WELCOME TO THE TRINIDAD & TOBAGO ASSOCIATION OF WASHINGTON D.C., INC.
As we continue to celebrate the achievements of women who have made a difference in extraordinary ways, we invite you to enjoy this video by Shaggy, The Strength of a Woman.
Video: The Strength of a Woman.
Today, we’re featuring the following phenomenal women:
1. Dr. Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014Born on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Mo. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. Affectionately referred to as Dr. Angelou, the writer never went to college, but she has received dozens of awards and more than 30 honorary degrees and taught American studies for years at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. Dr. Angelou died on May 28, 2014 in Winston Salem, NC. We can all recite a famous quote or relate how her life’s work impacted us. Here are just a few of her memorable sayings:
Stand up straight and realize who you are. That you tower over your circumstances. You are a child of God. Stand up straight.
Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage, you cannot practice any of the other virtues consistently.
Video on Dr. Gladys West
,3. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala First Woman, First African World Trade Organization Director General
The Director General of The World Trade Organization. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the first woman and first African to head the organization. She says she wants to work on fixing inequalities and raise living standards around the world. As an economist and former Nigerian Finance Minister, she says she’s ready for the challenge. “I’m humbled that people have selected not only the first African and the first female, but someone they believe has the competence to try and deliver,” Okonjo-Iweala said. She says her first priorities are COVID-19 vaccine distribution and sustainable fishing.
Video on Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Claudia Jones - Notting Hill Carnival
Our sincere appreciation to Ms. Deanne Samuels for contributing the information on this fascinating personality. Ms. Jones was a relative of the children of one of our members, Zilla Bristol.
5. Pearl Eileen Primus - Dancer, Choreographer and Anthropologist
Primus was born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on November 29, 1919, she died on October 29, 1994, in New Rochelle, NY. Her family moved to New York City in 1921, when she was two years of age. She wanted to be a physician, and in 1940, she received a degree in biology and premedical sciences from Hunter College in New York City. She was refused employment in her field of study because of racial discrimination. She was later hired in the dance unit of the National Youth Administration where she received a scholarship from the New Dance Group. She studied modern dance and made her debut in 1943 with a solo recital which led to many Broadway performances. Primus formed her own company in 1944. In addition to choreography, she was the director of the Performing Arts Centre in Liberia (1959–61) and earned a master’s in education (1959) and a doctorate in anthropology (1978) from New York University. She held several academic appointments in her late career, notably serving as director of the Cora P. Maloney College at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1984–86) and as professor of ethnic studies at the University of Massachusetts (1984–90). Primus received numerous awards and honors, namely the National Medal of Arts (1991).
7. Earning Olympic Gold is a rare feat in any era, but Alice Coachman faced more of an uphill struggle than most. As a Black athlete, she was unable to train at segregated facilities, so Coachman devised impromptu routines on her own before landing an athletic scholarship to the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. She won gold in the high jump at the 1948 London Games by launching herself 5 feet and 6 and 1/8 inches in the air, becoming the first Black woman to earn a gold medal in track and field. She made even more history in 1952 when she scored an endorsement deal with Coca-Cola—the first Black female athlete to do so. Her achievements have been enough to fill at least nine separate Halls of Fame.
8. Claudia Gordon was eight years old in rural Jamaica when she suddenly developed severe pain in her middle ears. Her aunt, Mildred Taylor, took her to a small clinic but with no doctor on duty, the nurse couldn’t determine what was wrong. Gordon became deaf. Claudia Gordon went on to become the first Deaf Black female attorney in America—and an advocate for individuals with disabilities. Gordon is the director of government and compliance with Sprint Accessibility, but before that she was working as the chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs under the Obama administration. In that role, Gordon essentially worked to ensure that companies working with the federal government were not using discriminatory practices, a cause she personally championed in part due to her own experiences. During her tenure at the White House, she worked on improving the Rehabilitation Act, which, in Gordon’s own words, mandated that federal contractors “take affirmative action to employ and to advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities.”
9. Hazel Dorothy Scott (1920-1981)
The Trinidadian jazz singer trended after Alicia Keys paid homage to Scott's ability to play two pianos at the same time at the 2019 Grammy Awards. Scott was a musical prodigy who caught the attention of the founder of The Juilliard School in New York at age eight. The celebrated classical pianist also performed on Broadway and had several small cameos in films, such as the 1943 musical, The Heat's On.
10. Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994)
As a child, Wilma Rudolph suffered from polio and scarlet fever. Despite being told that she wouldn't be able to walk again, she would go on to become one of the world's fastest women. At the 1960 Summer Olympics, she won three gold medals, becoming the first American woman to win three medals in track and field at the same Olympic games. She also used her sports platform for social causes.
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