Women’s History Month

Black Beauties: African American Pageant Queens in the Segregated South:

Now that women’s history month is here, let’s explore this recently published book about influential, strong, motivational women, entitled, “The Black Beauties: African American Pageant Queens in the Segregated South” (American Heritage). by Author Kimberly Brown Pellum PhD., The book details the tradition of African American Pageantry as produced by black churches, organizations, fraternities, sororities, clubs, etc., before, during, and after the periods of integration said Dr. Pellum.

“What I really sought out to do was to write a record of black rituals as it relates to the celebration and honoring of Black women without the white gaze”, she continued. Dr. Pellum’s goal was to establish Black pageantry along the same lines as the Black Church or Black baseball. Dr. Pellum also mentioned “some people speak about how we wish there was still Black baseball league, or how we wish there were still Black Wall Street like there was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She thinks it’s important that we still acknowledge the traditions that still remain with us. Dr. Pellum’s inspiration was her mother and grandmother. She states that, “they are fabulous women who adorned themselves, every Sunday, with pearls and red lipstick. particularly, in the winter time they wore their minks to church, so I’ve always been so dazzled, by the presentation by the black women.Dr. Pellum went on to say, “they always took me to parades when I was very young to see Miss Alabama State and Miss Tuskegee, and I would see those young women perched up on floats wearing their white gloves, and their mink stoles, and being lauded by crowds of people.” She was always fascinated by that, and she enjoyed it and that’s what peaked her interest. As Dr. Pellum developed as a scholar, she wanted to explore the politics of black tradition and black beauty. Dr. Pellum hopefully sees herself in a few years solidifying herself as a quality professor who makes her students excited about history, and hope to mold them as professionals and also hope that the work she leaves behind as a historian in some ways inspire her daughter, in the way that her mother’s introduction of history, motivated, and shaped her life.

Photo from Color Magazine October 1945
Photo from Color Magazine October 1945

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