Black Women Celebrated in New Book, Savannah’s Black “First Ladies”


Brenda Roberts and Pamela Oglesby
Brenda Roberts and Pamela Oglesby

The phrase “never been done before” wasn’t a roadblock for the women profiled in the book, Savannah’s Black “First Ladies”, Vol. I.

Eight years in the making, Savannah’s Black “First Ladies” is a remarkable collection of short biographies which recognizes African- American women in Savannah who were pioneers “first” in their chosen professions.

The trials and tribulations these women endured to fulfill their calling is a true testimony of their perseverance and strength. They chose not to give up or give in, but to press forward to see their dreams come to fruition – and in so doing, helped open doors for the generations of black women that followed.

Pamela Howard-Oglesby was inspired by God to recognize pioneering black women in Savannah. She collaborated with her long-time friend, Brenda L Roberts and conducted intensive research to bring Savannah’s Black “First Ladies”, Vol. I. to press.

Pamela is a native Savannahian, the youngest daughter born to the late Elmer and Valerie Holland Howard. She is a graduate of Sophronia M. Tompkins High School, and holds an Associate of Science degree from Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service. Pamela is also featured in Savannah’s Black “First Ladies” as the first Licensed Embalmer in Savannah. She is the proud mother of daughter Taiyanika, and has a grandson, Terrence.

Co-author Brenda L. Roberts, the daughter of the late Mrs. Christola Kennedy Bell and the late Mr. & Mrs. Robert T. Adams, is a long-time educator with the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools. She also grew up West Savannah and graduated in the same high school class as Pamela. Brenda earned the B.S. degree in Sociology from Savannah State College (now Savannah State University), the M.Ed. degree in Counseling from Georgia Southern University, and the Ed.S in Educational Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. She currently serves as a Transition Coach at DeRenne Middle School. She is the mother of two daughters, Shondra Roberts- Cohall, and Anetra Roberts- Williams, both honor graduates of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. Brenda also has four grandchildren, Khalid, Maiya, Yasmin, and Ella Christina.

Books may be ordered at the Black Heritage Festival on February 20, 2010. A book signing will be held in the near future. You may contact Pamela at 912- 234-6155 or Brenda at 912-925- 4980 for ordering information.

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