Toni Morrison, Towering Novelist of the Black Experience, Dies at 88

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Toni Morrison recieves medal of freedom award

Toni Morrison, the Nobel laureate in literature whose best-selling work explored black identity in America — and in particular the often crushing experience of black women — through luminous, incantatory prose resembling that of no other writer in English, died on Monday in the Bronx. She was 88.

Her death, at Montefiore Medical Center, was announced by her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf. A spokeswoman said the cause was complications of pneumonia. Ms. Morrison lived in Grand View-on-Hudson, N.Y.

The first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1993, Ms. Morrison was the author of 11 novels as well as children’s books and essay collections. Among them were celebrated works like “Song of Solomon,” which received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977, and “Beloved,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.

Ms. Morrison was one of the rare American authors whose books were both critical and commercial successes. Her novels appeared regularly on the New York Times best-seller list, were featured multiple times on Oprah Winfrey’s television book club and were the subject of myriad critical studies. A longtime faculty member at Princeton, Ms. Morrison lectured widely and was seen often on television.

Continue on to the New York Times to read the complete article.

Resumes that work!

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group of candidates ditting in chairs outside hiring managers office

If you are looking for a job, writing a resume is one of the first steps you need to take. The goal of a resume is to get you in the door with prospective employers. And, you have about 30 seconds to grab the reader’s attention.

As the former Manager of Staffing for a Fortune 500 company, certified career counselor, and board member of several nonprofit organizations, I have reviewed thousands of resumes. Based upon my experience, here are 10 tricks of the trade for writing a winning resume.

1. Include an objective statement at the top of your resume which states your employment goal, types of organizations you have experience working for, and several strengths. The reason for including an objective statement is to immediately let the reader know that you are a fit for the job. Here is one example of an attention-grabbing objective statement:
Results-oriented sales executive with 15 years experience in the oil and chemical industry. Strengths include managing amidst economic uncertainty, building diverse teams, and increasing profitability.

2. Tell not only what you did but how well you did it. By demonstrating your contributions in quantifiable terms, you separate yourself from the pack. For example: “Created a new sales program which resulted in a 25 percent in sales annually for three consecutive years” is more impressive than “responsible for creating a new sales program.”

3. Use action verbs like analyzed, created, developed, initiated, led, or researched. Imagine someone reading your resume quickly and think about the impression the words you choose will have on him or her.

4. You can add information about your education, accomplishments, special knowledge, or honors at the beginning or end of the resume. If it is recent or impressive, place it at the beginning; otherwise, it goes at the end of the resume.

5. Include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address so that an employer can get in touch with you easily.

6. Put your name and page number on each page (in case pages get misplaced or out of order). Try to limit your resume to no more than two pages.

7. Make sure your resume is spell-checked and that there are no grammatical errors.

8. Do not include a photograph or personal information. Emphasize your credentials, experience and accomplishments.

9. Be honest about dates of employment and job titles. If you falsify information and are found out, you could be eliminated from consideration or fired.

10. Get feedback from several sources about how attractive and easy-to-read your resume is before you send it out. Writing a terrific resume is worth the time invested. It could be your passport to a new job.

Reprinted with permission: The Lindenberger Group, LLC.

Charles Barkley donates $1 million to Miles College, an HBCU in his native Alabama

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76rs great Charles Barkley speaks at a podium

Over the course of his philanthropic efforts, Charles Barkley has made injecting cash into Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) a priority.

Recently, Miles College — an HBCU located in Fairfield, Alabama — announced a $1 million gift from Barkley, the largest donation by a donor in the school’s 122-year history.

Barkley has previously donated $1 million to a trio of HBCUs: Clark Atlanta, Morehouse College and Alabama A&M. His most recent donation will jumpstart a $100 million fundraising campaign, interim school president Bobbie Knight said.

“What Barkley has done helps lay the foundation for the campaign,” Knight said.

Knight became the school’s first female president last July, and making sure her tenure includes financial resources was a goal of Barkley’s.

“I’ve gotten to know Bobbie Knight over the last year and it was something I really wanted to do,” Barkley said. “To have a female president is a big deal. I want to help Bobbie be as successful as she can be.”

Continue on to USA Today to read more.

How To Calm Your Nerves Before Public Speaking At Work

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professional woman standing behind podium at work giving a speech

No other everyday office opportunity can strike terror in employees quite like public speaking. Giving a presentation can be a chance to get your voice heard, but 1 in 4 Americans fear it.

It scares more of us than snakes, hell, walking alone at night and insects, according to a 2018 survey by Chapman University.

But research shows there are ways to calm your jitters and not feel overwhelmed. Here are some that tips psychologists and experts have for the nervous public speaker:

1) Reframe those nerves as excitement.

Don’t listen to the advice of those “Keep calm and carry on” posters if you’re anxious about public speaking. Instead, try embracing your sweaty palms and racing heartbeat as signs of excitement. This reappraisal of anxiety can actually help stop nerves from overwhelming you, a 2014 Harvard Business School study found. How you think about your anxiety can change how you perform under it.

In the study, business professor Alison Wood Brooks recruited participants to sing the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin’” in front of a group. Before they belted their hearts out, they were told to say, “I am anxious,” “I am excited,” or nothing. A video game measured how well they performed. The group that declared their excitement improved their singing performance more than the “anxious” and say-nothing groups.

Similarly, in a separate experiment, participants were asked to give a short public speech after being told to say “I am calm” or “I am excited.” The “excited” group gave better speeches, independent raters judged. Brooks suggested that this works because encouraging excitement can prime you to see the task as an opportunity, whereas trying to calm down can make you see the challenge as a threat.

2) Make it about the ideas you want to share; don’t make it all about you.

Yes, being asked to speak in front of your peers can be an honor.

But don’t make the opportunity about more than it is if you’re worried about your boss’ approval or what the audience will think.

Amanda Hennessey, founder of Boston Public Speaking, has coached people for more than a decade. She advises taking the focus off of yourself and putting it instead onto the valuable information you are going to deliver. That way, the speech becomes “an exchange of ideas rather than a referendum of our self-worth,” she said.

Hennessey said public speakers in the office can focus on why the public speaking matters for their team or client and “what’s at stake for the people.”

“That brings us to that place of passion and purpose, where our bodies feel very alive,” Hennessey said.

If your mind starts to narrate a horror story about how your talk will go, Hennessey suggests a physically grounding technique to help you stay continually present. “Feel your feet on the earth and start to notice things around you, look at something on your desk that makes you happy and really look at it,” Hennessey said. “We want to get back to the present, instead of projecting about the future.”

3) Don’t obsess over each word.

If you have done the necessary preparation, don’t monitor what you are about to say right before the public speaking opportunity, advises Sian Beilock, a psychologist who authored “Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To.” Looking at famous examples of people “choking” under pressure, she found that high-achieving people can underperform when they are struck by “paralysis analysis” and try to control every part of their performance by paying too much attention to step-by-step details.

“Oftentimes, the reason that we mess up, especially something that’s well-learned or practiced, is that we start paying too much attention to the details,” Beilock said. “When you’re focusing on every step of what you’re going to say right before you go in, that can be problematic.“

Beilock says a public speaker can distract themselves with an activity that takes their mind off what they are about to do. “One way that research has found to get rid of that monitoring is to focus on something at a higher level,” Beilock said. “In golf, they talk about one swing thought, or a mantra that encapsulates the entire putting stroke. When you’re speaking and you’re trying to get the point across, think about the three points you want to get across. What are the three goals?”

With those in mind, when you do open your mouth, you can focus on the outcome of what you’re trying to say rather than “every word coming out of your mouth,” Beilock said.

Hennessey suggests carrying positive self-affirmations that speak to you, such as “I got this,” “I release the need to prove my worth,” “I am excited to share what I care about,” or “I am enough.”

Continue on to HuffingtonPost to read the complete article.

The BEYA STEM Conference is coming to Washington, D.C.

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group of people arriving at diversity hiring fair

Each year, the BEYA STEM Conference brings professionals and students together for three days to share their experiences and career information.

This year’s event will be held in Washington, D.C., February 13-15 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

Did you know that science, technology, engineering and mathematics career opportunities, referred to as “STEM” industries, are growing rapidly? Employers cannot fill job postings quickly enough, and there are a wide variety of openings for diverse candidates with the STEM skills necessary to succeed.

You can network with attendees from around the country while participating in seminars and workshops that explore every facet of STEM career paths.

The goal of the BEYA Conference is to create connections between students, educators and STEM professionals while facilitating partnerships with individuals and their local STEM resources.

Make the most of the free career fair! Plan your visit before your arrival and get the most out of your experience. Easily search exhibitors by name. You can create a list of exhibitors your must see.

Watch video from the BEYA STEM 2017 Conference:

Standard registration is by January 31, 2020. Late Registration is by February 1, 2020.

Get all the details about the three-day conference here.

American Airlines adds to executive ranks with new hire

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Ken Charles headshot

American Airlines added a new executive that will focus on diversity, the carrier recently announced. Kenneth Charles was named the chief inclusion and diversity officer for American Airlines Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL).

Charles comes to American from U.S. Bank, where he was senior vice president of Enterprise Talent. He also previously worked at General Mills as vice president of Global Inclusion and Staffing and chief diversity officer.

In his role with American, Charles will establish the company’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as the airline strives to establish best practices.

“We are on a journey to enhance our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion across American, and Ken will help chart our course to ensure American is an industry leader,” said Doug Parker, chairman and chief executive of American, in a prepared statement.

“Our decision to become more intentional in this area is vital to our global business,” Parker added. “Ken will provide a needed and important voice in all of our critical decision-making.”

Charles comes into a roll American has been aiming to fill for several months.

Continue on to BizJournal to read the complete article.

Hospitality: the Top Four Careers in Hospitality

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Female chef wearing her uniform holding fresh vegetables

Hospitality Career does not only pertain to a single job. It is mainly a field in which you can choose from a vast variety of specialties. It is a fact that learning about these different fields could be fun.

However, a person can only do much to a limited extent, which is why having a specialization is a must.

With all the possibilities in this career, there are those that top the list. So to help you out, here are the top four careers in hospitality that you may want to consider venturing into.

Hotel Staff
It is undeniable that hotels are rampant nowadays. You could see high rise hotels being built almost anywhere as long as there is a site to see or place to visit. This is true not only for the United Sates, but other countries as well. Whether it be a five-star hotel or a not so glamorous hotel, a hotel is a hotel and one thing’s for sure: they need people to work for them.

Positions in this kind of career could also vary and they are numerous too. You can be the front desk person who assigns rooms for guests or you could be the lifeguard at the pool area who watches over the kid’s pool—there are abundant numbers of hotel staff positions that you could consider. Other than the number of positions, the number of establishments you can work for is also high. There are small bed and breakfasts and there are 5-star accommodations. How high your compensation would be would depend on your job title. This factor would also decide how you will be paid; whether by hour or in a yearly basis.

Event And Meeting Planner
This position includes responsibilities of being in charge of the features regarding vital business meetings or wedding receptions held in hotels. You basically have to act out as an event planner or organizer so that your client would have a smooth program flow for their event. Also, it is part of your responsibility to take care the accommodations and amenities of a facility of site. Thus, you need to have some knowledge on contract negotiations.

For this kind of specialization, you would need to have a bachelor’s degree in a particular area, along with 2-4 years of experience in the field are necessary. The usual salary would be anything from $39,355 to $74,268.

Executive Chef
This career would generally involve managing the flow and direction of a kitchen. You would be responsible for arranging menus and tables on hotels, cruise ships, and other hot spots that tourists go to. You also keep track of inventory and try to keep costs down. You decide which supplies and food items are necessary to purchase. As time passes by, you will establish and modify the menus so that there is an increase in profits and decrease in monetary loss. You are also the one who is in charge of overseeing the overall satisfaction of your customers.

A comprehensive understanding of local food sanitation regulations and rules, along with federal state laws are vital. Generally, you should have a bachelor’s degree in a field of specialty and at least 7 years of experience for you to anything from $45,562 to $101,865.

Travel Coordinator
A travel coordinator is the one who takes control whenever companies need coordination for their travel plans. The typical responsibilities you may encounter would be scheduling flights and hotel stays, as well as assisting travelers obtain their passports, visas, and other required travel documents. The usual salary would be somewhere in between $29,879 to $53,482.

Source: ArticlesBase

How Black Girls Code transformed from basement experiment to international movement

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Kimberly Bryant stands behind a podium wearing a shirt that read Phenomenal Woman

By Halley Bondy

Throughout her biotech engineering career, Kimberly Bryant was the only black female in the room most of the time. And as Bryant rose the ranks to become manager at companies like DuPont, Phillip Morris and Genentech, she yearned for a more inclusive world for her daughter Kai.

Kai had developed a knack for gaming and coding, which is a very male, white and Asian-dominated business.

“It happened that I stumbled into this issue of diversity of inclusion and tech,” said Bryant in an interview with Know Your Value. “My daughter was about to go to middle school and was interested in tech and video gaming and gaming in general…I found that there wasn’t a strong program that would focus on girls of color and getting them prepared in the skills they’d need to move into this career field.”

Women of color earn less than 10 percent of bachelor’s degrees in computing, according to the Kapor Center. And black women make up less than 0.5 percent of leadership roles in tech. Even in women-led small tech businesses, women of color only comprise 4 percent of the workforce.

With Kai’s help, Bryant called upon colleagues at Genentech to put together a six-week coding curriculum for girls of color in 2011. She conducted the first educational series in a basement of a college prep institution in San Francisco, which was loaned to Bryant for free. Bryant expected about six students, but the class attracted about a dozen girls, including of course, Kai.

Bryant’s small community effort attracted the attention of ThoughtWorks, a global tech consultancy company. ThoughtWorks invested in Bryant in January 2012 and gave her access to space and resources across the country, as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a few years, the operation transformed from a basement experiment into a global non-profit with 15 chapters. They called themselves Black Girls Code.

The more mature chapters might boast up to 1,000 students a year, according to Bryant, who runs the organization full-time.

“I didn’t know it would be a nonprofit,” said Bryant. “This was us just trying to test the waters and make something locally where I could bring my daughter, so she could find a tribe of girls interested in the same thing, but it took off from humble beginnings.”

The Black Girls Code curriculum teaches everything from web development to robotics to Artificial Intelligence. Many of the first-year students are now in college, including Kai, who is in her sophomore year studying computer science.

Bryant wants to expand Black Girls Code into a life-long support network to help retention rates in tech.

“One of the things that I’m really excited about is building out this alumni network that we’ve grown over the last eight years,” said Bryant. “Many of the girls…are about to go to college, and they have a need for support as they continue their career and collegiate journeys.”

Bryant said she was never interested in coding — that was all her daughter. Instead, Bryant studied engineering at Vanderbilt University. She said she met only one other African American female engineering student in her four years there, and that none of her professors were even female, let alone black.

“I didn’t have any role models,” said Bryant.

Still, she excelled. Bryant was only 25 when she became a manager at DuPont in Tennessee. She said her manager there—whom she otherwise adored—jokingly introduced her to the team as a “twofer,” because she was black and a woman.

The Black Girls Code curriculum teaches everything from web development to robotics to Artificial IntelligenceCourtesy of Black Girls Code.

“I’m positive those men had never worked for a black woman as their manager,” she said. “It was a learning experience. I spent most of my career in these types of positions. There were always these implicit and explicit biases that I had to deal with as I tried to establish authority as a black woman.”

Continue on to NBC News read the complete article.

Miss Jamaica Crowned 2019 Miss World, Becomes the 5th Black Woman This Year to Win a Major Pageant

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miss jamaica miss world toni ann singh wears her sash on stage with her crown

Yet another Black woman has won a prestigious international beauty pageant. Miss Jamaica Toni-Ann Singh was recently crowned Miss World 2019 becoming the fifth Black woman this year to win a major pageant.

“To that little girl in St. Thomas, Jamaica and all the girls around the world – please believe in yourself. Please know that you are worthy and capable of achieving your dreams. This crown is not mine but yours. You have a PURPOSE,” Singh wrote on Twitter after the pageant.

Singh, who is 23-years old, was a native of St. Thomas, Jamaica. She graduated from Florida State University with a degree in psychology and women studies. She also planned to attend medical school before the pageant.

During the pageant, Singh wowed the audience with her own rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” on the talent portion and with her answers on the Q&A round.

“I think I represent something special, a generation of women that are pushing forward to change the world,” Singh answered the question of British journalist Piers Morgan.

Singh is the fourth representative from Jamaica that brought home the Miss World crown since it started in 1959. Jamaica has previously won the title in 1963, 1976, and 1993.

Singh’s win came after the historic win of Black women in most prestigious beauty pageants — 2019 Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi, 2019 Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, 2019 Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris, and 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin.

Continue on to Black News to read the complete article.

Why December is the perfect time to update your CV and LinkedIn

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woman working on her computer

It’s January and you’ve just returned to work after the Christmas break. It’s cold, bleak and the festive fun is over – and like many others, you begin to think about changing jobs.

The New Year is when employees are most likely to think about quitting and starting somewhere new, with almost one in five citing January as the most popular month to make a move, according to a survey by Glassdoor.

In fact, so many people think about moving jobs that the first Monday back at work in January has been dubbed “Massive Monday” in the world of recruitment – the day when record numbers of jobseekers apply for new positions.

So why is January so popular for job seekers – and how can you prepare yourself for applications beforehand?

The old cliché ‘‘New year, new job’ is still going strong,” says Graeme Jordan, a CV writer and interview coach. “I know from my business that I have seen an uptick in demand the past few years during the month of January. On one occasion I received a brand new enquiry on January 2nd, from someone very quick off the mark. It goes with the idea of a fresh start and ‘If not now, when?’”

In the New Year, employers may be feeling motivated and eager to attract skilled workers. With a clearer schedule at the start of the year, they may be less likely to be tied down with deadlines and projects, making them more responsive to job applications. Job seekers are also more likely to see a wave of new job roles opening up.

Many employers are also given a new budget at the start of every year which can give candidates a better chance at finding a new job and being hired. If salary is a key reason for moving jobs, you may have better luck finding a higher-paid job in January.

With all this in mind, December is a great time to polish up your CV and update your LinkedIn. Not only will you be ready to send applications to recruiters as soon as a position opens up, but it also allows you to assess your achievements, skills and career progress so far – and decide how you want to move forwards.

“Taking time in December to update your CV can be good, if you are in the mindset of reviewing how things have gone during the year, and everything is fresh in your mind prior to the significant break,” Jordan explains.

“There is something about the time of year that lends itself to a consideration of our purpose: I find Christmas break the most substantial of the year,” he adds. “Unlike the summer holidays, when you may be checking emails and are likely to be busy in the run-up and aftermath of your holiday, Christmas has a different feel. You wind down to it. Then everything stops. Fewer emails to check, because no-one else is at work either.”

And when you return to the office, work might not be as hectic as other times. This can help bring clarity of mind and give you more time to review what you want from your job.

“Whatever time of year you update your CV, there is no mystery to it,” Jordan explains. “Find out what your target audience – future employer – wants and give it to them. But give it to them credibly, and with examples. I call it the marketing approach to CV writing.”

Continue on to Yahoo news to read the complete article.

How To Ace Your Annual Review

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confident young black man

The holidays are great, but there’s one last bit of stress remaining—the annual review. While it’s a relatively strong job market, there are plenty of things that companies are concerned about. Corporate executives are worried about the ramifications of tariffs and trade wars with China, nonstop political bickering and the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming presidential elections.

There are concerns that the stock market is due for a sell-off or correction and a recession is long overdue. As an employee, you’re afraid of all of the new trends of nearshoring and offshoring jobs to lower-cost places, the cost-cutting of people with the nexus of being over 40 years of age and earning a nice income and the push for technology to take over the jobs of workers.

With these real fears in mind, you’re forced to face your boss at the end of the year to have the annual review and discuss dollars and cents.

There are many employees who are in the right job in the right sector and feel really good about this time of year. They know that they have killed it at work and exceeded all expectations. Their skills are highly sought after and it would be easy to find another job with a competitor for more money. These types of employees hold all of the best cards in their hands.

You believe that you have worked hard, did a great job and deserve a raise and bonus. It sounds simple in your head. When it’s time to actually sit across the desk from your boss, it’s not so easy. It’s an uncomfortable conversation filled with potential landmines.

Let’s start with what you should never do in your annual review. Oftentimes, employees believe that they must get a promotion, raise and large bonus for just showing up. Their attitude and demeanor are turn-offs to the manager.

Here’s what you shouldn’t say:

  • “If I don’t get the money I have asked for, I’m quitting!”
  • “Jane earns a base salary of $123,612. I’m so much better than Jane, so I should get a raise to $150,000.”
  • “I have bills, tuition payments and car payments!”
  • “I’ve been here for over 15 years!”
  • “I’ve Googled how much people with my job title earn, so you should pay me what Google says they earn too.”
  • “I’m the only one who really works around here!”
  • “I do your job for you!”
  • “I don’t care if the company is not doing well, It’s not my fault.”
  • “Well, if you don’t pay me more, I won’t work as hard.”

Here’s what you should do instead. You want to enter the manager’s office armed with indisputable data, facts and information that highlight everything you’ve accomplished over the last year. Explain what was expected of you and validate how you have met and exceeded those expectations. You need to cite your achievements, including how you have helped your boss succeed, and made sizable contributions to the company.

The key is to start working on the annual review at the beginning of the year. On a daily basis, ensure that your boss and other important decision makers recognize your Herculean efforts and accomplishments. Be careful, as you don’t want to come across too obvious about it. Otherwise, they’ll think you are just trying to curry favor and gaming the system.

Your pitch is based upon tangible results. You are not asking for any favors nor are you petulantly demanding something you don’t deserve. You are politely, but firmly, presenting your case in a calm and deliberate manner that sets forth all of the reasons and rationale as to why the company should want to pay you more money.

Try to sound confident, upbeat and enthusiastic. If you drone on with just data points, you will lose your audience. You want your boss to view you as a superstar performer who is excited to come into the office everyday and shine.

The goal is to have your manager recognize that you are a valuable and irreplaceable asset to her and the organization. She’ll understand that it’s necessary to offer you more money, a larger bonus and promotion. If she doesn’t, your manager knows that there is a risk that you’ll leave to join a competitor or lose your enthusiasm and not perform as well in the future.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

National Museum of African American History and Culture Opens New Exhibition, “We Return Fighting”

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we return fighting sign in the museum

We Return Fighting: The African American Experience in World War I” opens Friday, Dec. 13, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. On view until June 14, 2020, the exhibition examines the impact of the war on African life 100 years since it ended.

Covering nearly 100 years of history, from 1865 to 1963, the exhibition is divided into three sections: Pre-War, During the War and Post-War. “We Return Fighting” explores the full range of African American participation in the war—from serving in segregated units as laborers and supply handlers in the United States and France to earning major military awards after fighting alongside the French in Europe. The exhibition goes beyond war history to show how that global conflict changed African American life, contributing to the birth of the Negro Renaissance and the civil rights and labor movements.

“Some 17 to 21 million soldiers and civilians died in what was the worst war in modern history,” said Spencer D. Crew, interim director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. “Empires fell, maps were redrawn and the lives of countless people were forever changed. For African Americans, the war tested the meaning of citizenship and patriotism. They went to war fighting for democracy abroad; they returned fighting for democracy at home.”

African Americans returned to a segregated America where lynchings were on the rise and poor black sharecroppers were leaving the South in search of factory jobs in the North and the West. Those who were highly vocal with their protests became known as “The New Negro,” aggressively pursuing social justice and civil rights.

“On and off the battlefield, during and after the war, African

su-committee
The sub-committee of Management and Counsel of Grand United Order of Odd Fellows (1907-1908)
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Charles Hamilton Houston, J. and Dr. Rosemary Jagus

Americans were fighting for their rights and to make equality a reality,” said Krewasky A. Salter, exhibition curator. “They were asked to serve, but they were subjected to unfair draft practices and were the victims of the one of the largest and most unjust court martials in American history. After the war, the time was right for thinkers and for activists to step forward and help create a better America.”

The exhibition explores the work and the impact of nine African American luminaries who emerged as prominent thinkers and activists: A. Philip Randolph, W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Col. Charles Young, Mary Church Terrell, Lt. Charles Hamilton Houston, Oscar de Priest, Josephine Baker and Robert Abbott.

Among the exhibition highlights:

  • The Croix de Guerre, the medal France used to recognize the valor of the 369th Infantry Regiment. The unit fought with distinction on the front lines of France for 191 consecutive days and suffered more than 1,400 casualties. Each member of the unit was awarded the medal
  • Paintings, drawings and sculptures created by major African American artists, including Charles Alston, Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, Horace Pippin, Henry O. Tanner
  • A touch-screen interactive giving access to 146 soldier photographs and details of their war-time duty
  • A 1918 photograph of President Woodrow Wilson, Gen. John J. Pershing and an unidentified African American soldier, an image used as a souvenir to document and celebrate the African American participation in the war
  • Oil paintings by French artist Lucien Hector Jonas, c. 1917
  • Uniforms worn by French, Senegalese and African Americans
  • A collection of weapons ranging from pistols, rifles and sabers to items connected to the use of poisonous gas

The museum developed the exhibition in partnership with Mission du centenaire de la Première Guerre mondiale. Based in France, this organization was created to research the impact of World War I through the lens of the African American experience and to commemorate the centennial of the end of the war. The exhibition is supported by Altria Group, Nationwide Foundation and The Robert R. McCormick Foundation. Major funding comes from the Mission du centenaire de la Première Guerre mondiale.

Located inside the museum’s Special Exhibitions Gallery, “We Return Fighting” fills more than 4,000 square feet of space with never-before-seen photographs, original uniforms and weapons, historic film footage, and interactive features. Numerous unique artifacts on display are presented in this exhibition through generous cooperation of institutions in France including: Musée de la Grande Guerre, Historial de la Grande Guerre,  La Contemporaine, Bibliotéque, archives, musée des mondes contemporains, Musée de l’Armée, and Musée franco-américain du Château de Blérancourt. Additional loan of historic materials from U.S. institutions have enhanced the exhibition including, The National WWI Museum and Memorial, Women in Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, the Library of Congress and many others. The exhibition is presented with a companion book, “We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity.”

About the Companion Book

We Return Fighting: World War I and the Shaping of Modern Black Identity, Smithsonian Books, 160 pages, $19.95. Edited by Kinshasha Holman Conwill, deputy director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This book presents photographs, artifacts, medals and renderings of battle scenes alongside powerful essays that together explore the roles played by African Americans during World War I and how the wartime experience reshaped their lives and their communities once they returned home.

With a foreword by Phillippe Etienne, Ambassador of France to the United States, and an introduction by Lonnie G. Bunch III, 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian and founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture., the book contains essays by renowned writers, historians and scholars including Lisa Budreau, Brittney Cooper, John Morrow, Krewasky Salter, Curtis Young, Chad Williams and Jay Winter.

About the Curator

Krewasky A. Salter, Ph.D., U.S. Army colonel (retired), is the executive director of the First Division Museum in Wheaton, Illinois.  As a guest curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, he curated the museum’s inaugural exhibition, “Double Victory: The African American Military Experience.” He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida, a Master of Strategic Studies from the Air War University, Maxwell AFB in Alabama and a doctorate from Florida State University. He has taught courses in military history, strategy and leadership at the United States Military Academy, West Point; the Command and General Staff College, Leavenworth; and Howard University. The author of two books, he served as associate producer of the PBS documentary, Unsung Heroes: The Story of America’s Female Patriots.

About the National Museum of African American History and Culture  

Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed nearly seven million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit nmaahc.si.edu, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.

Black girl magic: 4 women are redefining beauty after reigning in major beauty pageants

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Black women beauth pageant winners seated together with their sashes on

When Zozibini Tunzi was crowned the winner of Miss Universe 2019, it wasn’t just a personal victory for the 26-year-old from South Africa — it was history in the making.

For the first time ever, four of the major beauty pageants — Miss Universe, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss America — were won by black women.

“I think it’s such a great move forward as … the world and as a society say, ‘Look, women who were in the past never had opportunities to do things like this are now here,’” Tunzi told ABC News’ Linsey Davis in an interview that aired Friday on “Good Morning America.”

In an exclusive interview with three of the four pageant winners, Tunzi, joined by Kaliegh Garris, Miss Teen USA 2019, and Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019, spoke about what it means for all of them to represent other black women and pave the way for women of color across the world.

Nia Franklin also won the Miss America pageant last year.

For decades, a moment like this was not possible. In its first 30 years, black women weren’t even allowed to compete in the Miss America pageant.

“I think there are times where I am disappointed, because people will sometimes comment on our social media,” said Kryst. “And they’ll say, ‘Why are we talking about your race? Like, you guys are just four amazing women.’ Like, yes, we’re four amazing women, but there was a time when we literally could not win.”

Continue on to Good Morning America to read the complete article.

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