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Patrisse Cullors

Community activist Patrisse Cullors was born on June 20, 1983 in Van Nuys, California to Cherisse Foley. She graduated from Grover Cleveland High School in Reseda, California and received her B.A. degree in religion and philosophy in 2012 from the University of California, Los Angeles. Cullors also attended the Roski School of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Southern California.

In 2001, Cullors joined the Bus Riders Union, a Los Angeles-based advocacy group. She later launched Dignity and Power Now, a coalition designed to fight police brutality. In 2012, Cullors curated her first performance art piece addressing the violence of mass incarceration, STAINED: An Intimate Portrayal of State Violence. Then, she co-founded the #BlackLivesMatter movement in 2013; and, the following year, Cullors completed an Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership fellowship, and prepared and led a think tank on state and vigilante violence for the Without Borders Conference. She also produced and directed POWER: From the Mouths of the Occupied, the first in a series of theatrical pieces. In 2016, Cullors delivered the keynote address at over a dozen colleges and universities including American University, The University of Notre Dame, the University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell. In 2018, she coauthored her New York Times bestselling memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, and expanded her Los Angeles based coalition work with the advocacy groups Justice L.A. and Reform L.A. Jails. In 2018, Cullors became an adjunct professor at Prescott College in the Social Justice & Community Organizing program.

In 2006, she was honored by receiving the Mario Savio Young Activist Award. In 2015, Google awarded Cullors with the Racial Justice Grant, the Justice Teams for Truth and Reinvestment. Cullors was also named by the Los Angeles Times as a Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century, and she received the Sydney Peace Prize for her #BlackLivesMatter work. In 2016, Cullors was named a Leading Edge Fund Fellow by The Rosenberg Foundation, a Senior Fellow for Maternal Mortality by MomsRising, a Kick-Ass Woman of Color by DLG Media, and received the Defender of the Dream Award from the AFL-CIO Executive Council Committee on Civil and Human Rights. Her other awards include the Revolution Award for Freedom from ImageNation Cinema Foundation, the Justice Award from National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Community Change Agent Award from BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc., and the Glamour Women of the Year Award for The Justice Seekers. Cullors also received honorary doctorate degrees from Chicago’s South Shore International College Preparatory High School and Clarkson University.

Patrisse Cullors was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 10, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.222

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/10/2018

Last Name

Cullors

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Patrisse

Birth City, State, Country

Van Nuys

HM ID

CUL02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Someplace Warm and Tropical/Miami

Favorite Quote

Black Lives Matter

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/20/1983

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Favorite Food

Indian

Short Description

Community activist Patrisse Cullors (1983- ) was a cofounder of the Black Lives Matter movement and coauthored her New York Times Bestselling memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.

Favorite Color

Purple

Cheryl Johnson-Odim

Academic administrator and activist Cheryl Johnson-Odim was born on April 30, 1948 in Youngstown, Ohio to Elayne Jeffries and Robert Dawson. She graduated from Andrew Jackson High School in New York in 1966 and went on to attend the City College New York and Youngstown State University. From 1972 to 1978, she did graduate work at Northwestern University from which she received her Ph.D. in history in 1978. In 1975, Johnson-Odim was a Fulbright Scholar in Nigeria.

Johnson-Odim was a founding member of the Free South Africa Movement. She served as head of the TransAfrica Support Committee in Chicago as well as head of all TransAfrica Support Committees in the U.S. In the early 1980s, she served as co-founder and co-chair of the Coalition for Illinois Divestment from South Africa. In 1995, Johnson-Odim became the first woman and first African American to chair the history department at Loyola University Chicago, where she had taught history since 1987, and a position she held until 2000. Previously, she taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northwestern University, where she served as the assistant director of the Program of African Studies from 1980-86. In 2000, Johnson-Odim was appointed the first dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Columbia College Chicago. In 2006 she was appointed provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois.

Johnson-Odim was an associate editor for Women Building Chicago 1790-1990: A Biographical Dictionary, which was published in 2001; and the Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century African History, which was published in 2003. She also edited Expanding the Boundaries of Women’s History: Essays on Women in the Third World, and authored the books For Women and the Nation: Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti of Nigeria, and Women and Gender in the History of Sub-Saharan Africa commissioned by the American Historical Association, as well as many chapters in books and articles in scholarly journals.

Johnson-Odim served as vice chair of the Illinois Humanities Council, chair of the American Historical Association’s Joan Kelly Prize Committee, member of the board of directors of the American Council of Learned Sciences, and the African Studies Association, of which she was a co-founder of the Women' Caucus. She was also a founding editorial board member of the Journal of Women’s History and chair of the Board of Trustees for the Higher Learning Commission. And she was on the central organizing committee of the Women's March Chicago in January 2017.

Cheryl Johnson-Odim was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 16, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.117

Sex

Female

Interview Date

07/16/2017 |and| 5/3/2018

Last Name

Johnson-Odim

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Cheryl

Birth City, State, Country

Youngstown

HM ID

JOH53

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Schathos, Greece

Favorite Quote

Little By Little The Rain Drops Swell The River.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

4/30/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bread

Short Description

Academic administrator and activist Cheryl Johnson-Odim (1948 - ) was the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. She was also a founding member of the Free South Africa Movement.

Favorite Color

Bluish green

Michaela Angela Davis

Magazine editor, activist, and writer Michaela Angela Davis was born in 1964 in Germany. When she was young, Davis and her family moved to Washington, D.C., where she attended the Duke Ellington School for the Arts. Upon graduation, Davis enrolled in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts before being accepted to the Stella Adler Acting Conservatory in 1983. She gained fashion experience by apprenticing with her aunt, a former stylist for Harper’s Bazaar, and photographer Richard Avedon.

In 1991, Davis was hired as an associate fashion editor for Essence magazine. She then became the founding fashion director for Vibe magazine in 1993. In 2002, Davis worked as a stylist for the film Paid in Full, before becoming editor-in-chief of Honey magazine in 2003. Davis also published an essay titled “The Beautiful Ones” for the anthology Everything but the Burden: What White People are Taking from Black Culture in 2003.

In 2004, Davis returned to Essence as the executive Fashion and Beauty editor while simultaneously directing the Culture section. She launched the “Take Back the Music” campaign along with Essence in 2005 and appeared on VH1 News Presents: Hip Hop Videos – Sexploitation on the Set. That same year, Davis authored a gift book entitled Beloved Baby: A Baby’s Scrapbook and Journal. In 2008, she was featured in the documentary The Souls of Black Girls, as well as the BET special, Hip Hop vs. America II: Where Did the Love Go? Davis went on to become the chief creative consultant and editorial brand manager for the rebranding of BET. She appeared in Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness in 2011 with an essay titled “Resistance.” Also that year, she launched a community conversation project called MAD Free: Liberating Conversations About Our Image, Beauty and Power as well as “BuryTheRatchet: The Revolutionary Pro Sisterhood Campaign” the following year.

The New York Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People recognized Davis as a “Phenomenal Woman” in 2011, and the President of the Borough of Manhattan presented her with a “Trailblazer Award.” In 2013, she was honored with two separate “Empowerment” awards from BLACK STREET and the Feminist Press.

Davis lives in Brooklyn and has one daughter, Elenni Davis-Knight.

Michaela Angela Davis was interviewed by the The HistoryMakers on August 15, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.219

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/15/2014

Last Name

Davis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Angela

Schools

Takoma Education Campus

Duke Ellington School Of The Arts

New York University

The New School for Social Research

Stella Adler Studio of Acting

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Michaela

Birth City, State, Country

Landstuhl

HM ID

DAV35

Favorite Season

Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

North Africa

Favorite Quote

This Is The Day The Lord Had Made, Let Us Rejoice And Be Glad In It.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/31/1964

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

Germany

Favorite Food

Okra

Short Description

Magazine editor, activist, and writer Michaela Angela Davis (1964 - ) was the founding fashion director of Vibe magazine and a former editor of Honey and Essence magazines.

Employment

BET/Centric

Freelance

Essence Magazine

Honey Magazine

Vibe Magazine

CNN/Time Warner

Favorite Color

Black

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michaela Angela Davis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michaela Angela Davis lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about her father's acceptance into the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about her parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her upbringing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michaela Angela Davis recalls her experiences of racial discrimination in Woodbury, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about her early awareness of skin color, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about her early awareness of skin color, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michaela Angela Davis remembers her neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michaela Angela Davis remembers her neighborhood friends in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michaela Angela Davis describes the smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about her childhood best friend

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michaela Angela Davis remembers the music of her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michaela Angela Davis remembers the death of her brother, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michaela Angela Davis remembers the death of her brother, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about her acting experiences at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her experiences at the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her role as an assistant stylist

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michaela Angela Davis describes the start of her career in fashion

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michaela Angela Davis remembers the New York City club scene of the 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her fashion career in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michaela Angela Davis describes how she came to work for Essence magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michaela Angela Davis describes how she came to work for Vibe magazine

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about the influence of hip hop culture

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about the early covers of Vibe magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about the evolution of hip hop culture

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her reasons for leaving Vibe magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michaela Angela Davis remembers meeting Polly Allen Mellen

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michaela Angela Davis recalls the founding of Honey magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about the founders of Vanguarde Media

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michaela Angela Davis describes how she came to be editor in chief of Honey magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her role as editor in chief of Honey magazine

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Michaela Angela Davis remembers her return to Essence magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about Essence's Take Back the Music campaign

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Michaela Angela Davis remembers her early speaking engagements

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Michaela Angela Davis describes how she became a commentator on CNN

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Michaela Angela Davis remembers how she became a commentator for 'Anderson Cooper 360'

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about the next generation of black fashion activists

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Michaela Angela Davis describes the MAD Free project

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her role in the rebranding of BET, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Michaela Angela Davis describes her role in the rebranding of BET, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Michaela Angela Davis talks about her current projects

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Michaela Angela Davis reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Michaela Angela Davis describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Michaela Angela Davis reflects upon her life

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Michaela Angela Davis narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

1$4

DATitle
Michaela Angela Davis talks about the evolution of hip hop culture
Michaela Angela Davis remembers how she became a commentator for 'Anderson Cooper 360'
Transcript
How long did you work at Vibe?$$Just a year. So I worked the first year cycle and this is when my activism began. I challenged--something very scary started happening in hip hop, 'cause again, we're so excited by this culture, by being a part of hip hop, being a part of defining, this defining culture was very powerful. But by the time we got to '92 [1992], '93 [1993], you started to see this very disturbing wave of--$$That's okay.$$They were talking upstairs. Wave of, the plethora of voices because we had all kinds of hip hop. Whether it was you know Biggie [Biggie Smalls; The Notorious B.I.G.] who was this like so talented but kind of nasty and talking about, you know, shooting people and all kinds of crazy sex, but his lyricism was amazing. To you know Wu-Tang [Wu-Tang Clan] to Pharcyde [The Pharcyde] to sort of what people consider conscious rap. And all these, you know Monie Love and Queen Latifah and MC Lyte, you had all these different voices. And then what you started to see happen was the voices were beginning--very narrow very, very quick, very, very quickly. And you saw women's voices just dropping off and the, the men's voices--and this is in mainstream and the records that they were selling and promoting were getting hyper violent. And what, I don't--what some people called gangsta rap, we never, we never called it that in, internally, inside. But it was, it was a very disturbing, disturbing quick trend of hyper violent images with hypersexual images of women. And then all these women's voices going, falling away and the only ones left standing were Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown, Lauryn [Lauryn Hill] came later. And they were really playing on the hypersexuality, which we didn't mind before when they were all these other voices too. Like that's, that's a voice, that's real, but we saw that what was happening to the music, or the music that we were being asked to cover and sell and promote, was so narrow and it was--it's like that's that kind of the opposite of what we came here to do, right? So, I got into very clear philosophical--I resigned because I remember one of the older white executives from Time Warner [Time Warner, Inc.] coming in and, at the photo editing, was like going, "Yeah, like show the picture of him peeing on the wall." And like, "Yeah that's like, you wanna see the dirty shit, let's see the dirty shit," and I was just like, who are you that--you old man in a suit like. I was like this is it--we came here to tell our story, right, like if this is--and, and it was something very significant. I saw--our editor in chief was a very smart, white gay man, right? I remember this same executive was at Martha Stewart [Martha Stewart Living] and I heard Martha Stewart in the hallway like letting him have it. She was like--'cause what had happened is both these magazines were hot, right? No one was paying attention to us 'til we got hot. Then it's like. "Ooh, I'm gonna come down and play with the hot magazines from my little office." I heard Martha Stewart saying, "The day that you know how to cook and," and blah, blah, blah. She's like, "This is my culture, either you give me this magazine or you get out." Like she defended her--she's like, "You don't live in Connecticut, you don't know about--," like she was like (makes sound), she defended her, her brand. But he's, I don't know what he was telling her to do, but she was literally out in the hallway. And I was like nobody's defending us, nobody's going, "Why are you--what's happening to this magazine [Vibe] that was supposed to be about this big bright culture, or breadth of the culture?" Not to say that those rappers didn't exist, but to silence the others was problematic.$Wait before you get there, I just wanna point out that you started being honored for your activism.$$Yes.$$Like people started noticing you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes.$$--and--$$Yes.$$--just, just to make a point, you know the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] acknowledged your work in 2011 with the phenomenal woman award. And then you, you were featured in a number of anthologies--$$Right (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) so Rebecca Walker's ['Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness,' ed. Rebecca Walker] was another--$$And this is all after--so this point is critical 'cause all that came after, and there's very interesting (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Really? Came after what?$$The--what I'm about to tell you why, how I got to 'Anderson Cooper' ['Anderson Cooper 360'].$$Okay.$$How I got to 'Anderson Cooper' was I challenged Essence, that--$$I didn't realize it came after, okay.$$And I was, I was being recognized, I wasn't being honored, but I was being, I was becoming a voice particularly on these campuses, right? I was talking about image, image activism and, and being empowered and challenging images and, and being, having media literacy, particularly as it came to women and how they perceive themselves and how the world perceives them. Because they were being treated based on these music videos, and that's what we were finding when talking to girls that traveled, people thought--would solicit them for sex when they're in Italy as a scholar, because they think that their video--so we understood something was happening in the culture, and I was helping to facilitate those conversations and giving us tools to deal with them. When--and this--at this critical moment too, I discovered the power of Facebook. So Essence magazine had a new editor in chief for a while, who had hired a white fashion director. And I had had that, this job and I knew what a fashion director was. A fashion director was someone that didn't just pick out dresses, for Essence particularly because it was the only magazine for black women, the fashion director was in the community. The fashion director spoke on behalf of the community; the fashion director would be you know if H&M [H and M Hennes and Mauritz A.B.] opened in Harlem [New York, New York], or a MAC store [MAC Cosmetics] opened in downtown Detroit [Michigan], the fashion director of Essence was supposed to be there. The fashion director at Essence sits at the front row at the fashion shows with all the other fashion directors. So when a white woman was chosen for that one spot, I, I was appalled, but I didn't act until a group of young women--I had started, I started to have mentees by this point, right? Young women that I was nurturing and were talking to me and I was talking to them, I started to host salons in my home with young women, mentoring them. And a group of young women called me and they were crying, they, they said to me, "What does this mean to us?" And they were, they were all fashion professionals, one just finished fashion history at NYU [New York University, New York, New York], blah, blah, blah. And they're like, "So if Essence doesn't think that we can do this, where do we go, what does this mean to us?" And they were crying and I was talking to--and that's--I didn't act until I felt the hurt and I wrote on my Facebook page, "Essence magazine has hired a white fashion director. I feel like I lost my best girlfriend," right, something to that effect. Hundreds of comments later, in an hour or two Clutch magazine had written a blog.$$Which is an online (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) An online magazine, a popular mag- online website for this audience. So be clear that the first people that covered this story were the young women who were being most affected. So Clutch did it first, then, then New York Magazine picked it up from Clutch. Then from New York Magazine it went viral. Twenty-four hours later, I was on 'Anderson Cooper,' right? I had no idea Facebook was like that, I was really naive, I was really new, I was having like these conversations that I thought were very contained with like couple thousand friends and, I was talking to young women, most I would ask ques- and what I realized that my Facebook page was, was the open for some news stories I was like OMG. So I learned a lot by then, but so what hap- so it's very challenging and very interesting and very full circle to be in this moment where you are challenging home, 'cause Essence was home to me. But I, I had gotten the blessings from my mentor like this--'cause I called, I guess it's okay to say now--$$Um-hm.$$--in public. I called Susan [HistoryMaker Susan Taylor] before I accepted that interview, and I said, "Look, I'm getting calls from the media, and what do you think?" Because I knew I was gonna--this was basically going to war with Essence. I didn't know how big it was gonna be, I didn't know it was gonna be this thing. And I got, I got, she told me, she said, "Michaela [HistoryMaker Michaela Angela Davis] you're my hero," and that's, I said that's all. So if my mentor says that it was something--and I had all these young women, and, and they were like nobody stands up for us. And I didn't have anything to lose; I wasn't trying to get that job--like, so I felt like they couldn't do it, because they might want that job one day. They're new in their career, I understood that, so I felt like I could speak for them, and I wasn't afraid.