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World’s 1st Black Flight Attendant – Leopoldine Smith

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Leopoldine Emma Doualla-Bell Smith

Leopoldine Emma Doualla-Bell Smith (1939 – ) is recognized as being the world’s first black flight attendant. Born in the West African country of Cameroon, Smith was a princess in the royal Douala family. At the age of 17, Smith was offered the opportunity to serve as a “ground hostess” for the Union Aeromaritime de Transport (UAT), a french airline that served France’s African air routes. Smith graduated from high school in 1956 and then went to Paris for additional ground hostess and flight education training. She began her career as a flight attendant in 1957. Smith did not know, at the time, that she was making history, becoming the first black flight attendant for any airline in the world. She began her career one year prior to Ruth Carol Taylor who is recognized as the United States’ first black flight attendant in 1958. Smith recalled that her hiring as a flight attendant was big news in her hometown and that that it was announced in the local newspaper. On her first air flight, she recalled that she was screaming and yelling, thinking she might die, while another flight attendant attempted to calm her down.

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Leslie Guy: Making Conservation & Preservation Of Black Art A Priority!

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Leslie Guy

In 1995, Leslie Guy made history when she became the first African American woman to earn a masters of science degree in art conservation. She received her degree from the University of Delaware.  Guy was concerned about the lack of representation of African American artwork in collections as well as the lack of preservation of African American works of art.  She wanted to do something about it.

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And There It Is!! President Obama Tells Us How/Why Donald Trump’s Bigotry Is Being Endorsed/Embraced

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 Since the inception of his presidency, President Obama has been blamed for nearly everything that is wrong with the country. At a recent press conference, President Obama spoke candidly on this issue.  He also specifically addressed rhetoric being spread that it is he, (President Obama), who is responsible for Republicans embracing/endorsing the bigotry displayed by Donald Trump. 
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Sphinx Orchestra: Changing The Face of Classical Music

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Sphinx is a national non-profit organization, headquartered in Detroit, MI. It was founded by Dr. Aaron Dworkin and Carrie Chester. The organization was founded when both were students at U of M.  Dr. Dworkin, who started playing the violin as a child often noticed that few performers or audience members were people of color.

Dr. Aaron Dworkin
Dr. Aaron Dworkin

Seeking to create more diversity in the field of classical music, Sphinx was founded. Sphinx held its inaugural “Sphinx Competition” in 1998. The competition gives opportunities for young musicians of color to compete, receive mentorship and education from nationally acclaimed musicians.  Sphinx also provides the Sphinx Overture Program which offers free violin lessons to students in underserved communities. Also offered is the Sphinx Performance Academy a summer chamber music program for Black and Latino musicians ages 12-17. Sphinx is committed to transforming lives through increasing diversity in the arts. The organization has made some impressive inroads in the field of classical music. In its first 10 years, according to the League of American Orchestras, orchestras that were part of their membership that reported an increase in diversity of people of color had some relationship with the Sphinx Organization. Sphinx also reports that their graduates are represented at all of the top 10 music schools in the U.S. Sphinx is constantly working toward fulfilling its mission of transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

Click on the link below to see a short video about Sphinx:

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