Margaret Murray Washington already was a well-known educator and women’s activist when she married Tuskegee Institute founder Booker T. Washington and continued that activism during her marriage. On Sept. 12, 1898, the Washingtons gave twin lectures at Old Bethel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. Margaret Washington spoke to African-American women in the church that afternoon (see Final Word, page 60) and used the occasion to describe the disproportionate infant mortality, the problem of unwanted pregnancy and the high death rate among African-Americans. She called on her largely middle-class audience to, among other steps, engage in community service to address these problems.
In the pages that follow, we profile The Network Journal’s 13th annual class of its “25 Influential Black Women in Business” awardees, who, in addition to reaching extraordinary levels of professional and entrepreneurial success, are engaged in service to their community. Ask these women what they would do if time and money were no object and they quickly tell how they would deepen that engagement.
“I would love to teach in a public school. And, in that classroom, deliver a top-notch academic experience to kids who look like me,” says one.
“I would use my skills and talents to replicate the wellness and prevention model I have established at Whittier, to serve people in Africa,” says another.
Still another says, “I would write a comprehensive history of African-American people and the U.S. economy.”
These accomplished women may not have had to seize the streets, as women across North Africa and the Middle East are now doing, for a chance to reach the heights they have attained. They stand on the backs of those who did. Their gratitude is seen in their giveback.
Profiles by Toccara Castleman, Janelle Gordon, Angela Johnson-Meadows, Patrice Toombs, Glenn Townes and Bevolyn Williams Harold