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his second edition of Who’s Who In Black Washington, D.C.® is a continuation of a dream to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of African Americans and the large Washington, D.C., community that appreciates and values all we do to make the District of Columbia great. This edition is a continuation of a great story about men and women who came before us, worked hard and made sacrifices so that we would be able to pass on greater opportunities for success to the next generation. Washington, D.C. has a strong history of people working together and supporting each other for the betterment of our community.
Our community, like many others, endured the impact of a downturned economy and many social ills that people face, but we continue to come together each day to improve the quality of life in Washington, D.C. This edition is a celebration of opportunities, personal triumphs and victories of each person included in it. The second edition of Who’s Who In Black Washington, D.C.® will be a continuation of the celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Dorothy I. Height, who wrote the foreword for the 2009 inaugural edition.
Dr. Height’s legacy of giving and providing leadership for the betterment of human kind is one that must be passed on. Her focus on education and service provided a strong foundation to help prepare African-American women for positions at the table in leadership roles. Not only would their voices be heard, but the impact of their service would change policies and the quality of life in our communities. In celebrating our achievements, we now have a great opportunity to be strong role models for our young brothers and sisters. That old saying “Each one teach one” still holds true today.
Our young folks will “Be what they can see,” so it is our responsibility to work with our young folks to make sure that high school and college graduation rates increase, crime rates in our communities are reduced, the impact of HIV/AIDS is confronted, and that we teach our young people the importance of being responsible and respectful. I want to thank Alexis Herman, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, for her valued support and agreeing to pen the foreword for this edition.
To Hiram Jackson, chief executive officer of Real Times Media, Cassandra Bozeman, chief operations officer, Ernie Sullivan, executive vice president, and John Glover and Dianna E. Waters, account executives, and the entire staff at Who’s Who, a special thank you for your leadership and support to make this edition a success.
I must also thank our sponsors and advertisers for their ongoing support and faith in the team at Who’s Who Publishing Company. We truly value you for your commitment to diversity and inclusion, and the betterment for all citizens in our great city. Thank you! I was blessed to have a strong, God loving mother, Jessie Lee Womack, who worked hard and raised ten children in Greenville, Alabama. My mother taught us the values of giving and being of service. I had in my life, my own Dr. Height, before I heard her name or had the opportunity to meet her in the early 90s.
As we celebrate Dr. Height’s life and legacy in this edition, we also celebrate the life of all the strong, hard working, loving and giving African-American women who have made a positive impact on our lives and changed the lives of so many. Please enjoy this second edition of Who’s Who In Black Washington, D.C.®. Share it with others, for truly, the story continues… Sincerely, Carter D. Womack
Celebrate, Inspire, Educate
I would like to thank everyone who participated in this sixth edition of Who’s Who In Black Detroit®. I appreciate those who took the time to speak with us about their careers and accomplishments. I truly believe that we should all share our personal and professional journeys and let them serve as an inspiration to others.
Who’s Who provides a unique opportunity to learn about the success we have attained as a people and shows the diversity and unlimited possibilities for success. Who’s Who celebrates African-American achievement, while showcasing our contributions to society. Our stories go a long way to inspire young professionals to reach for new heights and to take advantage of any opportunity for higher education.
I am personally committed to telling our stories to young people, specifically grade school students. It is important for them to be able to see successful people so that the seeds of success can be sown in our youth. When children know that people from their communities that look like them can be, and have been successful it shows them all of the possibilities that exist for them. This year, we are paying special tribute to 100 Black presidents and CEOs.
One hundred African-American men and women who manage thousands of employees and billions of dollars that contribute enormously to southeastern Michigan’s economic viability. We are also recognizing our spiritual leaders who stand in the gaps in our community by engaging in business beyond the church. On behalf of their parishioners, they own golf courses, operate community development coalitions, build housing complexes, educate children and continuously participate in the building and uplifting of our communities.
Lastly, I want to welcome Don Williams to the Who’s Who family of publishers. Don hails from Grand Rapids and in this edition of Who’s Who, we feature a special tribute to Who’s Who In Black Grand Rapids®. Once again, it has been my pleasure to serve as associate publisher of Who’s Who In Black Detroit®. There’s a lot to experience in this year’s publication, but more importantly I urge our community to always celebrate, inspire and educate so that we can achieve even more.
Cathy Nedd Cathy Nedd BLACK DETROIT 21 ®
Catrena brings over fifteen years of award winning hospitality experience to Birmingham. She was the former Director of Sales & Marketing for the Historic Redmont Hotel. She worked in management at the Tutwiler Hotel for 10 years in a variety of sales and customer service roles. In 2001 she was Manager of the Quarter for three consecutive quarters! She received National recognition from Wyndham International as the “Best of By Request” Winner for 2002, before receiving The Restaurant & Hospitality Association’s prestigious “Hospitality Professional” of the Year for the State of Alabama in 2003.
Catrena Norris Carter is the President and CEO of Women Of Will (WOW) Wow is a statewide, nonpartisan, 501 (c) (3) organization working to advance a richly diverse, critical mass of women into leadership positions at work, in the community and in politics. WOW envisions recruiting more women for leadership positions at all levels of government; from the board rooms to the court rooms! WOW seeks to propel women to political appointments as well as elected positions and will strive to provide opportunities for women to participate in non-traditional roles/careers. WOW brings together women who presently are in the political arena with women who potentially have futures in public service and will host quarterly, interactive “Women Will Win” Workshops designed to provide participants with the nuts and bolts of running for political office by focusing on the areas of Communications, Fundraising, Campaigning and the unique barriers that women face.
Catrena is also Managing Partner at C & C Events!
Hayes: Associate Publisher
June 25, 2010, will still go down in history as a memorable day in Mississippi when we unveiled our Inaugural Edition of Who’s Who in Black Mississippi. That, indeed, was a proud day for all of us. June 23, 2012, two years later, we are now unveiling our second edition. We have two volumes of African-American leaders who help to make Mississippi a great place to live. Congratulations to you, Black Mississippi!
We certainly thank God for His guidance, grace, and His goodness to see these volumes become a reality. Yes, this Historic publication pays tribute to Black elected and appointed officials across our state. We are proud to boast of having the largest number of Black elected and appointed officials of any state in our nation. We are delighted to have special sections for our Black Legislators, our Black Mayors and many of our Black Judges and other officials. This is, indeed, a start in documenting who we are in our state. I am also delighted that we are honoring our military: The Mississippi National Guard. We have so many of our talented men and women who are serving us at home and abroad.
We thank you for your outstanding service. And, of course there are other influential African-Americans from various professions who are honored in this edition. Sincere appreciation is extended to Congressman Bennie Thompson for agreeing, early on, to write the foreword. When we asked him to be our foreword writer, he did not hesitate to answer ’yes’. We thank you Congressman Thompson for not only agreeing to join us in this edition but for your continued great service to the 2nd Congressional District, our entire state and indeed the nation. We are also appreciative of Mayor Johnny DuPree for writing our introduction. He, too, did not hesitate to agree to be a part of this edition.
Congratulations on being the first African American to be elected as the Democratic nominee for governor for the state of Mississippi. Congratulations to all of our Interesting Personalities who have given so much of their time, talents and resources to be outstanding leaders in our state. We know when our children look through this publication; they will know that they can become anything they want to be because they see you and your success. We are delighted to honor you! Thank you to the many members of our host committee who assisted us in getting photos , biographies , letters, contributions and the many other pieces it took to get this publication completed. Our appreciation goes to Karla McCullough, Roslyn Knox- Lockett, Yolanda McElroy, Lori Jackson Stewart and Geilia Taylor.
We appreciate our writers: Byron D’Andra Orey, Othor Cain, Pam Berry and Don Thomas. Jay Johnson, our photographer, always does an outstanding job. Please help me give a standing ovation to our sponsors who supported this edition. Thank you for your commitment to diversity in our state and to ensuring that our stories are told and documented. Real Times Media President, Mr. Hiram Jackson, and the Who’s Who Publishing staff, we appreciate your dedication to documenting who we are across the country. Tamara Allen and Carter Womack make a great team to get our books published and in the hands of people everywhere. Now that we have had the unveiling and we all begin to turn the pages through this historic document, I hope all of us will purchase a book and put it in the hands of our children or place it in schools or libraries so that our young people will have a chance to see who we are in Mississippi. They will look through these pages and know that they can be a judge, an elected official, a president of a university, an entrepreneur, an attorney, a general in the military, a healthcare professional or for sure, a great community leader. And they can be any one of these leaders, right here in their own state: Mississippi.
Juanita Sims Doty
Veteran communications professional Keith Antone Willis Sr. joined the Who’s Who Publishing team to tell the story about the St. Louis African-American leadership. With his current focus and background in youth development, Willis has the heart to show the next generation of leaders what they can accomplish using the Who’s Who In Black St. Louis® publications.
Willis formerly served Mentor St. Louis as executive director. Mentor St. Louis is the largest volunteer organization working in the St. Louis Public School District to provide literacy-based mentoring sessions. The nonprofit organization currently offers mentoring at eight elementary schools to 700 students in the most challenged neighborhoods of St. Louis. More than 600 trained volunteers devote their time and energy to enhancing the lives of students academically and personally.
Previously, Willis blended his roles as principal and division manager for a charter high school in East St. Louis with that of associate publisher for Who’s Who In Black St. Louis® to show students the diverse role models right in their own community. He also served for 12 years as executive director of St. Paul Saturdays, a manhood leadership and development organization. Additionally, he and wife Ericca are partners in EKAW, Incorporated, an educational consulting and motivational speaking firm, which they began in 1992.
A family man with three daughters and two sons, Willis is dedicated to the St. Louis community. He has served on the boards of numerous community organizations, including the Community Women Against Hardship advisory board, The Salvation Army Hope Center, the Life Crises Services board of directors, the Governor’s 21st Century Youth and Development Task Force and the Governor’s Task Force on African American Males. He was also a member of 100 Black Men, the Frank J. Brown Lodge #80 and the local NAACP. Currently, Willis is on the board of NOPCAS (National Organization of People of Color Against Suicide) and the St. Louis Marriage Coalition. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. since 1979, he volunteers for the United Way Charmaine Chapman Leadership Circle.
Willis is the recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year award by the Lone Star Times, the Sons of Thunder award from the Fifth Episcopal District AME Church, the Role Model of the Year from the Stormin Stufflin School, and the Legacy Award from the Bertha Black Rhoda Section of the National Council of Negro Women. He has also received the Focus St. Louis What’s Right with the Region award and the 2001 Mental Health Board Advocacy Award for his work in the area of suicide prevention.
Willis is an alumnus of Saint Louis University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in organizational studies and a minor in psychology. He also attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he majored in communications.
Merry Green is the little engine that could – always driving ideas, soliciting sponsors, developing new angles and generating results that keep both consumers and sponsors coming back for more.
Fifteen years ago, Green founded Merry Green Promotions Group, now MGPG Events, Inc., a full-service communications firm specializing in event planning and production, community outreach and public relations. As president/CEO, she has guided her team of professionals in the staging of some of Chicago’s most celebrated and well-attended events targeting the African-American consumer market for the past fifteen years.
Before the inception of MGPG Events, Inc., Ms. Green worked in both television and radio.. In 1982, she became the first African American Assistant Program Director for the ABC-network affiliate in Rochester, New York, WOKR-TV, before coming to Chicago where she joined NBC 5 as Administrator of Community Programs producing local community affairs specials. Ms. Green received several local Emmy nominations for her outstanding documentaries on Chicago neighborhoods.
During the last century when there were open borders and we needed many strong backs to farm our lands, build our railroads, and work our mills, our ancestors came to fill the need and contribute to this country’s growth. Even today there are examples of immigrants who are making a major contribution to our society.
Millions of our immigrant ancestors, who have been here for several years, raised families, and contributed to their communities, have shaped the United States and have imagined their children’s success. Their dreams for their children start with their observations: a child’s interest in cars provides us with a vision of a future engineer; viewing a girl’s drawings in a notebook or a dance performance leads to the proclamation, “my daughter the artist!” and with witnessing a son nurture a bird that has fallen out it’s nest back to health, we see a future veterinarian.
This edition is a continuation of the great story about the men and women who came before us, worked hard and made sacrifices so that we would be able to pass on greater opportunities for success to the next generation. There continues to be an increased number of thriving Latinos, from entrepreneurs to politicians, doctors to lawyers, educators to civic leaders, and clergy to athletes.
This fourth edition of Who’s Who In Latino Columbus® – “Keeping Traditions” highlights the pride and joy our ancestors have instilled in us from foods such as, arroz con pollo, tortillas and lechón to dances like cumbias and salsa. The people featured in this edition have prevailed despite tremendous obstacles.
You will also note how our community is giving back as stated by our foreword writer, Henry Guzman, by providing life-saving blood to all Americans during Hispanic Heritage Month. We add value to the history of Columbus with these encouraging stories that we can share with future generations. Those of us who have lived as I’ve always lived: “do a job so well that when you’re not present there is no question as to who did it,” will give future generations the opportunity and ability to stand out in their fields, earn our support, and become productive citizens.
This book is dedicated to the next generation of Rodriguez’s, Alcaldes, Guzmans, Arriagas, Williams, and Reyes. Our nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children, and especially my nieces Mayte and Esperanza, will be proud of their Latino heritage. Please share this book and these stories to help them and realize there are so many opportunities that exist. So when my Godsons, Antonio and Trevon, along with their brothers, Eric and Justin, believe that with hard work, a good education, determination, God, and family that all is achievable, we’ve done our job. If you ever need to remember or learn who you are there is no need to look too far. Look for it in your parents, grandparents, and in books like this.
Let’s continue to make Columbus one of the best places to live, work and raise a family.
Con todo mi cariño,
Ramona R. Reyes
First and foremost, I must pay homage to the late Pamela Hutchinson for her incredible contribution to the inaugural edition of Who’s Who In Black South Florida®. She established a great benchmark for showcasing our talent in the many communities that make up South Florida, and set the stage for the second edition to celebrate the diverse groups of people representing the African Diaspora who live, work and play here. We are a truly unique community comprised of African Americans, Africans, black Caribbeans and black Hispanics. T
he vision for the second edition was to capture the essence of our community, not only to reflect its diversity and beauty, but also to acknowledge how we contribute to the economic viability of South Florida. We are corporate professionals, entrepreneurs, entertainers and small business owners who help sustain Miami, the “Magic City,” Ft. Lauderdale and the Palm Beaches as a destination for people from all walks of life year round. The individuals in this publication represent a multigenerational collection of Floridians who have made a difference in their professions, communities and organizations in which they give their time, talent and treasures.
They have defined success on their terms and are role models who help educate our youth on the opportunities available here in South Florida and the many possibilities that exist for their future. In addition, they are examples of people who have overcome obstacles and adversities in their lives to pursue their dreams and passions. They are pioneers who have paved the way for others to succeed. And, they are hidden gems who sometimes go uncelebrated but are an integral part of the fabric of our community. There are also many people, through this publication, who have helped me discover all of the great and wonderful things about South Florida and why I am proud to call it my home.
I’d like to thank them for providing the support, direction and connections in order to bring the vision to life for the second edition of Who’s Who In Black South Florida®. I also extend my gratitude to the Who’s Who and Real Times Media family for the experience and the opportunity to be a part of this amazing publication!
Rhonda M. Smith
Associate Publisher for its Who’s Who In Black Indianapolis® publication since 2003, Sherma Wise-Thomas is the CEO of the Media Wise Communications Group, a multi-faceted organization engaged in a variety of media related ventures. A broadcast journalist by training and profession, this Chicago native has worked as an on-air reporter and anchor for a number of media organizations including WTLC Radio, WKYT-TV (CBS) in Lexington, Kentucky, WPDS-TV, and WFYI-TV (PBS).
She has produced a number of television projects and special events. Nationally, she has been the executive producer of the National Association of Black Journalists' annual award shows. Additionally, Wise created, produced and co-hosted a television show starring NBA star Reggie Miller.
Her community service distinctions include being the founder of the Lexington, Kentucky chapter of the Coalition of 100 Black Women and being named a "Kentucky Colonel," the highest civilian honor that can be bestowed by the governor. She is Vice-President Elect of the Junior League of Indianapolis and is married to Indianapolis attorney Gregory L. Thomas.
Sometimes in April, I think about Lee’s surrender to General Grant on April 9, 1865, and five days later, President Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865 and Jackie Robinson’s 1947 entry into major league baseball. Who among us will forget April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s senseless loss.
All played an integral part of our nation’s and African-American history and future. This year, as we celebrate 150 years of the Emancipation Proclamation dated January 1, 1863, reflection is crucial to knowing our history. Due to the unwavering sacrifices of those before us, we can build from those milestones and celebrate the current progress in our community through Who’s Who In Black Houston®.
There was a time when it was illegal to for us to read and now we publish books across the nation to display the absolute best that we have to offer. We need to connect the dots with our past, present and future. As I closeout my tenure as the Houston Publisher, “Connecting the Dots” will be my final avowal. We have a strong base in our city and just like our history; we must appreciate how it unites us.
We start with our churches; they have always been a solid foundation. We are surrounded by educational institutions that enhance our knowledge, readiness and preparation for the future. Our corporations and businesses provide economic growth and stability. Home to the largest medical center in the world, our physicians promote and aid in healthy lifestyles. The lawyers provide guidance to navigate through legal affairs. Policy for better living and equal access is driven through our politicians.
Our culture defines us as we celebrate through the arts. If we connect all of these dots, we have a complete representation of a progressive 176-year-old multicultural Mecca that we call home, Houston. Sometimes in April, I think how blissful I am to see the continuous advancement from 1776 – 2013, in our nation, state and city. Who’s Who In Black Houston® unveils in the month of April. I am proud to have published the fifth, sixth and seventh editions. However, with the help of James Harris, Dr. Annette Cluff and Omar Reid , I am most proud of the efforts to have shared the book and its contents with over 3,000 local children.
This book is still very relevant to our community; there are more stories to unearth and new accomplishments that can positively stimulate and impact our kid’s way of thinking toward their future endeavors. There simply isn’t a better tool documenting our current African-American history in this city.
Finally, this year’s book is dedicated to my seven siblings David Harris Jr.(deceased), Norma Moore, John D. Jones, Sherman L. Harris, Paul K. Harris, William D. Harris and Julia Harris-Busby. To my first coaches, critics, built in debate team and sounding boards, thank you for keeping me grounded and always being there every day of my life.
Vernita B. Harris
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