LU Cohorts


Gina Baker
Geneva Clay
Monique Crayton
Domonicke Dunlap
Mahogany Dove
Natisha Gatlin
Maschil Edwards
Jeannine Etter
Jo Elias-Jackson
Rita Forte
Assata Harris
Rechelle Holly
Regina Holly
Cynthia Howard Garrison
Kisha Mattox
Shamara Mosley
Janina Roberts
Jovan Roberts
Kaee Ross
Raquel Ross
Cheri Spigner
Valarie Scruggs
Ghanya Thomas
Chamaine Woffard

Shani S. Blevins
Elouise Burrell
Wanda Campbell
Cynthia Cary-Griffin
Tracey Christian
Kim Coleman
Charlethia Dean
Ali'a Edwards
Diane Flowers
Letitia Henderson
Adrianna Hutchenson
Chanda Jones
Dollene C. Jones
Sharon Kidd
Ikimia King
Larene Pare
Merlenet Riley
Toni Samuel
Denise Washington
Hope Young
Erin Young-dood-Smith


The Spirit of the 20th Century becomes the Leadership of the 21st

If the 20th century was the time when black females fought tenaciously across the globe to have their voice heard and their rights recognized, the 21st century looks like being the era when third-world struggle turns into first-world dominance. With all avenues open to the modern black female, the limit of your imagination is the one barrier left to hurdle. In the developed world, women in general are taking up far more spots at universities than men, and are seizing more of the top seats in politics, science and the arts than before. The beating heart and determination that resides at the core of every black female, harnessed to strong programs that can mentor and promote their best qualities, should see them climb the highest pinnacles in the coming decades.

Black Politicians are Rewriting the Rules Worldwide

The USA has its home-spun political heroes like Michelle Obama and Condoleeza Rice. As Executive Director at the UN World Food Programme and President of CARE, respectively, Ertharin Cousin and Helene Gayle stand at the forefront of the fight against world poverty and hunger. But the boundaries of North America are insufficient to contain the driving force that sees black females making the deepest and most far-reaching impact wherever they reside.

The Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf may have become the first elected female head of state in Africa after overcoming ferocious obstacle after ferocious obstacle – driven into exile in 1980 after the overthrow of the then President, she would return to her home country and bravely speak out against successive regimes, surviving a spell in jail and evading subsequent attempts to silence her before finally cementing her place at the top. Black females have been at the heart of much that has gone right for this troubled continent. Sirleaf was herself helped enormously by fellow Liberian Leymah Gbowee, whose women’s movement grew from humble origins chanting for peace in the fishmarkets of Monrovia, before transforming itself into a mass movement that seized the attention of the entire country.

Powerful and undaunted black females have forged a string of success stories against the odds across Africa. Joyce Banda would follow in Sirleaf’s footsteps in becoming President of Malawi in 2012. In Nigeria, it was Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who gained considerable stature as finance minister, successfully negotiating a debt settlement that would help bring her country back from the abyss – she would narrowly miss out on being appointed President of the World Bank in 2012, and continues to reshape and reform her native country. The Kenyan Wangari Maathai quickly established herself as one of the world’s most prominent environmental protesters, before becoming a political activist who courageously made her points heard through hunger strikes and determined petitions

Corporate power is going through the roof

Black females continue to shatter glass ceilings in the corporate as well as the political world. It all started with Sarah Breedlove Walker, the 19th century washerwoman who devised a complete hair-care system that swept across the nation. By the time of her death in 1919, she had created a colossal corporate empire, and had spent much of the proceeds promoting black education. Those seeds continue to bear fruit today, with many black businesswomen climbing to the top of their respective trees. Oprah Winfrey remains one of the most recognizable faces across the world, but there are many others who are achieving positions of genuine responsibility. Ursula Burns worked her way up from the housing projects of New York to become the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 company (Xerox). She was recently rated by Forbes as the 14th most powerful woman in the world. Rosalind Brewer is another very prominent black businesswoman, serving as President of the Wal-Mart-owned Sam’s Club – this chain of warehouse clubs ranks as the 8th largest retailer in the USA. It’s becoming easier all the time to work your way up the business ladder, although if you need a gift or two along the way to ease your path, high quality presents can be snapped up online. 

Educate the world and prepare to succeed

Mary McLeod Bethune was instrumental in setting up schools and hospitals, before going on to the political stage to fight for equal pay and rights. She lit the touch paper for countless black females who would go on to achieve great things in science and education. From early recipients of Ph.Ds like Inez Beverly Prosser and Ruth Ella Moore (both of whom received their awards in 1933), through to the NASA geniuses Katherine Johnson and Annie Easley, and then up to later leaders in their fields, like Dale Brown Emeagwali, countless numbers of females have tilted the world-view with the weight of their brains.

Culture that speaks and sings for humanity

Black culture continues to hold the key to much that is dear to modern hearts, with the likes of Beyonce Knowles and Alicia Keys presiding over the world of popular music. However, female influence extends far and wide in other artistic arenas too. For many, Maya Angelou is the poetic voice of modern America, enfolding hard truths within shimmering similes. Also unafraid to tackle the tough issues with her writing is Toni Morrison, whose string of hard-wrought best-sellers have brought minority issues to the mass audience. Alice Walker has also gained plaudits for her immaculately conceived works, although her biggest achievement might be to have ‘rediscovered’ the brilliance of the tragically-forgotten Zora Neale Hurston, and to have brought Hurston’s stunning lyrical writing (among the best that any American author has produced) back to prominence. 


So many illustrious names, but how many more will be written in the stars before the next hundred years are out? Sheer determination and heart alone won’t be enough to guarantee success. What’s needed is for black women to work hard, and to unite and help each other to succeed. Study voraciously at college and plan for your future – seek the opportunities out rather than expecting them to come to you. Does your college have any advice on what specific route you should take? One good idea is all that it takes to start building the next business empire, so don’t be put off if you don’t have much capital behind you. Think how many of the great figures above started out with nothing, but who in many cases ended up possessing everything that matters. The future for black females is far stronger than it has ever been before. So learn from the examples, and channel your inner soul. Nothing more is needed to achieve everything you desire.

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