Defying the odds is just one phrase used to describe the tenacity and dedication we use to prevail. For as long as our grandparents and great-grand parents history dates back, we as a people have revolutionized almost every major entity – including the less popular professions such as figure skating, country music, and the navy. We are EVERYWHERE.
Let’s get into some ‘Mocha’ history!
In 2010, Vanessa James and Yannick Bonheur of France were the first black couple to compete in the Olympics. At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, their acrobatic free skate program electrified the crowd at the Pacific Coliseum. They representing France in the Olympics games but it is a remarkable accomplishment for a couple of skaters who only met in December of 2007. The couple is currently placed at 15th on the Olympic charts!
Carl Brashear was from Larue County, Kentucky and the Africa-American Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate and the first black Master Diver in the Navy. In 1970 he qualified as the first black master diver in the history of the U.S. Navy and was the first Navy diver to be restored to full active duty as an amputee. His life was depicted in the 2000 movie “Men of Honor” starring Cuba Gooding Jr.
Charley Pride is one of the most successful African-American country singers of all time, with a career spanning over 40 years and 39 number one hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. He is also the first African-American to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Pride was a baseball player with the Negro League and the Memphis Red Sox before becoming a successful musician. His greatest musical success came in the early to mid-1970s when he became the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis Presley.
Donyale Luna was the FIRST black cover girl appearing on the cover of the British Vogue magazine in March 1966. In 1967, the mannequin manufacturer Adel Rootstein created a mannequin in Luna’s image, a follow-up to the company’s Twiggy mannequin of 1966; she was 5 foot 10 (1.78 m) and her measurements were 31-21.5-36 (79-55-91 cm), giving her a waist-to-hip ration (WHR) of 0.60. That is extremely low for a fashion model, but this was just before Twiggy; She appeared in several movies produced by Andy Warhol
Toni Stone was the 1st of 3 women to play Negro league baseball. She became one of the first women to play as a regular on a big-league professional team in 1953. In 1985, Stone was inducted into the Women’s Sports Foundation’s International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. In 1990 she was included in two exhibits at the Baseball Hall of Fame, one on “Women in Baseball” and another on “Negro League Baseball”. In 1993, Stone was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, as well as the Sudafed International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Happy Black History Month!