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Cicely Tyson was born in New York City on December 19, 1924 (although some believe her birth year to be 1933). She built a successful career by carefully choosing roles that exemplified quality and depth. She has won accolades and awards for her performances on TV, stage and in film, with credits including Sounder, Roots, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, and The Help. Tyson has won three Emmy Awards and a Tony Award, among other honors, over the course of her acting career. She was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1977.

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Keisha Knight Pulliam

Actreess, philanthropist, & entrepreneur born in Newark, New Jersey, Keisha Knight Pulliam started her career by appearing in commercials when she was only a baby. She landed her biggest role to date in 1984, when she was just four years old, playing Bill Cosby's adorable daughter Rudy Huxtable on The Cosby Show. She has also worked on several TV and film projects, including Madea Goes to Jail and House of Payne.

Her parents, Denise and James Pulliam, work as her business managers. According to her father, Pulliam had a star quality from the day she was born. "She was always smiling, she cooed a lot and was very friendly," he remembered. "She would let anyone pick her up." When Pulliam was only five months old, her mother decided to send her photograph to a talent agency. "It was all a long shot," she said. "We really didn't expect anything to come of it." It wasn't long, however, before Pulliam's career began to take off. She landed her first job as a model in a print ad for Johnson & Johnson baby products. More advertising work soon followed. At the age of three, Pulliam landed a recurring role on the children's television program Sesame Street. The next year she filmed her big screen debut, The Last Dragon (1985). Although Pulliam became a successful professional actress before she could walk or talk, her parents worked hard to instill in their daughter a sense of normalcy and responsibility. "We treated Keshia like a regular child, not a television star," her mother recalled. "She was responsible for cleaning the kitchen, babysitting her brothers, and going to school instead of being tutored." Courtesy of Internet public domain

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Desert of NC
Gala Day
May 31, 2018 - June 2, 2018

More information on our website DesertofNCPHA.org

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Kandice A. Sumner, M.Ed.

Born and raised in urban Boston, Kandice graduated from a suburban school system through a voluntary desegregation program (METCO). She then matriculated Spelman College (a historically Black liberal arts college) and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. From being one of a few Blacks in her school to learning at a historically Black college to teaching in the underserved and predominately Black and Latino neighborhoods of Boston, Sumner has spent a lifetime traversing the lines of race, class and gender.

She teaches humanities (a combination of history and English) for the Boston Public Schools and is a Doctoral student in Urban Educational Policy. Sumner created and facilitates a professional development curriculum entitled R.A.C.E. (race, achievement, culture and equity) to engage professionals of all ages on how to conduct courageous critical conversations concerning race for the betterment of today’s youth. As the subject of the documentary film Far From Home, Kandice speaks publicly and consults with organizations on facilitating difficult conversations about race and education.

Courtesy of Ted.com

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Clara Brown

Born a slave in Virginia in 1800, Clara Brown married another slave named Richard and had four children, but they were separated at auction. When Brown was later freed, she went in search of her family and was eventually reunited with her daughter Eliza Jane.

Early Life Amid Hardship
Clara Brown was born a slave in Virginia in 1800. Brown and her mother were bought by tobacco farmer Ambrose Smith. From the time she was very young, she worked in the fields with some of Smith's other slaves. Brown and her mother eventually moved with the Smith family from Virginia to Kentucky.

While in her teens, Brown married another slave named Richard in 1818. Together they had four children: Richard, Margaret, Paulina Ann, and Eliza Jane. Tragedy struck Brown's family when daughter Paulina Ann died. The death of their owner, Ambrose Smith, also brought more sadness to Brown and her family in 1835. After Smith's death, Brown, her husband, and her surviving children were sold at an auction, breaking the family apart. She would spend much of her life searching for her loved ones.

In her 50s, Brown's life changed for the better after the death of her latest owner, George Brown. His daughters gave Brown her freedom, and she went to work for a St. Louis merchant. That family moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, and her boss helped her set a laundry business there. But she didn't stay long. At the time, many people were moving west in search of gold and other opportunities. She wanted to find something even more precious--her family.

Brown traveled west to look for them, working as a cook for a group of gold prospectors headed to Colorado. It is believed that she was the first African-American woman to make it to Colorado's gold rush region. Once she reached Colorado, she moved from town to town, seeking economic opportunities. Settling in Central City, she made money by running a laundry business and became quite a success.
Courtesy of biography.com

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Viola Davis

Born in South Carolina, Viola Davis grew up in Rhode Island, where she began acting—first in high school, and then at Rhode Island College. After attending the Juilliard School of Performing Arts, Davis made her Broadway debut in 1996 in Seven Guitars. She has won Tony Awards for her performances in King Hedley II (2001) and a revival of August Wilson's Fences (2010), which co-starred Denzel Washington. Her film work includes Doubt (2008), for which she received an Oscar nomination, The Help (2011), Ender's Game (2013) and Get on Up (2014). In 2015, she became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her work on the television series How to Get Away with Murder. She reprised her role playing Rose Maxson in the 2016 film adaptation of Fences, directed and co-starring Denzel Washington, for which she received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2017.

Courtesy of Internet

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