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Saturday, February 07 2015

Some of the Greatest Leaders in History are Black Women.
If they say you aren’t smart enough or you aren’t strong enough. . . 
If they say it can’t be done, just ignore them!  They haven’t got a clue!  

Some people may be surprised and happy and others might be surprised and astonished to find that there have been plenty of creative black  women and men in history who have not only ruled nations and changed the world. 

Two long-time California educators, Constance F. Gipson and Dr. Hazel Mahone, have always been fascinated by the creativity, innovation and accomplishments of their black ancestors. 

Image:  Girl in a Red Dress. Laura Wheeler Waring, 1935,
(1887-1948) 18" x 14" signed.
Private Collection, Boston, MA. Reproduction permitted by
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY.

Over ten years in the making, their book Legacies: A Guide for Young Black Women in Planning Their Future contains an amazing array of stories about African Queens in history along with the life stories and accomplishments of dozens of successful black women. Each page reveals the stories, the challenges, and the strength and courage that comprises the remarkable heritage. Included are the life stories, experiences and advice of international lawyers, money managers, astronauts, doctors, ministers, police officers, scientists and more.

“Throughout the ages, black women have used their ingenuity, their beauty, and their negotiation skills to raise armies, create inventions, and lead countries in war and peace throughout the ages. They have taken part in every sector of society--from the farm to the city, from the home, and to the offices of the world’s leaders.
“They hail from every income bracket and occupation,” say the authors, “and are a smart, spunky, and intelligent”.

Legacies examines the accomplishments and rich heritage of African-Americans through the voices of sixteen African Queens and nearly forty successful contemporary black women.  Lavishly illustrated with beautiful artwork in full color and interspersed with poems that resonate, the book offers guidance as well as practical and thought-provoking interactive exercises that will help young women with life skills they need to succeed and maximize their impact on society.  
Legacies juxtaposes story after story about black women who changed the world then and now, including these samples:  

Ahmose Nofretari
“Let me tell you who I am. Long ago there was a powerful black kingdom called Kush. It was located in what today is known as Sudan. Kush was part of an area called Nubia, which was near Egypt. Sometimes Egyptians raided Kush for slaves. A group called the Hyksos invaded Egypt and ruled Egypt for more than 100 years until the Kushite soldiers helped drive them out. My father, King Sequenenre was king of Egypt. He was killed in battle against the Hyksos. My mother, Queen Ahhotep, saved the kingdom. My brother, Ahmose, became the pharaoh and chased the Hyksos out of Canaan. I married my brother, as was the custom of our country. After he died I ruled with my son Amenophis I. Our people worshipped Ra, the sun god. Ra was joined with Amon. I worshipped the god Amon and made sure that the temples honoring him were raised again. I controlled the daily life of the kingdom and was known for my serenity and beauty.”
Dr . Omowunmi Sadik
Omowunmi Sadik was born in Lagos, Nigeria. She is a Professor of Chemistry at State University of New York at Binghamton (SUNY-Binghamton). She received her Ph.D in Chemistry from the University of Wollongong in Australia and did her postdoctoral research at the US Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dr. Sadik has held appointments at Harvard University, Cornell University, and Naval Research Laboratories in Washington, DC. Sadik’s research currently centers on the interfacial molecular recognition processes, sensors and biomaterials, and immunochemistry with tandem instrumental techniques. Her work utilizes electrochemical and spectroscopic techniques to study human exposure assessment, endocrine disrupters, and toxicity of naturally occurring chemical compounds.
Dr. Sadik developed a prototype sensor that can be used instead of drug/bomb-sniffing dogs. Using a combination of laboratory polymers and specially developed software, Sadik and co-workers have created an autonomous biosensor that uses microelectrode arrays to mimic the way mammals detect odor, thus allowing the sensor to mimic scents, detect explosives or illicit drugs and biological molecules.

 Queen Hatshepsut

“I am Queen Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I. I am a descendant of Queen Nofretari. I lived between c1498-1483 BC in Egypt; I married my half-brother Thutmose II to keep the royal blood line pure. I became the guardian of Thutmose III, Thutmose II’s son by another wife, when his father died at a young age. Thutmose III was very young and I was named Queen Regent. I became the pharaoh of Egypt (1479-1458 BC). When I became pharaoh, I donned the clothes of a pharaoh and wore a beard. I ruled in peace and built monuments to the gods."

Stephanie D. Wilson
Stephanie Wilson was born in 1966 in Boston, Massachusetts and graduated from Taconic High School, Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In 1984 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering science from Harvard University in 1988. She worked for two years for the former Martin Marietta Astronautics Group in Denver, Colorado, as a Loads and Dynamics engineer for Titan IV. Then she earned her Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in 1992. After graduate school she began working for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Selected by NASA in April 1996, Wilson reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996 and after two years of training and evaluation, she qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist.
Wilson completed her first space flight on STS-121 in 2006 and has logged almost 13 days in space. The mission was accomplished in 306 hours, 37 minutes and 54 seconds.
Sogolon Konté
“I am the mother of the great king, Sundiata. My child was crippled and dragged himself around on all fours until he was ten years old. But he became a great king of the Mali Empire in 1230 AD. His empire included Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, and the former empire of Ghana. His empire stretched more than 1000 miles. The empire had a vast trade in gold, salt and iron. My son was a brilliant military leader who gave women powerful positions in his army. Mali was one of the most advanced civilizations in the world. It was orderly and sophisticated. A Muslim empire, it believed in justice.
"But justice did not extend to slaves. Up to 10,000 slaves were carried across the Sahara to the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The slaves then worked on plantations, in mines, and as household workers. On my death bed, I asked my son to abolish slavery. He honored this request and became a hero to the Mandingo people.
"After his death, in 1255, his grandson, Mansa Musa reigned over this rich empire for 50 years. When he went on a pilgrimage to Mecca, he carried over 8,000 servants, 500 slaves, 100 camels carrying 300 pounds of gold which he scattered all over the territory. This caused inflation which lasted for years. Our empire was taken over by the Songhai people and by the 1600’s, our empire had come to an end."
Andrea Clay
I was born and raised in Palo Alto, California (located in the San Francisco Bay Area). I attended college at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where I obtained a degree in economics in 1988, and attended law school at the University of Southern California (USC), where I obtained a law degree and masters in business administration (MBA) in 1993. I have been a practicing lawyer since 1993, specializing in real estate finance representing banks and similar institutions in the financing of large real estate projects (e.g. hotels, shopping centers, office buildings, apartment and condominium buildings, and master planned communities). I have represented lenders in more than one billion dollars of real estate financings. In 2006, I was named one of the top twenty lawyers in the State of California under the age of 40 by the Daily Journal, the largest legal newspaper in the State of California. In 2007, I was named one of  the 2007 Superlawyers for California.
The beautiful illustrations in full color of striking paintings, sculpture and photographs, by black artists, as well as original art by book designer Debra Scarpa, add to the book’s impact.  Other ancient art and sculpture demonstrate the sophistication of African cultures. Some of the artists included are:  Charles Alston, Clementine Hunter, Leo Carty, Malvin Gray Johnson, Elizabeth Catlett, Augusta Savage, Meta Warrick Fuller, Monica Stewar, Laura Wheeler Waring and many more.

Legacies also includes moving poems by outstanding black poets that touch the readers and remind the young women that they are not alone.  Some of the poets included are: Maya Angelou, Mari Evans, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Alic Walker, Sonia Sanchez and more.

Legacies: A Guide for Young Black Women in Planning Their Future
Constance Gipson and Hazel Mahone, Ed.D.
List $45 (Hardcover) $40 (softcover)
Hardcover edition: ISBN: 978-0-9897114-0-1
Paperback edition: ISBN: 978-0-9897114-1-8  
First Edition Full color 320-page, 8 ½" x 11" book
Published by the Vision 200 Educational Foundation.
For more information and to order the book visit: 
Content and graphics for this review provided by Paul Krupin and Cathy Feldman, Publicists for Constance F. Gipson and Dr. Hazel Mahone.

About the authors
Constance F. Gipson served as the Gender Equity Consultant for the California Department of Education for over twenty years. She administered nontraditional programs for women and men as well as programs for teen parents, single parents, single pregnant women and displaced homemakers.
Ms. Gipson helped create Images for African American young women. She co-authored Visions for African American males and wrote the Visions Activity Guide.
Ms. Gipson is the author of The Black Man's Guide to Parenting and A Different Kind of Hero, a three-volume collection of biographies of over 400 people, including many women and minorities, who had an impact on American history. She has produced award winning videos productions and is a national presenter and keynote speaker on school-to-work.
Dr. Hazel W. Mahone has been involved at every level of education, from kindergarten through the university.
Dr. Mahone is a full-time professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at California State University Sacramento, a major training center for principals and teachers in multicultural communities. She is also President/CEO of Vision 2000's College Prep Math & Reading Academy that she founded 15 years ago. She brings underachieving students to the campus where they learn critical math and reading skills while being exposed to the university campus.
Dr. Mahone was the first female superintendent in Sacramento County. She is an inspirational speaker, retreat facilitator and has mentored and taught numerous students who today serve as exemplary principals, assistant principals, superintendents and district office personnel in California schools.
What People Are Saying
With its blending of stories of ancient and contemporary powerful black women, beautiful art, poetry, practical exercises and more, Legacies is an exceptional tool to help young women today develop successful life skills.

—Dr. Patricia Hill, Ph.D., Professor, University of San Francisco,
editor of Call and Response: The Riverside Anthology of the African American Literary Tradition

What a motivational, educational and inspirational work!  Legacies is a great resource to learn about our ancestry and about some of our amazing African American women and their accomplishments today!  After reading this work, young women will be inspired to dream big – because anything really is possible!!!

--  Stephanie C. Hill, President Lockheed Martin, Information Systems & Global Solutions

I truly enjoyed Legacies: A Guide for Young Black Women in Planning Their Future. I especially like the juxtaposition of ancient African royal women and leaders with contemporary Black women. Young Black women and girls can see the connection between their present day selves and the ancestors. How refreshing too for young readers to learn that the African continent is so vast and such an integral part of world history.  Africa is not just a country populated by lions, elephants, starving children, and warring tribes. …[]… The artwork and the poetry add another dimension to the book.  The artwork brings a wonderful visual component that reflects the text.  The classic poems of Mari Evans, “I am a Black Woman;” Carolyn Rodgers, “How I Got Ovah,” and Nikki Giovanni’s, “Ego Tripping,” among many others, will speak to the hearts and souls of many readers. There is a lot here to encourage young black women to grasp their future with both hands and soar above the adversities that life can bring. 

—Joyce Hansen, author, African Princess: The Amazing Lives of Africa's Royal Women and Home is with Our Family

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