Trailblazers

Caroline R. Jones
1977 Jones becomes the first black female vice president of a major advertising agency: BBDO. She is also the co-founder of Mingo-Jones Advertising, where she created the catchphrase “We do chicken right” for Kentucky Fried Chicken. In 1986 she opens Caroline Jones Advertising.

Janice Bryant Howroyd
1978 Howroyd starts ACT•1 Personnel Services as a single-office operation that evolves into the ACT•1 Group, a global organization and leader in the human resources industry. In 2011 ACT-1 holds the No. 3 spot on the be industrial/service companies list of the nation’s largest black-owned companies, with $1.4 billion in revenues, becoming the first billion-dollar company owned by a black woman on our list.

Dorothy E. Brunson
1979 Brunson buys WEBB-AM Radio in Baltimore, becoming the first African American woman to own a radio station. In 1986 she buys WGTW-TV in Philadelphia.

Cathy L. Hughes
1980 Hughes establishes Radio One Inc., which grows from one to 70 radio stations in 22 urban markets. In 1999 she takes Radio One public, one of a few black-owned companies on NASDAQ, making her the first African American woman to head a publicly traded firm. In 2004, she aligns with Comcast to create the cable network TV One. Radio One ranks No. 13 and TV One ranks No. 32 on the be industrial/service companies list with $279 million and $106.5 million in revenues, respectively.

Suzanne de Passe
1981 de Passe, noted for discovering the Jackson 5, is named president of Motown Productions, where she gains recognition for producing the television special Motown 25 and the drama series Lonesome Dove. In 1992, she forms de Passe Entertainment, creating situation comedies Sister, Sister and Smart Guy and the miniseries The Temptations and The Jacksons: An American Dream.

Jacqueline L. Edgar
1983 Edgar purchases a Chevrolet dealership, making her the first African American woman to be the sole owner of a new car dealership. In 1985 she buys a Ford dealership.

Aulana L. Peters
1984 A partner at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Grutcher, Peters becomes the first African American commissioner—and the third woman—of the Securities Exchange Commission, the financial body regulating the securities industries.

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ACROSS THE WEB
  • Winifed Williams

    March 19, 2012
    Dear Sir,
    As a child I remember the excitement and joy over the achievement of my cousin, Mary ruth Johnson. At the time Mary Ruth became the head of the
    personnel department at the Pratt & Whitney Co., in Kansas City, Missouri. It was the first time a Black woman had held that position.
    Her pictured appeared either in the Kansasa City, Star, or the Black newspaer.
    Sincerely,
    Winifred Williams