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The Miss Black America beauty contest is a competition for young African-American women – essentially the black version of the popular Miss America pageant. The pageant has garnered the support of artists, activists and performers including Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, and Oprah Winfrey. After 40 years, in 2009 the pageant had a "kick off" in Washington, D.C. to rebrand the competition. The first teen winner was Ashley Anglin. The first runner-up teen was Monet Jackson, a resident of Mitchellville, MD; and Destiny Welch, second runner-up and also an MD resident. The adult winner was DC native and MD resident, Miss Kamilla Collier-Mullin. The first runner-up Miss Cherie A. Bryant, a northern Virginia resident; and the second runner up was Miss Janesia Simmons in the adult pageant.
It was originally a local Philadelphia area contest to protest the lack of black women in the Miss America pageant. J. Morris Anderson created and produced the Miss Black America Pageant on August 17, 1968, at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlantic City. With support from Phillip H. Savage, Tri-State Director of the NAACP, the pageant received nationwide press coverage as a protest against the Miss America Pageant, an event that Mr. Savage and other NAACP leaders had long condemned for exclusion of black women contestants.
In September 1977, NBC televised the Miss Black America contest, the day before CBS televised Miss America.
|Year||Miss Black America||Hometown|
|1969||Gloria O. Smith||New York|
|1972||Linda Barney||New Jersey|
|1973||Arniece Russell||New York|
|1974||Von Gretchen Shepard||Los Angeles|
|1977||Claire Ford||Memphis, Tennessee|
|1978||Lydia Jackson||Willingboro, New Jersey|
|1980||Sharon Wright||Chicago, Illinois|
|1981||Yvette Cason||Washington, District of Columbia|
|1982||Susan Wells||Milwaukee, Wisconsin|
|1984||Lydia S.Garrett||Columbia, South Carolina|
|1985||Amina Fakir||Detroit, Michigan|
|1986||Rachel Oliver||Burlington, North Carolina|
|1987||Leila McBride||Denver, Colorado|
|1989||Paula Gwynn||Washington DC|
|1990||Rosie Jones||Bridgeport, Connecticut|
|1991||Sharmell Sullivan||Gary, Indiana|
|1992||Marilyn DeShields||Virginia, Richmond|
|1993||Leanza Cornett||Jacksonville, Florida|
|1994||Pilar G. Fort||Detroit, Michigan|
|1995||Karen D. Wallace||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma|
|1996||Basheerah Ahmad||Choctaw, Oklahoma|
|2010||Ashley Anglin-Teen||DC Metropolitan|
|2010||Kamilla Collier-Mullin, Adult||DC Metropolitan|
|2010||Natasha Ashby - Teen||Philadelphia|
|2010||Donielle Turner, Adult||Philadelphia|
|2014||Alexandra Morton, Adult||Baltimore|
|2015||Jelisa Barringer, Adult||Ohio|
|2016||Nicole Lynette Hibbert, Adult||Delaware|
|2017||Brittany Lewis, Adult||District of Columbia|
A short documentary on the Miss Black America pageant was produced by The Czar of Black Hollywood director Bayer Mack and released by Block Starz Music Television as part of its Profiles of African-American Success video series.