Whitney Houston began her career at 14 as a background singer for legends likes Chaka Khan and Lou Rawls. One of the best-selling artists of all time has sold almost 200 million records globally. She influenced many young and aspiring artists with her videos like “How Will I Know” (1985). She also starred in several films, such as "The Bodyguard” (1992), “Waiting to Exhale” (1995), and “The Preacher's Wife” (1996). She won a total of seven Grammy Awards, including the Album of the Year for the soundtrack of “The Bodyguard” and Record of the Year for "I Will Always Love You."
The origin of the potato chip: As the story goes, Crum became agitated when a customer sent his French-fried potatoes back to the kitchen, complaining that they were cut too thickly. Crum reacted by slicing the potatoes as thin as he possibly could, frying them in grease and sending the crunchy brown chips back out on the guest's plate that way.
The reaction was unexpected: The guest loved the crisps. In fact, other guests began asking for them as well, and soon Crum's "Saratoga Chips" became one of lodge's most popular treats.
In 1860, Crum opened his own restaurant, "Crumbs House," near Saratoga Lake where he catered to an upscale clientele. One of the restaurant's attractions was that a basket of potato chips was placed on every table
Beyoncé rose to fame in the late 1990s as part of Destiny's Child. She went on to have a massively successful solo career, delivering many No. 1 singles, including “Crazy In Love” and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)." She is a winner of 20 Grammy Awards and with over 60 nods became the most nominated female artist in the award's history.
Often called the “Queen of All Media,” Oprah Winfrey is best known for her long-running talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show” (1986-2011). Ranked as the richest African-American and North America’s first and only multi-billionaire black person, Winfrey is also praised for her philanthropic efforts. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, and she has been called “the world’s most powerful woman” by CNN and Time.com.
Often called the greatest tennis player of all time, Serena Williams has been ranked number 1 in the world for 300 weeks in her career. She holds the record for most Open-era titles, with eight Australian Opens, three French Opens, seven Wimbledon and six U.S. Open titles. She’s also an Olympian who has won four gold medals. Williams has also been featured in the 2010 Time magazine list of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” and regularly makes it to the Forbes list of “The Celebrity 100.” The highest paid female athlete in 2016, she was also named Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsperson of the Year” in 2015.
Barack Obama was the first U.S. President of African origin. Obama served two terms as President and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama implemented health care reform and spoke about the need for Americans to remain united, despite differences of political opinion.
Most people think of Rosa Parks as the first person to refuse to give up their seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. There were actually several women who came before her; one was Claudette Colvin.
Nine months before Rosa Parks, fifteen-year-old Claudette refused to move to the back of the bus. At the time, the NAACP and other related organizations felt Rosa Parks, who was older, middle class, and light-skinned, made a better icon than a poorer, dark-skinned teenager. Therefore, Rosa became the face for the movement. She served as one of four women who challenged and overthrew Alabama segregation law in Browder v. Gayle.
Cathay Williams was born in Independence, Missouri to a free man and an enslaved woman. As such, she was legally a slave. Due to the prohibition against women serving in the military, Cathay Williams enlisted in the U.S. Army under the name William Cathay. She was the first African-American woman to enlist in the U.S. military, and she was able to hide behind her male facade for two years before her identity was discovered.
Jesse Owens was an American track and field athlete. He specialized in the sprints and the long jump and was recognized in his lifetime as "perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history.” At the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, Owens achieved international fame by winning four gold medals in the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump, and 4 x 100 relay. He was the most successful athlete at the Olympics and, as an African-American man, was credited with "single-handedly crushing Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy."
Sophia A. Strother is the Founder of Empowerment Driven by Knowledge Coalition (EDKC). EDKC manages a statewide awareness campaign on sexual abuse and domestic violence titled #GETLOUDGETOUT and “Creating a SAFE ZONE within the Church.” Her tireless efforts to raise awareness around domestic violence and sexual abuse led to being commissioned a “Yellow Rose of Texas Award," which is given through the Office of the Governor to recognize women for their significant contributions to Texas.
Sophia also enthusiastically exhibits her passion by aiding different organizations’ fundraising efforts. Over the years, she has helped raise over $3.5 million dollars, benefitting social, education, and economic issues. Along with her work as an advocate and inspirational speaker, Sophia is a writer, authoring both “Sophia I’m Back” and a 9-week study guide detailing her own journey of survival and service to others called “Taking My Life Back.” She also recently published “African American survivors invisible in plain sight,” an article highlighting the disproportional number of African American victims of abuse, in The Texas Tribune.
Sophia is one of my personal heroes. Her kindness and strength despite challenging circumstances is admirable and inspiring. I cannot wait to see the impact she continues to make in the lives of others, the state of Texas, and around the world.
-Katie Watson, NAACP Website Manager
For frequent updates, visit the Facebook page of Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder!