Tag: black history month

Monday’s Muse—Ameena Matthews

Hola peeps!  I hope that your V-Day weekend was filled with lots of love!  We are continuing to honor Black History month with our Monday’s Muse so we are showing respect to Ameena Matthews today.  If you aren’t familiar with her then don’t be ashamed because until Black Girls Rock 2013 I was in the dark as well.  However I am here to share and shed some light on this spectacular woman.

Mrs. Matthews is a community activist that focuses on peace building and social change; her start was in Chicago but quickly evolved and now she is internationally known.  She can be seen on several talk shows voicing her opinion on gang violence and in the 2011 documentary film ‘The Interrupters’Go here to watch the clip of the powerful speech she gave on Black Girls Rock 2013.  She is a truly pioneer of present and future black history!


Monday’s Muse—Zelda Wynn Valdes

Hola peeps!  We continue to celebrate Black History Month with today’s muse—Zelda Wynn Valdes.  She was a famed fashion designer and costumer.  In 1948 she opened a shop on Broadway (NYC) which was the first in the area to be black owned.  She designed gowns for Dorothy Dandridge, created the first Playboy Costumes and dressed the Dance Theatre of Harlem; that is only a tip of the iceberg of Valdes’ clients.

Here Ms. Valdes is fitting Dorothy Dandridge.

zelda barbour wynn valdes

Zelda Wynn Valdes

This was her life’s work and she loved every minute of it up to her death at the age of 96 in 2001.  What a great legacy she left behind!  Don’t you agree?


Monday’s Muse—Black History Month Tribute to Mary Jane Patterson

Hola!  I hope that you had a great weekend.  Today’s muse—Mary Jane Patterson is a less recognized pioneer in Black History.  An innovator of education, she paved the way for several black female educators.  Born on September 12, 1840 in Raleigh, NC unto a large family; her father (Henry Patterson) was a bricklayer that acquired his freedom in 1852.  At that time he packed up and moved his family to Oberlin, Ohio.  Always interested in learning Mary Jane soared in her studies and attended Oberlin College.  In 1862 she graduated and became the first African-American woman to receive her B. A. degree.

Mary Jane Patterson, 1862 (Oberlin College Archives)

Upon graduation to moved to Philadelphia where she was a teacher’s assistant at the Institute for Colored Youth.  From 1869-1871 she taught at Preparatory High School for Colored Youth (later named Dunbar High School) in Washington, D. C.  She was promoted and became the first black principal of the school from 1871-1872.

Unfortunately for a quick year’s stint she was demoted to assistant principal to work under Richard T. Green, the first African American graduate of Harvard University.  However later she resumed her principal duties until her resignation in 1884.  Ms. Patterson also supported and participated in several clubs(Colored Women’s League of Washington D.C.) in the city as well.  She continued her humanitarian work until she died which was on September 24, 1894 at the age of 54.

The only thing that I can say is thank you Mary Jane Patterson for being an inspiration to us all.