Contributing Authors on "Black is the Color of Strength"
Dr. Loren Alves is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics at East Carolina University School of Dentistry. He is presently writing his autobiography about his rise from poverty and living in the DeSoto Public Housing Projects in Dayton, Ohio to a successful dental practice. He served twenty-one years in the United States Dental Corp., retiring as a Colonel. He devotes much of his spare time as a mentor and a volunteer for the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. A chapter from his autobiography, "Coming of Age to Manhood," is included in the anthology.
Jayme L. Bradford is an assistant professor and mass communications coordinator at Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina. She began her teaching career as a communications professor at Florida Community College in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition, she taught English and Journalism at William M. Raines Senior High School. She is the former communications chairperson and assistant professor at Edward Waters College, the oldest historical black college in Florida She has written a short essay, "KKK: The Real Boogeyman," recalling the brutal murder of a young Black man in Mobile, Alabama.
Chris Cannon author of Winning Back Our Boys has become nationally recognized for his award-winning interactive youth presentations. Once labeled an at-risk youth, Chris spends countless hours training, transforming, and speaking to teens across the country regarding the pressures of sex, relationships, drug/alcohol and self-identity. He skillfully shows young people how to go from tragedy to triumph, from pitiful to powerful, and from regrets to rewards. His essay, "Testing Positive: What I Did to Have Sex with Her," is a cleverly constructed essay for the young that delivers a very different message than what the title might suggest.
Cary Clack received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. Mary's University in 1985. He then worked as a Scholar-Intern at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, in Atlanta where Cary wrote CNN commentaries for Coretta Scott King. Cary's last column for the San Antonio Express-News ran on October 9, 2011. The next day Cary began work as the communications director for the Congressional campaign of Joaquin Castro. From January 2013 through Aug. 20, 2014 he was Congressman Castro's District Director. Since Aug. 21, 2014 he has been the Director of Communications for San Antonio Mayor Ivy R. Taylor.
Dr. Mateen Diop is a sought after speaker and motivator. He believes that without a quality education, our nation's future is in serious trouble. An advocate for inner-city education, He has written extensively on the subject of motivating Black males in school and life. His books include, Inner City Public Schools Still Work, Unlocking the Successful Instinct in Black Boys and Single-Gender Schooling in the Inner City. Mateen is also Executive Producer and publisher of "All Things Educational - The Magazine." A section from his book, Inner City Public Schools Still Work is included in the anthology.
David Floyd was a full-time faculty member at Austin Community College. He taught courses in accounting for freshmen and sophomore students. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Huston-Tillotson College in Austin, Texas, his Masters of Science in Accountancy from Bentley University in Amherst, Massachusetts and his Doctorate Degree from Argosy University. He is the author of Through My Mother's Tears, a heartfelt story about growing up in poverty and achieving his goals in life against insurmountable odds. His contribution to the anthology is an excerpt from his autobiography.
George D. Hilliard received his Medical Doctor's degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1972. After twelve years of active duty service in the United States Air Force, he entered private medical practice in 1981. He is a recipient of the 2013 Brotherhood/Sisterhood Humanitarian Award, presented by the United Communities of San Antonio (founded as the National Conference of Christians and Jews). His essay tells the story of how he was able to include chitterlings as part of the dinner served at the first African-American History Week at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.
Rhonda Lawson is the award winning author of Cheatin' in the Next Room, A Dead Rose, Putting It Back Together, and Some Wounds Never Heal. Rhonda is a United States Army Journalist and has garnered several journalism awards, including the 1997 Training and Doctrine Command Journalist of the Year Award. Currently she is serving in Belgium. She is an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. Rhonda has a brilliant essay titled, "Ida B. Wells Barnett, The Crusader from Mississippi," included in the "Legacies in Courage" section of the anthology.
Taj Matthews is Executive Director of the Claude and ZerNona Black Development Leadership Foundation, which works to revitalize inner-city communities and provides special services to at-risk teens, senior and needy families. He has contributed an important essay about the courage his grandfather showed when he challenged the San Antonio City Council's banning the great poet Langston Hughes from reading his poetry in the city in 1960, and when he challenged Reverend Billy Graham's support of a segregationist governor to appear on the podium with him during Graham's visit to San Antonio in 1952.
Toschia Moffett, an attorney and author, is undoubtedly one of the brightest young African American females in America. She is also an entrepreneur and marketing guru as well as a theater director and singer. Toschia has many hats and wears them all well. She has written one novel, You Wrong for That, and is presently completing her second novel. Toschia has contributed to several anthologies and written a number of magazine articles. She has an outstanding offering, "You Can Learn a Lot from Dead People," in the anthology.
Fattah Muhammad is a brilliant young Black man who has mastered the use of mathematics as a method to understand human behavior and historical events. Brother Fattah co-founded a very progressive student organization seeking to unite all the Black students at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He presently lives in San Antonio where he is authoring several articles and books analyzing the meaning of numbers, human relationships, and human history. Brother Fattah's essay is, "The Mathematic Make-Up of SELF: The Self Within."
Aaronetta Hamilton Pierce has over forty years of serving as an advocate for the arts and cultural achievements of African-Americans. She has served on numerous art boards including the San Antonio Museum of Art, the San Antonio Performing Arts Association. Aaronetta has also served on numerous panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. She was the first Black woman appointed to a six year term as a commissioner for the Texas Commission on the Arts. She served ten years on the Board of Trustees at Fisk University. Aaronetta has two outstanding essays, "Letters to My Grandchildren," and "Maya Angelou: 'Her Voice Rings Eternally'," included in the anthology.
Anthony Prior played seven years in the National Football League and four years in the Canadian Football League. Anthony still holds the speed record, having run the 40-yard sprint in 4.2 seconds for the New York Jets. For this anthology, Anthony has provided a short autobiographical account of his pursuit of his dream to play in the National Football League. "Forty Yards in 4.2 Seconds" has a deeper message about responsibility. One must always be aware there is something more important than sports in life and that is a need to be a good person.
Margaret Richardson has a Masters Degree in Political Science and a Masters in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She was awarded a Ruth Jones McClendon internship to work in the Texas State Legislature in 2005. She is presently working on her Doctorate Degree in Political Science. She has written an essay titled, "We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest: What the Life and Work of Ella Baker Meant to Me." In her essay she brings to light the important role Ms. Baker played in the Civil Rights Movement.
Dr. Reverend James William Sanders, Sr. was the Senior Pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Gaffney, South Carolina for sixty-one years. He was also an educator and served as Moderator for the Thickety Mountain Baptist Association. He was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, a Mason and a recipient of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Hall of Fame Award. The Governor of South Carolina presented him with the Order of the Palmetto, the highest award that the state gives to a civilian. He was a member of many esteemed boards and associations. He passed away on July 6, 2010, shortly after completing his short essay which is an excerpt from his current autobiography, The Spiritual Journey of a Legend: The Life of Reverend Dr. James W. Sanders, Sr.
Nevil Shed was a member of the historic Texas Western basketball team that won the National Collegiate Athletic Association Men's Division One Basketball Championship in 1966. Their team made history for being the first to start five African-American players in the final four. Nevil was one of the players featured in the Disney movie, Glory Road, which was about that victory. The team was honored at a White House ceremony in 2007. After playing for Texas Western, Nevil went on to play briefly for the Boston Celtics. Nevil's contribution to the anthology is titled, "Achieving Victory Through Courage, Faith and Determination."
Sephira Bailey Shuttlesworth is an educator and administrator. In 1966, Sephira and two of her siblings integrated their county’s school system. She began college at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee while still a high school student. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education in less than three years. She is the widow of the late Civil rights icon, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth. She now dedicates her time to securing his legacy as one of the big three of the Civil Rights Movement, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Reverend Ralph Abernathy. Her essay tells the reader of the courage that her husband possessed in order to confront the racist Birmingham police in the 1960's.
Brenner Dee Stiles currently serves as a Veterans Peer Counselor with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs in the Mental Health & Behavioral Science Programs, assisting veterans not only in mental health, but also veterans plagued with homelessness, financial, and other economic needs, which often deters psychological recovery. Brenner served in the United States military and takes pride in providing and assisting other service members. Brenner received a Bachelor's degree and Master's degree from the University of Incarnate Word, and is currently working toward her Doctoral degree. She provided the anthology with an essay on the great Fannie Lou Hamer.
Ivy R. Taylor was appointed to serve as Mayor of San Antonio on July 22, 2014. Prior to her appointment, Mayor Taylor served as the District 2 City Council Representative. Mayor Taylor began her career working for the City of San Antonio in the Housing and Community Development Department and the Neighborhood Action Department. She has served on the City's Planning Commission and as a Commissioner for the City's Urban Renewal Agency and on the advisory board for Our Lady of the Lake's Center for Women in Church and Society. Mayor Taylor has written a short essay on the life and times of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.
Calvin Thomas grew up in Helena, Arkansas during the era of segregation. As a young man he often heard older men and women say, "Out of every five Blacks maybe two would succeed in life because life's odds were so stacked against them." In his essay, "The Authentic American Culture," he writes about the strong and beautiful culture that belongs to Black America and in essence is an intricate part of the American culture. He urges young Blacks to be proud of that culture and to protect it from many of the negative forces trying to destroy it.
Alexis Williams is our youngest contributor to the anthology. At seventeen years old, she had the courage to write about a tragic period in her life. Her essay, "I Have Overcome," is a strong message to other young girls that, despite the tragedies they may experience, there is always hope for success in their future if they do not lose faith in who they are and their worth to the Black race and culture. Alexis is a beautiful young Black girl with a gift as a writer and an excellent career in her future.
Carrie Williams (no relation to Alexis) is a graduate student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She received her Bachelors Degree from Virginian Union University in Richmond, Virginia in 2013. She has a book of poems that she wrote as far back as the seventh grade. Carrie, in a collaborative effort with her father, Frederick Williams, wrote the essay on the four little girls murdered in the Birmingham, Alabama Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in September 1963. She has also included the two young men who were subsequently killed later on that same day.
Frederick Williams received a political appointment to serve as a Legislative Aide on the staff of Senator Birch Bayh, from Maryland while working on his doctorate degree. He helped manage the first Senate bill to make Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday a national holiday. Frederick helped establish the African-American Studies Minor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He designed and taught a number of courses, including African-American Political In 2011, San Antonio Magazine named him one of the five "Men of the Year". He has written an essay for the anthology on the work he did to help pass the King Holiday Legislation and co-authored with his daughter Carrie, the final essay, "The Love that Forgives."