of WGBH Public Media. She is also on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2008 Ms. Fudge   joined healthcare firm, Norvatis  AG’s Board of Directors.  Ms. Fudge was elected to the Board of Directors for a three-year term where she still qualifies as an independent non-executive director .

In 2010, Ms. Fudge served on President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

Ms. Fudge received a BA degree from Simmons College and an MBA from Harvard University.

Sources: Wikipedia, Novartis


Berry Gordy, Jr. – Founder Motown Record Corporation

Berry Gordy, Jr.Founder and owner of the Tamla-Motown family record labels, Berry Gordy, Jr. established Motown Records as one of the most important independent labels in the early ’60s.  Assembling an industrious staff of songwriters, producers, and musicians, Motown Records built one of the most impressive rosters of artists in the history of pop music, and became the largest and most successful independent record company in the United States by 1964.

Berry Gordy dropped out of school in the eleventh grade to become a professional boxer.  At one time he even fought on the same card with the Brown Bomber, Joe Louis, at Detroit’s Olympia Stadium.  He ended his respectable career as a featherweight in 1950.  After serving in the Army in Korea from 1951 – 1953, his love for jazz caused him to open up the 3-D Record Mart-House of Jazz.  Too obsessed with his own love of jazz, Berry was too stubborn to stock the Blues records the neighborhood craved.  So in 1955 the store went bankrupt and was forced to close.

The Flame Show Bar opened in 1949 and was…the showplace for top Black talent in Detroit during the 50s.  It was during this time that Al Green, the club’s owner, invited Gordy to write songs for the artists he managed, which included Jackie Wilson.  Berry, teaming with Roquel “Billy” Davis, began writing at Green’s office.  Berry would eventually bring sister Gwen in and the trio would write several bestsellers, including “To Be Loved,” “Lonely Teardrops,” That’s Why (I Love You So)” and “I’ll Be Satisfied,” establishing themselves as hit writers.  At this time Gordy started doing some of the producing.

An unsuccessful audition of the Matadors for Wilson’s manager Nat Tarnopol would change Gordy’s life.  Berry really liked them a lot and told them so after the audition.  This was to be the beginning of a close friendship between Gordy and the Matador’s lead singer Smokey Robinson.  The Matadors soon changed their name to the Miracles.  Gordy managed the Miracles and produced their 1958 single “Got A Job” on the End Records label.  The small royalty check he received from End along with similar small royalty checks for other hits he had co-written convinced him to form his own label, Tamla Records.  Originally he had wanted to call it Tammy after the Debbie Reynolds ballad, but the name had already been taken.

In 1959 Gordy started his own publishing company, Jobete Publishing, named after his three children:  Hazel Joy, Berry and Terry.  If you wrote for Motown you were published by Jobete, which grew to be one of the most powerful in the industry.

Gordy initially recorded R&B artists on Tamla Records.  In his first year of operation he co-wrote and produced “Money,” which was recorded by Barrett Strong.  “Money” eventually reached the number two spot on the R&B charts.  In November 1959, Gordy recorded “Bad Girl” by a young William “Smokey” Robinson and the Miracles that reached number ninety-nine on the pop charts with the help of national distribution by Chess Records.

Smokey Robinson convinced Gordy that Motown should distribute its own records.  In 1960, Gordy co-wrote and distributed “Shop Around” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, which was a number one hit and established Motown as an important independent company.  By this time Jobete Music was his publishing firm and International Talent Management was his management agency.  He also set up various subsidiary labels.

Gordy, the son of a Black entrepreneur who hoped for the upward mobility of Blacks, specifically groomed and cultivated streetwise teens from the streets of Detroit to make them acceptable to mainstream America.  In 1964 he hired Maxine Powell, who had operated a finishing and modeling school, to prep his performers.  Powell tried to transform Motown artists into polished professionals.

A few months after adding Maxine Powell, Gordy hired choreographer Cholly Atkins, a well known dancer in the 1930s and 1940s who had performed at the Cotton Club and Savoy Ballroom, to teach these groups how to move gracefully.

Atkins worked with Maurice King, who served as executive musical director.  King who had arranged shows at Detroit’s Flame Show Bar for years and had worked with jazz artists such as Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington, taught the Motown Groups about stage patter.

By the mid-1960s, Gordy had assembled a Motown team that could take poor Black youths from Detroit and teach them to talk, walk, and dress as successful debutantes and debonair gentlemen.

Gordy combined the polished images of the Motown acts with a gospel-based music that could appeal to mainstream America.  Blues and R&B always had a funky look to it back in those days, and Motown wanted to have a look that fathers and mothers would want their children to follow.  They wanted to kill the imagery of liquor and drugs and how some people thought it pertained to R&B.  Therefore they rejected anything that had a strong blues sound to it when choosing material for their artists.

In place of the blues and R&B, Gordy favored a distinct music grounded by an insistent pounding rhythm section, punctuated by horns and tambourines and featuring shrill, echo-laden vocals that bounced back and forth in a call and response of gospel.  Building upon his experience with the girl group sound, he produced a full sound reminiscent and expanding on Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.

Aiming for the mass market, Gordy called the music “The Sound of Young America” and affixed a sign over Motown studio that read “Hitsville U.S.A.”

The different singles produced by Motown sounded remarkably similar because of the in house rhythm section known as the Funk Brothers.  In 1964, Earl Van Dyke, a former be-bop jazz pianist who toured with R&B singer Lloyd Price, became the leader of the studio band.  He played with drummer Benny Benjamin and bassist James Jamerson, who had backed Jackie Wilson and the Miracles.  Together with a few other musicians the Funk Brothers provided the trademark percussive beat of the Motown sound.

During the mid-1960s, Gordy established a music empire that included eight record labels, a management service, a publishing company, and grossed millions of dollars a year.  From 1964 to 1967, Motown had 14 number one pop singles, 20 number one singles on the R&B charts, forty six more Top Fifteen pop singles and seventy-five other Top 15 R&B singles.  In 1966 alone, seventy-five percent of Motown’s releases made the charts.

In July 1988 Berry Gordy sold Motown Records to MCA and Boston Ventures for $61 million.  Boston Ventures later bought out MCA’s interest and sold Motown Records to the Dutch-based Polygram conglomerate for $325 million in 1993.  Berry Gordy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Source:  www.history-of-rock.com/motown_records.htm


Earl G. Graves, Sr. – Publishing Magnate

Earl G. Graves, Sr.While serving on an advisory board to the Small Business Administration, he launched his own management consulting firm.  By the late 1960s, the civil rights movement had paved the way for Black empowerment and the concept of “Black capitalism.”  Proponents believed that a liberated American society would come only when minority communities thrived with their own businesses.

With this in mind, Graves founded Black Enterprise magazine in New York City in 1970.  At the time, only the Johnson Company in Chicago issued magazines targeted at Black readers in the United States:  Ebony and Jet.  Many believed Graves was too optimistic in starting a magazine aimed at African American businesspeople.  At the time, there were only about 100,0000 Black-owned businesses in the United States, and most of them were small, family-run, neighborhood operations.  Only three of the 3,000 business leaders who were serving on the boards of Fortune 500 companies were African Americans.  “Lacking capital, managerial and technical knowledge and crippled by prejudice, the minority businessman has been effectively kept out of the marketplace.  We want to help change this,” Graves declared in Black Enterprise‘s first issue in August 1970.

Graves’ publication was a success within its first year, becoming profitable after just ten issues.  In June 1973, the magazine started listing its Black Enterprise 100, ranking the top Black-owned companies in America by revenues.  At the time, Berry Gordy’s music and entertainment company, Motown, was number one on the list, and it remained there for a record eleven years.  In time, as Black-owned businesses grew in both number and revenues, the magazine expanded its rankings to list banks and insurance companies, auto dealerships, and other enterprises; it also began to publish statistics on Fortune 500 and other companies that were positive places for African Americans to work or to join as franchisees.

Graves expanded his empire over the years.  He acquired several radio stations, and in 1990, in a much-heralded deal, joined with Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson to acquire the distribution rights for Pepsi-Cola products in the Washington, D.C. area.  It was a $60 million deal, and their venture became the largest minority-owned franchise in the United States at that time.  It was all the more remarkable because Pepsi rarely allowed outsiders to acquire its lucrative local distribution franchises.  “Pepsi-Cola made the conscious decision, to their credit, to identify a minority person who could be a successful bottler,” Graves told Beverage World‘s Tim Davis.

Graves has often used the pages of Black Enterprise to call attention to unfinished civil rights business.  He urged readers to support historically Black colleges and to contribute to the United Negro College Fund.  In one “Letter to My Grandchildren,” Graves noted that many critical changes had taken place since his own childhood, opening the doors for unparalleled achievement for Blacks in the United States.  “It is important to remind ourselves from time to time that the entrepreneurial, professional, and economic strides and accomplishments that fill the pages of BE each month were unimaginable just a few short decades ago, ” he wrote.  However, Graves noted, there was still work to be done, particularly with setbacks in affirmative action in the 1990s. “…Even as we pause to congratulate ourselves,  our celebration is tempered by deep concerns,” he reflected.  “I worry that the same legislation and policies that enabled the advances of my generation, and that of your parents’ generation, will no longer exist for your generation.”

Black Enterprise magazine continues to thrive.  In 2001, the company enjoyed $5.7 million in sales, with four million readers.  The company also included a book publishing arm, sponsored seminars for entrepreneurs, and ran a private equity investment fund.  Washington Post writer Linton Weeks called its founder, “one of the most influential Black businesspeople in the country” and also said Graves “has used Black Enterprise to tell the community how to work together, dress smart, pull strings, borrow money, live revengefully well.”

Source:  Answers.com, Black Enterprise, The HistoryMakers


Robert L. Johnson – Business Leader, Entrepreneur

Robert L. Johnson is an American entrepreneur best known as the founder of the BET channel and as the country’s first African-American billionaire.

Robert L. JohnsonRobert L. Johnson was born on April 8, 1946, in Hickory, Mississippi. Johnson founded Black Entertainment Television (BET) in 1979 with his wife, Sheila. He became the first African-American billionaire after selling the network to Viacom in 2001. Johnson has since started a new business, the RLJ Companies, and has invested in an NBA team, a film company, and political causes and campaigns.

He spent the majority of his childhood in Freeport, Illinois. Johnson graduated from Freeport High School in 1964, and studied history at the University of Illinois. He then earned a master’s degree in international affairs from Princeton University.

In 1979, Johnson and his wife Sheila founded Black Entertainment Television, the first cable network targeting the African-American market. It was launched in January 1980, initially broadcasting for two hours a week. In 1991, BET became the first African American-owned company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The network has continued to grow since that time, reaching tens of millions of homes and expanding to include other traditional and digital channels.

In 2000, Viacom announced plans to purchase BET. The sale was finalized the following year and Johnson’s majority stake earned him more than $1 billion, making him the richest African American in the United States at that time as well as the first African-American billionaire. Johnson continued to be the company’s chairman and CEO for several years before leaving BET to lead the RLJ Companies.

Johnson developed the RLJ Companies following the sale of BET to Viacom. RLJ is a holding company and asset management firm handling a portfolio of companies in the financial services, real estate, hospitality, professional sports, film production, automotive and gaming industries. Johnson has referred to RLJ as his “second act.”

Johnson has invested in several notable companies and organizations beyond the reach of RLJ. He was the first African-American principal owner of a North American major-league sports franchise, the Charlotte Bobcats. In 2006, Johnson founded Our Stories Films with partner Harvey Weinstein. The company focuses on family-friendly movies intended for African-American audiences. In 2011, Our Stories released the romantic-comedy feature Jumping the Broom.

In May 2004 Johnson attempted to become the first African American owner and operator of a major regional airline with the creation of DC Air.  The plan called for DC Air to serve 44 cities with 122 daily departures  from Ronald Reagan National Airport.  Johnson planned to acquire the routes,  departure/landing slots, equipment and other assets to create the airline as a  result of the announced merger of domestic airline giants US Airways and  United Airlines.  However, that merger never occurred and instead U.S. Airways later merged with American Airlines and DC Air never came into existence.

In addition to his business ventures, Johnson has involved himself in politics. In 2007, Johnson organized a tour of African-American business leaders to Liberia. This trip led to the creation of the Liberia Enterprise Development Fund. Johnson publicly called for African-American support of Liberia, on the model of Jewish support for Israel. Johnson received criticism for his rebuke of Barack Obama during the 2008 Democratic primary election, in favor of Hillary Clinton.




Cathy Hughes – Chairperson and Founder of Radio One

Cathy Hughes is an African-American entrepreneur, radio and television personality and business executive.

Cathy Hughes After working for KOWH, a Black radio station in Omaha, Hughes was offered a job as a lecturer and Assistant to the Dean of Communications at Howard University School of Communications in Washington, D.C.  In 1973 she became general sales manager of WHUR-FM, and by 1975 was hired as the general manager of the station.  In 1978 Hughes left WHUR for WYCB Radio, where she served as the vice president and general manager of the station.

Hughes and her husband at the time, Dewey Hughes, decided they wanted to buy their own radio station in 1979, and after being rejected by thirty-two banks, they found a lender.  With their loan, they purchased WOL, a small Washington, D.C. station, and Radio One was born.

Hughes’ marriage ended shortly after purchasing the station and she began her path as a single mother.  She purchased her husband’s share in the station, but hard times soon forced she and her son, Alfred, to give up their apartment and move into the station to make ends meet.  Over time, however, the station began turning a profit, largely due to the success of her talk show.

Since the early days of being a station owner, Hughes’ rise has been remarkable.  Today, Radio One owns 65 radio stations throughout every major market in the country, making the company the largest Black-owned radio chain in the nation.  In January of 2004, Hughes launched TV One, a cable television channel targeted at the African American community.

Source:  The HistoryMakers  


Dr. Mae C. Jemison – Astronaut, Physician, and Scientist

Dr. Mae JemisonDr. Mae C. Jemison became the first woman of color go into space when she blasted into orbit aboard the space shuttle Endeavor on September 12, 1992.  This historic event was only another in a series of accomplishments for this dynamic African-American woman, who speaks fluent Russian, Japanese, and Swahili.

Dr. Jemison was Science Mission Specialist (a NASA first) on the STS-47 Space lab J flight, a US/Japan joint mission.  She conducted experiments in life sciences, material sciences, and was co-investigator in the Bone Cell Research experiment.

At sixteen, she entered Stanford University on scholarship where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, and fulfilled the requirements for an A.B. in African and Afro-American Studies.  She attended Cornell Medical College where she earned her Doctorate in Medicine in 1981.  In medical school, her interest and knowledge in Third World countries evolved into a commitment to effectively contribute.  She traveled to Cuba, rural Kenya, and spent a medical clerkship in Thailand at a Cambodian Refugee Camp.  She completed her internship at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center in 1982.  In addition to her extensive background in science, she is also trained in dance and choreography.

Prior to joining the National Aerounatics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1987, she worked as a General Practicioner in Los Angeles with the INA/Ross Loos Medical Group.  She then spent two and a half years (1983-85) as an Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa.  Returning to Los Angeles, she resumed her medical practice, working with CIGNA Health Plans of California.

This attitude and her high achievements in historically exclusionary fields led Dartmouth College to invite her to its Hanover campus in 1993, where she taught a course on Space Age Technology and Developing Countries.

Because her excellent educational foundation was acquired in the Chicago public schools, Dr. Jemison strongly believes that U.S. public schools must be kept viable.  Many of her interests and skills for what she has accomplished emerged during these early years.  She feels very honored by the establishment (1992) of the Mae C. Jemison Academy, an alternative public school in Detroit.

Dr. Jemison resigned from NASA in March 1993.

Source:  Dr. Mae Jemison


Reginald F. Lewis – Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

Reginald LewisReginald F. Lewis was born on December 7, 1942 in an East Baltimore neighborhood he once described as “semi-tough.” Lewis was strongly influenced by his family. His parents, grandparents. uncles, and aunts always encouraged Lewis to “be the best that you can be.” Reginald’s grandmother would teach him the importance of saving, even cutting and peeling strips from the bottom of a tin can and nailing it to the floor of a closet to protect his savings.

At the age of ten, Lewis set up a delivery route to sell the Afro American newspaper. After building the business from ten customers to more than a hundred in two years, he sold the route at a profit.

Lewis’ grandfather was headwaiter and maitre d’ at a private country club. It was while working there as a teenager that Lewis says his grandfather advised him. – “Know your job and do it well.” He also told Reginald stories about Paris during World War I, cultivating in him a lifelong love of French Language, food, and culture.

Reginald’s family stressed the value of education at an early age. Lewis received early schooling from the Oblate Sisters of Providence, established by women of African descent whose mission was teaching and caring for African American children. Later at Dunbar high School, he distinguished himself as an athlete on the playing field and a hard working student in the class room. He was quarterback of the football team shortstop for varsity baseball, a forward on the basketball team and was team captain of all three. Lewis was also elected vice president of the student body.

Reginald F. Lewis entered Virginia State University in 1961 on a football scholarship. An injury cut short his football career and he focused on school and work. One of the jobs was as a photographer’s sales assistant. He generated so much business that he was offered a partnership. Reginald declined because he had bigger things in mind for the future. A handwritten schedule that he kept says: “To be a good lawyer, one must study HARD.” And he did, graduating on the dean’s list his senior year.

In 1965, the Rockefeller Foundation funded a summer school program at Harvard Law School to introduce a select number of black students to legal studies. Reginald lobbied for his acceptance and got in. He made such an impression that Lewis was invited to attend Harvard Law School that fall – the only person in the 148-year history of the school to be admitted before applying. During his third year at Harvard Law, Lewis discovered the direction his career would take as the result of a course on securities law. His senior year thesis on mergers and acquisitions received an honors grade.

Those of us on the faculty who saw in him then the promise of greatness had no idea of the extraordinary achievements be was to attain.” -Frank Sander, Professor, Harvard Law School

After graduation (HLS ’68), Lewis landed a job practicing corporate law with a prestigious New York law firm . Two years later he-along with a few others-set up Wall Street’s first African American law firm. Lewis focused on corporate law, structuring investments in minority owned businesses and became special counsel to major corporations like General Foods and Equitable Life (now AXA).

RFL was of counsel to the New York-based Commission for Racial Justice and represented The Wilmington Ten. He was successful in forcing North Carolina to pay interest on the Wilmington Ten bond.

A desire to “do the deals myself” led Lewis to establish TLC Group, L.P. in 1983. His first successful venture was the $22.5-million dollar leveraged buyout of McCall Pattern Company. It was a struggling business in a declining industry. Lewis streamlined operations, increased marketing, and led the company to two of the most profitable years in McCall’s 113-year history. In the summer of 1987, he sold the company for $65 million, making a 90 to 1 return on his investment.

Fresh on the heels of the McCall deal, Lewis purchased the international division of Beatrice Foods (64 companies in 31 countries) in August 1987. The deal was supported by the most powerful investment banker then, Drexel Burnham Lambert, and led by high yield bond king Michael Robert Milken. Lewis, after closing the deal in December 1987, re-branded the corporation as TLC Beatrice International, Inc. At $985 million, the deal was the largest offshore leveraged buyout ever by an American company. As Chairman and CEO, Lewis moved quickly to reposition the company, pay down the debt, and vastly increase the company’s worth. With revenues of $1.5 billion, TLC Beatrice made it to Fortune’s 500 and was first on the Black Enterprise List of Top 100 African American owned businesses.

In January 1993, at age 50, Reginald F. Lewis died after a short illness. A letter at his funeral from longtime friend David N. Dinkins, former mayor of New York, said, “Reginald Lewis accomplished more in half a century than most of us could ever deem imaginable. And his brilliant career was matched always by a warm and generous heart.” Dinkins added, “It is said that service to others is the rent we pay on earth. Reg Lewis departed us paid in full.”

“Reginald Lewis held close to his dream. It was a dream fueled by imagination, inspiration, and dedication.” – Hon. David N. Dinkins

Even after his death, Lewis’ philanthropic endeavors continue. He had expressed a desire to support a museum of African American culture. In 2002. The Maryland State Legislature allocated thirty-two million dollars for a museum of Maryland African American history and culture 10 be built near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

One component of the museum, a partnership between the museum and the Maryland State Department of Education, focused on an African American curriculum to be developed and taught in all Maryland public schools.

The Foundation board decided that this was what Reginald Lewis would have supported and made its largest grant to date, $5 million. The grant to the Museum was placed in an endowment to support education programs. When the museum opened in June 2005, to great fanfare, it was named the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.

Lawyer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, CEO, devoted family man, loyal friend-Reginald F. Lewis lived his life according to the words he often quoted to audiences around the country; “Keep going, no matter what.”

Lewis’ biography “Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?” was co-authored by former USA Today business writer Blair Walker and made the Best Seller list of Business Week when published in 1994.

Source: Biography.com – http://www.biography.com/people/reginald-f-lewis

Barack Hussein Obama – President of the United States

Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States.


Barak ObamaHis story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.


With a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961.  He was raised with help from his grandfather, who served in Patton’s army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank.


After working his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans, President Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants.

He went on to attend law school, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.  Upon graduation, he returned to Chicago to help lead a voter registration drive, teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago, and remain active in his community. 


President Obama’s years of public service are based around his unwavering belief in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose.  In the Illinois State Senate, he passed the first major ethics reform in 25 years, cut taxes for working families, and expanded health care for children and their parents.  As a United States Senator, he reached across the aisle to pass groundbreaking lobbying reform, lock up the worlds’s most dangerous weapons, and bring transparency to government by putting federal spending online.


He was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and sworn in on January 20, 2009.  He and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia, and Sasha.



Richard Parsons – Former Chairman of the Board, Citigroup, Inc.

Richard ParsonsRichard D. Parsons served as chairman of AOL Time Warner and Citigroup before taking over as CEO of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers in 2014

Born on April 4, 1948, in Brooklyn, New York, Richard Parsons is the son of an electrical technician and a homemaker.  He skipped a grade in elementary school and another in high school.   Relegated to Princeton University’s wait list, he instead enrolled at the University of Hawaii at age 16. He attended the University of Hawaii and Albany Law School.

Parsons majored in history and met his future wife, Laura Bush, at Hawaii. Although he was still six credits shy of his diploma after four years, he performed well enough on his pre-law exams to earn acceptance to Albany Law School in New York. Parsons worked part-time as a janitor before graduating first in his class in 1971.

Following his early legal career, Parsons developed a reputation for managing crises as CEO of Dime Bank, CEO and chairman of AOL Time Warner, and chairman of Citigroup. He became CEO of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers after team owner Donald Sterling was suspended in May 2014.

Parsons began his professional career as counsel to New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, who retained the young lawyer after becoming U.S. vice president in 1974. Moving on to the Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler law firm in 1977, Parsons worked alongside future New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and rose to the rank of managing partner.

Recruited to join Dime Savings Bank as chief operating officer in 1988, Parsons took over as CEO two years later when the savings and loan crisis threatened to derail the institution. Parsons kept Dime afloat as the real estate market recovered and spearheaded a successful merger with Anchor Savings Bank in 1994.

Named president of Time Warner in 1995, Parsons was thrust into the role of CEO and chairman following the ill-fated merger with AOL in 2001. He streamlined the business divisions and weathered investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department, quelling enough fires to earn Institutional Investor’s nod as the entertainment industry’s top CEO in January 2005. However, the media giant struggled to make a sufficient recovery, and Parsons stepped down from his leadership positions in 2008.

His emergency-management capacities were called upon again when the 2008 financial crisis sent Citigroup into a tailspin. Installed as chairman in early 2009, Parsons maintained the channels of communication with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair, and worked to soothe the nerves of frazzled investors. Having helped stabilize the company, Parsons left in 2012 to focus on a new jazz club venture, his Italian vineyard and various board memberships.

Parsons was ushered into the midst of a new crisis after Donald Sterling, the owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, was suspended for life in May 2014 for derogatory comments about African Americans. The former bank and media chief accepted NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s offer to take over as interim CEO of the team. But another public relations issue arose when questions surfaced about whether Parsons actually played for the University of Hawaii basketball team. Parsons subsequently clarified he played for one season on the freshman team.

Source:  Richard Parsons, Biography.com


Emily J. T. Perez – West Point Graduate 

Emily J. T. PerezSecond Lieutenant Emily J. T. Perez, 23, West Point Graduate, became the first Black Woman to become Command Sergeant in the history of the U. S. Military Academy.  Lieutenat Perez graduated in the top 10 percent of her class, out-ran many men, directed a gospel choir, and read the Bible every day.  She also headed a weekly convoy as it rolled down treacherous roads, pocked with bombs and bullets near Najaf, Iraq.  As platoon leader, she insisted on leading her troops from the front.  Shortly before shipping out to Iraq with the 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, she flew cross-country to be a bone marrow donor for a stranger for whom she was a match.  She was killed in Iraq when a bomb detonated near her Humvee in Kifl, south of Baghdad.  She was the 64th woman from the U. S. military to be killed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Source:  The Emily J.T. Perez Foundation – http://www.emilysway.org/emily.htm


General Colin L. Powell – Former U.S. Secretary of State

Reprinted from Biography.com

Colin PowellColin Luther Powell is a United States statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State (2001-2005), serving under President George W. Bush. He was the first African American appointed to that position. He was the first, and so far the only, African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Born Colin Luther Powell on April 5, 1937, in Harlem, New York. The son of Jamaican immigrants Luther and Maud Powell, Colin was raised in the South Bronx. Without any definite plans for where he wanted to go in life, he found his calling—in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). He soon became commander of his unit. This experience set him on a military career and gave him structure and direction in his life.

In 1962 he was one of 16,000 advisers sent to South Vietnam by President John Kennedy. In 1963, Powell was wounded by a punji-stick booby trap while patrolling the Vietnamese-Laotian border. During this first tour of duty, he was awarded a Purple Heart and, a year later, a Bronze Star.

While on his second Vietnam tour of duty from 1968 to 1969, the 31-year-old Army major was given the assignment of investigating the My Lai massacre. In this incident, more than 300 civilians were killed by U.S. Army forces. Colin Powell’s report seemed to refute the allegations of wrongdoing and stated, “Relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.” Also during this tour in Vietnam, Powell was injured in a helicopter crash. Despite his injury, he managed to rescue his comrades from the burning helicopter, for which he was awarded the Soldier’s Medal. In all, Powell has received 11 military decorations, including the Legion of Merit.

Powell earned an MBA at George Washington University, in Washington, D.C., and won a White House fellowship in 1972. He was assigned to the Office of Management and Budget during the Nixon administration and made a lasting impression on Caspar Weinberger and Frank Carlucci. Both men would consult Powell for advice when they served as secretary of defense and national security adviser, respectively, in the Reagan administration.

Colonel Colin Powell served a tour of duty in Korea in 1973 as a battalion commander and after that, he obtained a staff job at the Pentagon. After study at the Army War College, he was promoted to brigadier general and commanded a brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. In the Carter administration, he was an assistant to the deputy secretary of defense and the secretary of energy. Promoted to major general, he again assisted Frank Carlucci at the Department of Defense during the transition from the Carter to the Reagan administration. He then served as senior military aide to Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, helping to coordinate the invasion of Granada and the bombing of Libya.

In 1987, Powell became national security adviser, a post he held for the duration of the Reagan administration. While there, he coordinated technical and policy advisers during Reagan’s summit meetings with Soviet President Gorbachev and his conferences to topple the pro-Communist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. It was discovered that the administration had arranged for covert and illegal shipments of U.S. weapons to Iran in exchange for the release of hostages. Proceeds from the sale of the weapons would go to support the counter-insurgency movement in Nicaragua, which was aimed at toppling the Sandinistas. Such support had been prohibited by Congress since 1982. Powell was asked to testify before Congress about the incident, but he was not implicated in any wrongdoing.

In 1989, President George H. W. Bush appointed General Colin Powell as Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs. The post is the highest military position in the Department of Defense, and Powell was the first African-American officer to receive that distinction. General Powell became a national figure during Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations in Iraq. As chief military strategist, he developed what became known as the “Powell Doctrine,” an approach to military conflicts that advocates using overwhelming force to maximize success and minimize casualties. He continued as chairman of the Joint Chiefs in the first few months of the Clinton administration. He publicly disagreed with the president on the issue of admitting gays into the military, although he eventually agreed to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” compromise.

Colin Powell retired from the Army in 1993. In 1994, he joined Senator Sam Nunn and former President Jimmy Carter on a last-minute peacekeeping expedition to Haiti, which resulted in the end of military rule and a peaceful return to elected government in that country. In 1995, he published a best-selling autobiography, My American Journey, which chronicles his life and its influences, the ins and outs of military bureaucracy, and what he learned in his life about personal rules and character. From 1997 to 2000, he was chairman of America’s Promise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering character and competence in young people. Powell and his wife, Alma, now co-chair the organization, which has a presence in more than 500 communities in all 50 states.

In 2000, President George W. Bush appointed Colin Powell secretary of state, and Powell was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. At that time, this was the highest rank in civilian government ever held by an African-American. During his tenure, Powell came under fire for his role in building the case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Initially, Powell had serious misgivings about President Bush’s plan to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein. Powell believed the policy of containment was sufficient to control the Iraqi regime. He warned Bush that a military invasion would consume the president’s first term and that if an attack were to occur, it should use overwhelming force and have broad international support. This support would be key to the rebuilding of Iraq.

Bush decided to go to war and, in a crucial moment, Powell agreed to support the president. To advance the case for war with the international community, Powell appeared before the U.N. Security Council in February 2003 to present evidence that Iraq had concealed an ongoing weapons development program. Powell’s reputation for integrity helped convince many in Congress and the country that Iraq posed an imminent threat.

For the remainder of Bush’s first term, Colin Powell tried to establish an international coalition to assist in the rebuilding of Iraq. In September 2004, he testified before Congress that the intelligence sources he used in his February presentation to the United Nations were “wrong” and it was unlikely that Saddam had any stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. Powell advised the committee of the necessity to reform the intelligence community in order to improve its gathering and analysis. In 2004, after acknowledging it was unlikely that Iraq possessed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, Powell announced his resignation as secretary of state. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was his successor.

Since his retirement, Powell has remained vocal on political topics, openly criticizing the Bush administration on a number of issues. In September 2006, Powell joined moderate Senate Republicans in supporting more rights and better treatment for detainees at the Guantanamo detention facility. In October 2008, Colin Powell made headlines again when he announced his endorsement of Barack Obama for president.

Colin Powell has spent much of his life inspiring many with his leadership skills and life experiences. Along with his wife, Powell began America’s Promise Alliance, as part of their dedication to the wellbeing of children and youth of all socioeconomic levels and their commitment to seeing that young people receive the resources necessary to succeed.

Colin Powell began his American journey from ordinary circumstances. His close-knit family provided support and a caring environment during his childhood. He found his calling in the military, and his entire adult life has been in the service of his country. As a soldier, he was committed to protecting the nation and advancing democratic values. While he gravitated toward support roles early in his career, his organizational talent and pragmatic outlook were recognized by those who placed him in key government advisory roles.

Source: Biography.com – http://www.biography.com/people/colin-powell-9445708#retirement



Dr. Condoleeza Rice – Former U.S. Secretary of State 

Condoleeza RiceDr. Condoleeza Rice became Secretary of State on January 26, 2005, becoming the first Black woman, only the second African American, and only the second woman (at the time), to hold the office.  Prior to her appointment as Secretary of State, she served as National Security Advisor (Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs).

In June 1999, she completed a six year tenure as Stanford University’s Provost, during which she was the institution’s chief budget and academic officer.  As Provost she was responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget and the academic program involving 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students.

As professor of political science, Dr. Rice had been on the Stanford faculty since 1981 and had won two of the highest teaching honors — the 1984 Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching and the 1993 School of Humanities and Sciences Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Dr. Rice was listed as the seventh most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine on its list of the 100 most powerful women in the world in 2008.

Dr. Rice speaks five languages fluently, she is an accomplished concert pianist, she has a reputation of being somewhat of a shopaholic and reportedly loves expensive designer clothes by Armani and Oscar de la Renta.

It is reported that while serving as Secretary of State, Dr. Rice worked very hard not to reveal her own views, but instead to gather the information provided and present it to the president. Newsweek‘s Evan Thomas stated, “She has often said that she is ‘determined to leave this town’ without anyone outside Bush’s tight inner circle ever figuring out where she stands on major issues.  She claims that she ‘rarely’ tells the president her private opinions, and if she does, she never shares her advice to the president, not even with her closest aides.”

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in political science, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver in 1974; her Master’s from the University of Notre Dame in 1975; and her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981.  She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded honorary doctorates from Morehouse College in 1991, the University of Alabama in 1994, the University of Notre Dame in 1995, the National Defense University in 2002, the Mississippi College School of Law in 2003, the University of Louisville and Michigan State University in 2004.

Newsweek’s Thomas summed it up when he stated in an article on September 9, 2002, “At an early age, she drove right through the boundaries of race and chased excellence and accomplishment all the way to the northeast corner office of the West Wing.”

Sources: U.S. State Department – https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/people/rice-condoleezza and About.com



Susan L. Taylor – Former Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine

Susan L. TaylorSusan L. Taylor, former Editor-In-Chief of Essence Magazine, was called “the most influential black woman in journalism today” by American Libraries in 1994.

She was the first and only African American woman to be recognized by the Magazine Publishers of America with the Henry Johnson Fisher Award, the industry’s highest honor, and the first to be inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame.  She is the recipient of the NAACP President’s Award for visionary leadership, and has honorary degrees from more than a dozen colleges and universities.

In her early 20s Taylor trained in acting with the Negro Ensemble Company.  She also founded her own cosmetics company, Nequai Cosmetics, obtaining a license as a cosmetologist and developing beauty products for African American women.  Taylor’s experience with Nequai attracted the editors of Essence, which led to her first free-lance articles with the magazine. 

Her success is remarkable when one considers that she was once barely getting by, alone with her daughter, Shana-Nequai.  When she was 24, she found herself separated, with rent due, car broken, and three dollars to her name.  One Sunday morning in November of 1970, Taylor was beset by pain in her chest and experiencing trouble breathing.  The New York City emergency room doctor who admitted her diagnosed her with acute anxiety.  Leaving the hospital feeling fearful and hopeless, Taylor stumbled on inspiration on her way home.

Walking up Broadway, Taylor came to a church and went in on impulse.  She had not attended church in years, but sitting in a back pew in her jeans and leather jacket, she heard a sermon that changed her life.  “The preacher said that our minds could change our world.  That no matter what our troubles, if we could put them aside for a moment, focus on possible solutions and imagine a joyous future, we would find a peace within, and positive experiences would begin to unfold,” she recalled in In the Spirit.  Taylor held on, and eventually her part-time job at the new magazine Essence became full-time, providing direction for her career. 

Taylor’s rise to the top of Essence took some ten years.  While friends moved from one magazine to another, Taylor stayed on at Essence.  “There were some moments of self-doubt, but the bottom line was that I was still challenging myself.  And the waiting paid off.”  Taylor moved from the part-time position of free-lance beauty editor, to the full-time staff position of fashion and beauty editor, and eventually became editor-in-chief in 1981.

Taylor founded the National CARES Mentoring Movement in 2006.  Its goals include increasing high school graduation rates among African American students; ending violence in black communities; and ending the over-incarceration of our young.  “Creating safe, top-tier schools in every underserved community in this nation is the mandate-and it’s doable,” says Taylor.

Source: The HistoryMakers – http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/susan-taylor-39



Oprah Winfrey – Talk Show Host and Media Mogul

Oprah WinfreyOprah Gail Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi.  After a troubled adolescence in a small farming community, where she was sexually abused by a number of male relatives and friends of her mother, she moved to Nashville to live with her father.  She entered Tennessee State University in 1971 and began working in radio and television broadcasting in Nashville.

In 1976, Winfrey moved to Baltimore, where she hosted the TV chat show,People Are Talking.  The show became a hit and Winfrey stayed with it for eight years, after which she was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host her own morning show, A.M. Chicago.  Her major competitor in the time slot was Phil Donahue.  Within several months, Winfrey’s open, warm-hearted personal style had won her 100,000 more viewers than Donahue and had taken her show from last place to first in the ratings.  Her success led to nationwide fame and a role in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film, The Color Purple, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Winfrey launched the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986 as a nationally syndicated program.  With its placement on 120 channels and an audience of 10 million people, the show grossed $125 million by the end of its first year.  She soon gained ownership of the program from ABC, drawing it under the control of her new production company, Harpo Productions.

In 1994, with talk shows becoming increasingly trashy and exploitative, Winfrey pledged to keep her show free of tabloid topics.  Although ratings initially fell, she earned the respect of her viewers and was soon rewarded with an upsurge in popularity.

The media giant contributed immensely to the publishing world by launching her “Oprah’s Book Club,” as part of her talk show.  The program propelled many unknown authors to the top of the bestseller lists and gave pleasure reading a new kind of popular prominence.

With the debut in 1999 of Oxygen Media, a company she co-founded that is dedicated to producing cable and Internet programming for women, Winfrey ensured her place in the forefront of the media industry and as one of the most powerful and wealthy people in show business.

Her highly successful monthly, O: The Oprah Magazine debuted in 2000, and in 2004, she signed a new contract to continue The Oprah Winfrey Show through the 2010-11 season.  The show is seen on 212 U.S. stations and in more than 100 countries worldwide.  OWN:  The Oprah Winfrey Network will make its debut in the second half of 2009.  OWN will take over the Discovery Health Channel distribution platform, which guarantees it a strong subscriber base of 67.7 million cable and satellite homes, according to Nielsen. (Source:  Variety.com)

According to Forbes magazine, Oprah was the richest African American of the 20th century and the world’s only Black billionaire for three years running.  Life magazine hailed her as the most influential woman of her generation.  In 2005, Business Week named her the greatest Black philanthropist in American history.  Oprah’s Angel Network has raised more than $51,000,000 for charitable programs, including girls’ education in South Africa and relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Winfrey launched the career of relationship specialist Dr. Phil, who became famous while making regular guest appearances on her show.  .

Winfrey is a dedicated activist for children’s rights; in 1994, President Clinton signed a bill into law that Winfrey had proposed to Congress, creating a nationwide database of convicted child abusers.  She founded the Family for Better Lives foundation and also contributes to her alma mater, Tennessee State University.  In September 2002, Oprah was named the first recipient of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Bob Hope Humanitarian Award.

Sources:  Biography.com – http://www.biography.com/people/oprah-winfrey-9534419

Black Lives Matter Should Not Be Offensive To Anyone

Dedicated to Sandra Bland, the Charleston 9, Samuel DuBose, Trayvon Martin, Victor Ortega, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Kimani Gray and all the known an unknown victims of injustice who have been abused and suffered violence nationally and internationally.
Read more at http://www.eurweb.com/2015/07/sounds-of-blackness-releases-incredible-anthem-black-lives-matter-no-justice-no-peace-watchlisten/#cSFJ8ZOyGMTmxyP8.99