Lynda Blackmon – Youngest person to participate on Bloody Sunday

At the young age of 14, Lynda Blackmon was allowed to march from Selma to Montgomery.

Lynda Blackmon

In the height of the Civil Rights Movement, hundreds marched from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., in a nonviolent protest for voting rights. February 2020, Bay Area News 9 wrote these words sharing her story, her struggles and how she continues to live with the aftermath of Bloody Sunday.

“But the March 1965 demonstration was met with violence in what is now known as “Bloody Sunday.”

For Lynda Blackmon, the youngest demonstrator allowed to march that day, it’s still hard to talk about.

“I can’t forget those feelings to this day,” said Blackmon, who was 14.

She was hit twice in the forehead and shoved to the ground.

“I was running into a cloud of tear gas and this man was running, beating me, hitting me in my head,” Blackmon said.

The book Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom tells her story.

Blackmon said she became involved in the movement at 7 years old after her mother died.”

Learn about the women of the civil rights movement. They may not be household names but they are living history. Women have a story to tell. Learn their stories. This woman who walked with some of our civil rights giants had been through a tremendous ordeal at a young age. She had lost her Mother, her foundation, the person who loved and cared for her. For her to even participate in civil rights was a tremendous feat and a testimony to her mother, her tribe, her community. Learn the stories of everyday people in your community. It will change your life, change your perspective.

#womenshistorymonth #herstory #BloodySunday #LyndaBlackmon

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Renee Montgomery, two-time WNBA Champion and now WNBA Team Owner

Renee Montgomery

Black History happens everyday by the extraordinary women and men who stand on the shoulders of our ancestors fighting for a life that is better today and tomorrow than it was yesterday. Renee Danielle Montgomery made not just Black History in 2021 but American history. She saw injustice in the league that she had played for 11 years and decided that she would either be part of the problem or the solution. What a solution she found.

Renee Montgomery just bought out Kelly Loefler’s stake of the Atlanta Dream, the WNBA team which she owned when she was appointed as a US Senator foe the great state of Georgia and lost to the Honorable Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock in November 2020. What makes this so spectacular and newsworthy is that Ms. Montgomery decided to take off a year after Ms. Loefler threw her Black team members under the bus during her campaign. Those same team members and along with others in the WNBA banded together to support Rev. Warnock against their team’s owner.

In the summer of 2020, members of the Atlanta Dream and Phoenix Mercury came together on national television wearing Black t-shirts with bold white letters that read “VOTE WARNOCK” in all caps. At the time, some members of the WNBA didn’t even know who or what Warnock was. Now the world knows!

One of the leaders of this movement was Renee Montgomery. She made the conscious decision to ignite a campaign against the team’s former owner and won. She asked to meet with the team owner and respectfully discuss their differences. This now former team owner decided not to meet with Ms. Montgomery and her allies for political reasons. That was a mistake on her part. Ms. Montgomery and her allies went on to support Rev. Warnock helping him win his campaign on January 5, 2021. Ms. Montgomery would not stop there.

With the support of her teammates, fans, the community and eventually the league, the stakes owned by the now defeated Loefler were bought by Ms. Montgomery and an ownership group that she joined. In just one year, Renee Montgomery went from being an Atlanta Dream team player to an Atlanta Dream team owner.

Renee Danielle Montgomery has only just begun which in my book make her one of the the greatest! To learn more about Renee Montgomery and the Atlanta Dream, please visit the following links. She is Black History. She is American History. She is Women’s History!

#womenshistorymonth #reneemontgomery #blackgirlmagic #blackgirlsrock #livinghistory #changeagent #warnock #AtlantaDream #WNBA

Renee Montgomery official WNBA site

Time Magazine article: WNBA supports Warnock

Atlanta Dream WNBA page

Judy Smith

Founder, Smith & Company

Judy Smith

Smith & Company is a leading strategic and crisis communications firm with offices in D.C. and Los Angeles. Smith honed her skills through experience with some of the most historic events of our time, including the Iran Contra investigation, the prosecution of former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry and the 1991 Gulf War. Smith has also served as a consultant for high profile, entertainment clients including actor Wesley Snipes & NFL quarterback Michael Vick. As a result of her ground breaking career, Shonda Rhimes, developed Scandal, a television drama about the world of crisis management.

Handle Your Crisis

To learn more about Judy Smith, visit her website: Judy Smith

#womenshistorymonth #judysmith #legacy #randallstownmom #scandal #oliviapope #reallife #leverageyourtruth #fixer #crisismanagement

Rosalind Brewer is the CEO of Walgreens 💙💙💙

Rosalind “Roz” Brewer

As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month, allow me to highlight one of my Spelman Sisters!!

Rosalind ‘Roz’ Brewer from our Mighty C/O Spelman ‘84, is leaving her Chief Operating Officer position @ Starbucks to become CEO of Walgreens! Wow! Stocks are responding favorably! Congratulations to my Spelman Sister!

Roz Brewer becomes the only Black woman leading a Fortune 500 company. The ‘Glass Ceiling’ has been shattered!💥🔥💥

Please click the link below for more details:

Whoopi Goldberg: A Living Icon

Happy Women’s History Month!

Whoopi Goldberg – An American Living Legend

If you don’t know me, you don’t know exactly how much I love and admire Whoopi Goldberg. Not because many have compared us in looks and attitude but because I admire her independence, her ability to pave a way for women in comedy, acting and advocacy. I love her as much as I can a person who I’ve never met.

Now let me be clear, I am not a person who is enamored with celebrity or famous people. But there are a few people living and dead that if I could have lunch, coffee or just a brief meeting, it would mean the world to me. I’ve shared my admiration here for Muhammad Ali, Billie Holiday, Malcolm X. You can add Whoopi Goldberg to that list.

Caryn Elaine Johnson, known professionally as Whoopi Goldberg, is an American actress, comedian, author, and television personality. A recipient of numerous accolades, Goldberg is one of sixteen entertainers to have won an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, an Academy Award, and a Tony Award. She is an original!

Currently Whoopi Goldberg is the lead host on “The View” and leads that group as she has so many others I suspect. She is opinionated, thoughtful, insightful, responsive, helpful, informative, insightful, legendary, beautiful, amazing, hilarious, sarcastic, groundbreaking, iconic, the list just goes on.

So as we begin Women’s History Month, we celebrate that I know and those that I wish I had meet in their lifetimes and mine. We will celebrate the Randallstown Moms who live and love in my immediate community, the civil rights icons who used their platforms to advocate for equality and human rights, the women of the Bible who set an example thousands of years ago that holds true today. We will celebrate the women who molded and raised me, the women who shaped my girls and me, and the women in our collective family who watch over us everyday as we achieve greatness, become icons like Whoopi! Happy Women’s Month to you all #themonthofwomen #whoruntheworld #knowourstory #randallstownmom

Coming 2 America

Coming 2 America

It’s been 33 years since the release of the legendary film with iconic characters created by Eddie Murphy. It was the first time that my generation saw Black Royalty on the big screen. It is etched in our hearts and minds forever! How many people still quote the original “Coming to America!” Who knows “sexual chocolate” and what is it? Is it true that the first mic drop was in the original “Coming to America”? How many people wanted to go to Zamunda before we had ever heard of Wakanda?

The Prince and Princess (Lisa McDowell)

Eddie Murphy is a living legend that I have admired and laughed with since SNL and “Delirious”. He is a comedic and storytelling genius. A native New Yorker, Brooklyn born and bred, he was my school girl crush when the rest of my peers were pining over Prince and Michael Jackson. Now don’t get me wrong I loved Prince, but Murphy was who I wanted to bring home to Momma. 😝 I can’t wait to share both movies with my family and friends. To see Shari Headley looking amazing 30 years later. Who else will return? Whose been added to the cast? It’s going to be epic!

Now, let’s check out the trailer: Coming 2 America trailer

One of the things that makes this movie so special is the new generation of actors who star in the film, including Murphy’s daughter Bella Murphy. She auditioned like every other actor and worked hard to get the part. This was not just handed to her. What an awesome opportunity to work with her Dad and some of the greatest actors of our time.

Jermaine Fowler, Kiki Layne and Teyana Taylor are also featured, and they will not disappoint. Of course many of the Black actors that we have come to know and love will return for this latest edition to Murphy’s portfolio.

No matter what, this film is getting lots of buzz. This film enthusiast is excited that Murphy has given us a look into their lives 30 years later. Eddie Murphy is Black History! I would have been remiss to not include this living legend in my Black History Month series!

#hollywoodroyalty #blackroyalty #coming2america #EddieMurphy #BellaMurphy #legends

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

Students speaking with their professor on
Fisk campus

Today, as part of our Black History Month celebration, my daughter presented and took our church on a field trip to Fisk University. She is a freshman at the acclaimed historically Black college and university (HBCU). While she taught us how Fisk was originally sustained by its students traveling to perform and sending the fees assessed back to the college, I was reminded of just how resilient our people are.

Founded in 1866, shortly after the end of the Civil War, Fisk University is a historically black university, and is the oldest institution of higher learning in Nashville, TN. Fisk is also the first HBCU to be accredited as a institution of higher learning. Fisk has a long and proud history which is evidenced in the work of its students and alumnae through today. Fisk’s outstanding faculty and students continue to enhance the university’s national reputation for academic excellence, which is validated yearly. Fisk touts a large percentage of alumni who complete graduate or professional degrees and become leaders and scholars in their fields.

Dr. Vann R. Newkirk, Sr

Under new leadership, Fisk University is led by Dr. Vann R. Newkirk, Sr. He was named Interim President in August 2020. Since 2018, Dr. Newkirk has served as Fisk’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He has an extensive leadership record with proven evidence of effectiveness on many levels. Dr. Newkirk is a noted historian and author with extensive administrative experience. He attended North Carolina A&T State University, and holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology from Barber-Scotia College; a Master of Arts degree in History from Winthrop University; a Master of Science degree in Library Science from North Carolina Central University; and the Doctor of Philosophy in History from Howard University. Fisk will benefit from his experience and passion to promote higher education.

Like 36 other HBCUs, Fisk has partnered with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to continue us to promote and support education in our community.

Dr. Frederick Douglas Patterson

founded the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) in 1944. Today, UNCF is the nation’s largest minority education organization, awarding more than $100 million a year in scholarships to more than 10,000 students. Patterson also served as President of what is now Tuskegee University, and was an early champion of making higher education accessible to African American students.

I encourage you to learn more about HBCUs by clicking this link to the UNCF website.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is a billionaire media executive, actress, talk show host, television producer, and philanthropist and is best known for hosting her own internationally popular talk show, which was among the most popular of the genre. From there she launched her own television network, OWN. She became one of the richest and most influential women in the United States.

Oprah Winfrey graduated in 1987 from Tennessee State University where she majored in Speech Communications and Performing Arts. Yes, Oprah attended an HBCU and she is one of the many successful graduates of HBCUs. Among many of her inspirational sayings, Oprah Winfrey has famously said, “Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.”

When Oprah worked in Baltimore, I met her twice as a child. Once when our class went to the local television station and once at a local restaurant in East Baltimore that she used to frequent with friends. In both of those meetings, Ms. Winfrey was gracious to me as a you g Black girl. I remember her smile and her warmth. I thank God for her example.

She is a beautiful Black woman who looks like me and broke glass ceilings changing the way people see Black women and women of color. In the coming weeks, she will be the first report to interview the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Meghan and Prince Harry).

She is Black History, living history and continues to break barriers, create pathways and challenge us as women to do more and change the world.

Thank you Ms. Winfrey. I salute you!

Muhammad Ali: The Greatest

This one is so personal to me. I grew up adoring Muhammad Ali. My stepfather used to take me to the fights and to wrestling matches. I was somewhat of a Tom boy. Actually, I was a Tom boy! I loved going with him. He always took me in the back to meet the fighters and wrestlers. I just thought when you went to an event, that’s what you were supposed to do. I had no idea of my privilege at such a young age.

We lived in Maryland so I’ve met and even had dinner with Sugar Ray Leonard. I had no idea how Wayne knew all these people so personally. It was just part of my life as a child. The one person with whom I never got to meet was Muhammad Ali.

He was however the one person I always wanted to meet. Every time he took me to a fight or went without me because it was just the “grown-ups,” I always asked about Muhammad Ali. If he knew Sugar Ray and Andre the Giant, he had to know Muhammad Ali. I still think that he did, but we never had the opportunity to meet.

As we take this journey in Black History each week, I share people I know, people whose stories are so inspiring to me and people who are living history. But as we prepare for the weekend of love, I must share my love for Muhammad Ali. (I almost became a Muslim following his life and work, but I love the Lord and could not make that change!)

People know when he was born, when he died and how his life change not just Black America but American society as a whole. People know that he was mentored He is American history as all Black History is American history.

Muhammad Ali is one of the most prolific, charismatic and outspoken leaders of the 20th century. He and his friends were devoted to equality, success and family. It is what brought them together. It was one of their common denominators. It may have brought them together.

I encourage you to learn more about Muhammad Ali. I encourage you to learn about his life, his friends, and his journey. Learning more of their time, their stories and their accomplishments teaches where we’ve come but more importantly, where we plan to go.