There are a host of female leaders in Pittsburgh who continue to fight for equality among the Black community in Pittsburgh, such as Alma Speed Fox, M. Gayle Moss, Esther Bush and others. There are also a number of familiar faces, but least recognized, out there in the trenches and doing their part to continue to fight is Ronell Guy. RONELL GUY
Daily Archive: February 17, 2012
Overcoming obstacles as not only an African-American, but as an African-American woman was no stranger to Valerie McDonald Roberts. She managed to turn what some might say can be trials, into triumphs. Roberts was not only the first African-American woman to be elected to the Pittsburgh City Council, but more recently, she was the first African-American woman to be elected president of the Pennsylvania Recorder of Deeds Association. The former Allegheny County manager of real estate and former county recorder of deeds, began her political career in 1989 when she ran and won a seat on the Pittsburgh Public School District Board of Directors, where she was eventually elected president. VALERIE MCDONALD ROBERTS Roberts said that her time on the board was a learning experience. It helped her to learn the life of politics and the importance of being “real” with constituents, which she agrees is lacking in today’s politics.
A look at the history of the civil rights struggle conjures images of pioneering women like Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress; and Alma Speed Fox, the former executive director of the Pittsburgh Branch of the NAACP. But a new face is emerging on the civil rights front in Pittsburgh. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS—Tim Stevens and Tracey McCants Lewis answer audience questions about how to interact with police.
After more than five years of planning, the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh broke ground on the site for their new location in the Hill District. At the ground breaking for the $12 million building on Aug. 9, 2011 close to 100 Hill District residents, as well as other community leaders, came out to celebrate the event. THELMA LOVETTE “This is truly a historical day as we move on for our community, truly a great day,” said Aaron Gibson, executive director, Centre Avenue YMCA.The morning’s guest of honor was Thelma Lovette, for whom the new facility was being named. Beyond her many years as a civil and human rights activist, Lovette was also the first woman to sit on the boards of the Centre Avenue YMCA and the Greater Pittsburgh YMCA.
In an effort to celebrate the legacy, accomplishments and contributions of African-American women during two months-Black History Month, which is held in February, and Women’s History Month, in March—when they are sometimes overlooked, New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice will hold their 5th annual Women of Color HERStory Month Celebration, which will run from Feb. 15 through March 29. “The idea for (WOCHM) was to celebrate women of color during Black History month and Women’s History Month because there was a lack of opportunity to celebrate ourselves, women of color, during these months,” said La’Tasha Mayes, founder and executive director of New Voices Pittsburgh.
The Hon. Cynthia A. Baldwin has been a trailblazer who opened the doors for other Blacks and women in the Pennsylvania courts as she worked her way through the system to the highest court in the state. JUDGE CYNTHIA BALDWIN
Alma Speed Fox, president of Freedom Unlimited Inc. and community activist for years, is a celebrated Pittsburgh Civil Rights advocate, who has helped blaze a trail that young Black Pittsburghers have the opportunity to follow today. The 89-year-old retired equal opportunity manager with the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Mines, Fox has been active in local politics since joining the state and local NAACP branches in 1955. ALMA SPEED FOX In addition to serving on the Pittsburgh NAACP’s board of directors for the past 45 years, she was a 32-year member of the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations, established the East Hills National Organization for Women, served as vice president of the Pittsburgh National Organization for Women, was co-chair of the Pennsylvania’s Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women and convener of the Allegheny County Women’s Political Caucus.
After close to 60 years of serving the city as an educator, counselor and school administrator, Helen Faison, Ph.D, is still unwilling to end a career she has dedicated most of her life to. HELEN FAISON
On Dec. 13, 2010 former Pittsburgh Public School District Deputy superintendent Linda Lane was voted in as the first African-American female superintendant in the district. Her appointment, which passed with a vote of eight to one, came exactly four years to the day from her initial appointment as deputy superintendant. LINDA LANE
Under the leadership of President and CEO Esther Bush, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh has become one of the most accomplished affiliates in the country. Throughout her more than 30 years of service with the Urban League she has blazed many trails. She was the first female to serve in each of her last four leadership positions with the organization. ESTHER BUSH Bush began her career with the Urban League in 1980 as the assistant director of the Labor Education Advancement Program for the National Urban League in New York City. While there she served as the director of both the Staten Island and the Manhattan branches.