Readers, Please enjoy the Black History Edition of our Envision Equity newsletter. This edition celebrates and recognizes black woman that have shaped and molded our world into a better place. As a reader, you will have access to photos from events that embody the purpose of this newsletter. We hope you enjoy, share, and contribute to the newsletter. Lastly, remember to Envision Equity.
Diversity, Equity, and Poverty Programs Celebrates Black History Alice Coachman 1923-2014 Alice Coachman became the first African American woman from any country to win an Olympic Gold Medal when she competed at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, UK. Born November 9, 1923, in Albany, Georgia, to Evelyn and Fred Coachman, Alice was the fifth of ten children. As an athletic child of the Jim Crow South, who was denied access to regular training facilities, Coachman trained by running on dirt roads and creating her own hurdles to practice jumping. During World War II, the Olympic committee cancelled the 1940 and 1944 games. Alice Coachman’s first Olympic opportunity came in 1948 in London, when she was twentyfour. On August 8, 1948, Alice Coachman leapt 5 feet 6 1/8 inches to set a new Olympic record and win a gold medal for the high jump. During her career, she won thirty-four national titles, ten for the high jump in consecutive years. Alice Coachman was inducted into nine halls of fame including the National Track-and- Field Hall of Fame (1975) and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame (2004). Coachman became the first black woman to endorse an international product when Coca-Cola signed her as a spokesperson in 1952. Coachman married Frank A. Davis and is the mother of two children. In 1994, she founded the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation to provide assistance to young athletes and former Olympic competitors. Coachman died in Albany, Georgia on July 14, 2014. She was 90. 26
Diversity, Equity, and Poverty Programs Celebrates Black History Toni Morrison Born on February 18, 1931, in Lorain, Ohio, Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, editor and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, exquisite language and richly detailed African-American characters who are central to their narratives. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, Jazz, Love and A Mercy. Morrison has earned a plethora of book-world accolades and honorary degrees, also receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012. Morrison's first novel, The Bluest Eye, was published in 1970. She used as her literary first name "Toni," based on a nickname derived from St. Anthony after she'd joined the Catholic Church. The book follows a young African-American girl, Pecola Breedlove, who believes her incredibly difficult life would be better if only she had blue eyes. The controversial book didn't sell well, with Morrison stating in a 1994 afterword that the reception to the work was parallel to how her main character was treated by the world: "dismissed, trivialized, misread." 1931- A rising literary star, Morrison was appointed to the National Council on the Arts in 1980. The following year, Tar Baby was published. The Caribbean-based novel drew some inspiration from folktales and received a decidedly mixed reaction from critics. Her next work, however, proved to be one of her greatest masterpieces. Beloved (1987) explores love and the supernatural. Inspired by real-world figure Margaret Garner, main character Sethe, a former slave, is haunted by her decision to kill her children rather than see them become enslaved. Three of her children survived, but her infant daughter died at her hand. Yet Sethe's daughter returns as a living entity who becomes an unrelenting presence in her home. For this spellbinding work, Morrison won several literary awards, including the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Ten years later, the book was turned into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey, Thandie Newton and Danny Glover. 27
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ENVISION EQUITY FEBRUARY 2018 Edito