Cheryl A. Brown Hollingsworth
Lenora Slaughter, A Southern Baptist and Businesswoman, Served As Director Of The Pageant In Its Early Years And Instituted The Notorious "Rule No. 7," Which Stated "contestants must be of good health and of the white race." As Late As 1940, All Contestants Were Required To List On Their Formal Biological Data Sheet, How Far Back They Could Trace Their Ancestry.
To Protest The Racist Miss America Pageant, The First Miss Black Miss America Pageant Was Held In Atlantic City In 1968, On The Same Day As The Miss America Pageant.
Brown-Hollingsworth, Now A Wife, Mother And Manager Of A Financial Center For First Union National Bank In Atlanta, Georgia, Has Said Of Her Experience: “I don't feel I personally changed the pageant but I feel that my presence expanded people's minds and their acceptance. And, in subsequent years, they were much more open to African-American candidates.”
In 1984, Vanessa Williams Became The First Black Miss America. Suzette Charles Was First Runner Up And Eventually Became The Second Black Woman To Wear The Crown. Other Black Miss America Pageant Winners Include: Debbye Turner (1990), Marjorie Vincent (1991), Kimberly Aiken (1994) And Caressa Cameron (2009).
"In Order For Black History To Live, We Must Continue To Breathe Life Into It." - Hubert A. Gaddy, Jr.