Miss Black America

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The Miss Black America beauty contest is a competition for young African-American women – essentially the black version of the popular Miss America pageant. The pageant has garnered the support of artists, activists and performers including Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, and Oprah Winfrey. After 40 years, in 2009 the pageant had a "kick off" in Washington, D.C. to rebrand the competition. The first teen winner was Ashley Anglin. The first runner-up teen was Monet Jackson, a resident of Mitchellville, MD; and Destiny Welch, second runner-up and also an MD resident. The adult winner was DC native and MD resident, Miss Kamilla Collier-Mullin. The first runner-up Miss Cherie A. Bryant, a northern Virginia resident; and the second runner up was Miss Janesia Simmons in the adult pageant.


It was originally a local Philadelphia area contest to protest the lack of black women in the Miss America pageant. J. Morris Anderson created and produced the Miss Black America Pageant along with Brenda Cozart who organized and directed the pageant also serving as a beauty consultant for contestants and recruiter which started on August 17, 1968, at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlantic City.[1] With support from Phillip H. Savage, Tri-State Director of the NAACP, the pageant received nationwide press coverage as a protest against the Miss America Pageant, an event that Mr. Savage and other NAACP leaders had long condemned for exclusion of black women contestants.

In September 1977, NBC televised the Miss Black America contest,[2] the day before CBS televised Miss America.


During pageant week in 1991, Miss Black Rhode Island was raped by Mike Tyson in an Indianapolis hotel room. During pageant week in 2018, Miss Black America officials advised contestants to avoid rape by not interacting with men during the national activities. Many of the contestants in 2018 took to social media to express their disdain toward the experience. There were also complaints of alleged verbal abuse, extreme physical distress, and lack of proper accommodation.

The winners[edit]

Claire Ford, 1977 Miss Black America, during a USO show, 1978.
Year Miss Black America Hometown and/or Home State
1968 Saundra Williams Pennsylvania
1969 Gloria O. Smith New York
1970 Stephanie Clark DC
1971 Joyce Warner Florida
1972 Linda Barney New Jersey
1973 Arniece Russell New York
1974 Von Gretchen Shepard Los Angeles, California
1975 Donzeila Johnson Pennsylvania
1977 Claire Ford Memphis, Tennessee
1978 Lydia Jackson Willingboro, New Jersey
1979 Varetta Shankle Mississippi
1980 Sharon Wright Chicago, Illinois
1981 Yvette Cason Washington, District of Columbia
1982 Susan Wells Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1983 Sonya Robinson Milwaukee, Wisconsin
1984 Lydia S.Garrett Columbia, South Carolina
1985 Amina Fakir Detroit, Michigan
1986 Rachel Oliver Burlington, North Carolina
1987 Leila McBride Denver, Colorado
1988 Regina Wallace Florida
1989 Paula Gwynn Washington DC
1990 Rosie Jones Bridgeport, Connecticut
1991 Sharmell Sullivan Gary, Indiana
1992 Marilyn DeShields Virginia, Richmond
1994 Pilar G. Fort Detroit, Michigan
1995 Karen D. Wallace Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
1996 Basheerah Ahmad Choctaw, Oklahoma
2010 Ashley Anglin-Teen DC Metropolitan
2010 Kamilla Collier-Mullin, Adult DC Metropolitan
2010 Natasha Ashby - Teen Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2010 Donielle Turner, Adult Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2014 Alexandra Morton, Adult Baltimore, Maryland
2015 Jelisa Barringer, Adult Ohio
2016 Nicole Lynette Hibbert, Adult Delaware
2017 Brittany Lewis, Adult District of Columbia
2018 Ryann Richardson Brooklyn, New York

In popular culture[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "The Ritz-Carlton Hotel - Atlantic City" (PDF). Historical Timeline. Retrieved June 25, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Milestones". Miss Black America. Retrieved July 5, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Miss Black America: The Pageant Changed History". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-12-18. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Miss Black America Documentary". AASuccess.com. Retrieved 2016-12-18. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Curtis (Curtis Mayfield album)", Wikipedia, 2019-04-11, retrieved 2019-05-04
  6. ^ "Subjects of Desire". Subjects of Desire. Retrieved 2021-04-09.
  7. ^ "2021 SXSW Film Festival Lineup". SXSW. Retrieved 2021-04-09.