Miss Black America Pageant Goes Back To Atlantic City Where It All Began
Miss Black America will crown its next pageant Queen on Dec. 16 in Atlantic City, NJ, broadcasted by Black America Network.
Miss Black America will celebrate its 55th anniversary as the pageant returns to its origins in Atlantic City.
On Dec. 16, young African American women will compete in the beauty contest to claim the title. It was first held in Atlantic City in 1968.
“After meeting with civic leaders across the U.S., we are thrilled to bring Miss Black America back to where it all started,” J. Morris Anderson, the event’s founder and senior executive producer, said in a statement to Press of Atlantic City.
According to an interview with Ralph Hunter Sr., the original pageant launched in 1968 after Black women were rejected from competing in Miss America. Hunter Sr. said, at the time, “Rule number seven of the Miss America pageant stated you had to be of good health and of white race” to be part of the competition. African Americans were displeased with the rule that knocked local Black pageant winners out of the competition. As a result, the founder, who he knew as “Johnson,” booked the Ritz Carlton and curated a space to crown Black queens.
“Buoyed by the winds of social change, the Miss Black America Pageant was carried to the boardwalk of Atlantic City, NJ,” the pageant’s website wrote. “With our beautiful, Black, queenly contestants, we paraded down that famous boardwalk — pausing for a moment in front of the official home of the Miss America Pageant — then, we moved on and into the streets of Atlantic City.”
Media mogul Oprah Winfrey won Miss Black America in 1971 as a 17-year-old college student at the University of Tennessee.
The reigning Miss Black America, Gabrielle Wilson, will crown the 55th Queen at this year’s event.
Rehearsals for Miss Black America are scheduled to begin Dec. 9. The event will be held at the Showboat Atlantic City Hotel at 801 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ. Tickets are available for purchase online.
“The Miss Black America Pageant and companion Black History TV Special will be syndicated locally and nationally by our network Black America Network (BAN),” Anderson said. According to Miss Black America, the TV special will feature Miss Black America contestants between the ages of 17 and 29 years old, Little Miss Black America between the ages of 7 and 12, Miss Black America Teen between the ages of 13 and 16, and Senior Miss Black America for women ages 55 and up.