Fannie Rosalind Givens!
In the early 1920s Fannie Rosalind Givens and her namesake daughter Fannie Rosalind Givens travelled as missionaries to Europe and Africa. The elder Fannie was a notable portrait artist who would join Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and become one of the earliest black women to work for the police department in Louisville, Kentucky. The younger Fannie would pursue a career as a teacher, and join a sorority founded by a group of black teachers at Butler University in Indiana, Sigma Gamma Rho.
One of the most intriguing discoveries that I made while writing Finer Women was that Mary McLeod Bethune was at one time affiliated with Zeta Phi Beta. As a graduate of Bethune-Cookman College—the institution she founded in 1904 in Daytona Beach, Florida—and as one who formerly gave tours at the Bethune Council House in Washington DC where I interned in 1998, I was well-versed in Bethune-facts. One of those unquestionable facts was that Mary McLeod Bethune was an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, inducted in 1923 at its 5th national convention.
I’m still in a Chicago frame of mind, and I’m not quite sure when I’ll snap out of it. One of the Chicago-Zeta topics that I keep getting stuck on was how executives of two of the biggest black beauty empires—Poro College and the Madam C. J. Walker Company—could be members of the same sorority and live in the same city. Continue reading
Last week we celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. and his impact on the civil rights movement in America. Twenty-four years before he delivered his stirring “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Marian Anderson sang “America the Beautiful.” Before a crowd of 75,000 on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, Anderson sang her heart out and in so doing, secured a place in history books as one of the most significant watershed moments in the fight for civil rights. The 1939 Lincoln Memorial Concert was not just seminal moment in Marian Anderson’s career and the civil rights moment, it was a shining moment in the career of Lulu Vere Childers. Continue reading