By: Tracy Hudson, Metro Editor-in-Chief
Who is an African American You Hold in High Regards and Respect and Why?
Tyra Lardell — Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson is an African American woman that I hold to a high regard and respect. Katherine was a physicist and mathematician who worked for NASA in 1953 to 1986. I respect Katherine because not only was she an African American woman but she was the only person out of a group of many who could write precise math calculating the trajectories for space flight launch and return, launch windows, and emergency back-up return paths for many flights from project Mercury, including the early NASA missions of John Glenn and Alan Shepard, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon through the space shuttle program. Kathrine accomplished all these phenomenal historic changing events while being a mother of three and a wonderful wife.
Lisanetta McDade — Michelle Obama is the epitome of resilience and grace. Mrs. Obama, gives hope and a voice to individuals that the world seems to forget. “People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.” She doesn’t just talk the talk she puts her words to action. She lifts others up as she advocates for women’s rights and empowerment, she uses her celebrity to shine a spotlight on the contributions of our servicemen and women. She advocates the importance of higher education and equality for every citizen despite their differences. Her “Let’s Move” campaign promotes healthy and active lifestyles to enhance personal health. She’s made these contributions despite being a mother and wife during two historical presidencies. Mrs. Obama reminded everyone the importance of “going high, when others go low.” Despite the disrespect and personal attacks on her family and her husband’s presidency, she has risen to the occasion time and time again with class and grace. She’s definitely inspired a nation the importance temperament and civility despite your opposition.
Heidi Hubbard — The African American who has inspired me throughout my life is Marguerite Ann Johnson who is known by most as Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou had never ending strength she conquered many trails throughout her life with a grace that one can only hope to obtain in their lifetime. Maya Angelou was a trailblazer for equality in sex, race, and social diversity from a young age. After she gave birth to her son, Maya became the first African American cable car conductor in San Francisco, California. This was no easy feat, not only because of her race but also because she was a female. Maya Angelou took part in the Civil Rights movement. She was close friends with both Malcom X, who she met during her stay in Africa, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At the request of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., she served as Northern Coordinator for The Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She was also the first African American woman to write a screenplay, compose the score, and subsequently be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for the film, “Georgia, Georgia.” She served on two presidential committees, and was awarded the 2000 Presidential Medal of Arts and the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honor a civilian can receive.
Maya Angelou, was also a philanthropist, creating and taking part in many projects for the betterment of the human race. See Forever Foundation and The Maya Angelou Public Charter School combine to support children ages fourteen to twenty-four with traditional high school and GED classes. Maya Angelou created the International Women’s Health Summit that led to the creation of the Maya Angelou Community Health Center. She also served as an honorary board member for the Legacy of Hope Foundation, whose purpose is to provide medical care and facilities for underprivileged children and their communities throughout the world. This Foundation built the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, located in Johannesburg, South Africa. She toured Europe as an actress with a production of “Porgy and Bess.” She was the editor of “The Arab Observer” while living in Egypt. She taught at the University of Ghana’s School of Music and Drama. While living overseas, Maya Angelou became fluent in French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and the West African language of Fanti. With Maya Angelou’s life experiences, it is no surprise she was given the title of Doctor Angelou and was a Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University. She published over thirty written works.
A black woman born in a time of extreme racial inequality achieving all these remarkable feats she felt her son was truly her greatest accomplishment. MAYA ANGELOU MAKES ME VERY PROUD TO SAY “I AM AN AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN”!