Chapter News


In recognition of Black History Month, the PCMA Southeast Chapter is recognizing notable African Americans from our member states beginning with ALABAMA. The persons referenced here are only a highlight from each state and the information provided by no means reflects all the achievements associated with the individual referenced. Please take time to learn more about the person(s) who most interest you.

Carl Lewis, Birmingham: A dominant sprinter and long jumper, Carl Lewis has won ten Olympic medals, nine of them gold. From 1981 to 1991, he topped the world rankings in the 100 m, 200 m and long jump events, slowly starting to lose his dominance, thereafter, eventually retiring in 1997. His accomplishments have led to numerous accolades, including being voted “World Athlete of the Century” by the International Association of Athletics Federations. Currently a businessperson, he has also appeared in films and television productions.

Condoleezza Rice, Birmingham: The 66th United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made history in 2005 when she became the first female black Secretary of State. She is also the first female to serve as National Security Advisor, a position which she served from 2001 to 2005. One of the most powerful women in the world at one point of time, she has been depicted in Hollywood films.

Coretta Scott King, Heiberger: The American civil rights activist was an ideal foil for her famous husband Martin Luther King Jr. in promoting racial equality. The author and singer led the Women’s Movement and fought for the rights of the LGBT community. She was also known for mobilizing African-Americans during the 1960 US presidential election. She founded the King Centre in Atlanta, a not-for-profit organization.

 Dinah Washington, Tuscaloosa: Born Ruth Lee Jones; August 29, 1924, Washington was an American singer and pianist, one of the most popular black female recording artists of the 1950s. Primarily a jazz vocalist, she performed and recorded in a wide variety of styles including blues, R&B, and traditional pop music, and gave herself the title of “Queen of the Blues”. She was a 1986 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Washington was well known for singing torch songs with a gritty, salty, high-pitched voice, marked by absolute clarity of diction, and clipped, bluesy phrasing.

Hank Aaron, Mobile: Baseball player Hank Aaron, also known as Hammer or Hammerin’ Hank, is remembered for his stint with the MLB teams Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers. Considered one of the greatest baseball players in history, he spent 21 seasons with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves in the National League (NL) and two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League (AL). At the time of his retirement, Aaron held most of the game’s key career power-hitting records. He broke the long-standing MLB record for home runs held by Babe Ruth and remained the career leader for 33 years. The Hammer’s record-breaking bat & ball are featured in the Hank Aaron Terrace @ Truist Park in Atlanta, along with a full-size statue paying homage to the legend in Monument Garden.

Jesse Owens, Oakville: Widely regarded as one of the greatest track and field athletes of all time, Jesse Owens’ three world records in less than an hour in 1935 came to be known as the greatest 45 minutes ever in sports. He was credited with destroying Adolf Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy when he won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics.

Lionel Richie, Tuskegee: an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and composer whose work with the band Commodores and his solo career established him as a successful balladeer of the 1980s. Having sold more than 90 million records, Lionel Richie is one of the best-selling musicians of all time. Also, a philanthropist, Richie helped raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Mae Jemison, Decatur: Former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison became the first Black woman to fly into space, as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. A qualified physician, she has served as a Peace Corps doctor, too. She has written several books and established a non-profit and a tech research organization.

Nat King Cole, Montgomery: Jazz pianist/singer Nat King Cole, father of singer Natalie Cole, is best remembered for tracks such as Too Young and Mona Lisa. His last album, L-O-V-E, was recorded while he battled lung cancer. With The Nat King Cole Show, he became the first African American to host his own show.

Octavia Spencer, Montgomery: An American actress, producer, and author. Widely regarded as one of the best actresses of her generation, Spencer has received several prestigious awards, such as a Golden Globe Award, Academy Award, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Octavia Spencer is the first black actress to have received two successive nominations at the Oscars.

Satchel Paige, Mobile: Legendary baseball pitcher Satchel Paige was part of the MLB and the Negro League Baseball. The National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee began his career playing for the Chattanooga Black Lookouts and later played for teams such as the Cleveland Indians. He was the American League’s first black pitcher.

Willie Mays, Westfield: Considered one of the all-time greats of baseball. His breathtaking catch of Vic Wertz’s fly ball is etched as a great movement in the history of the sport. Associated with New York / San Francisco Giants for about two decades, the former center fielder with record Major League Football putouts, features in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Zora Neale Hurston, Notasulga: Author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. As an African American woman, she often depicted racial issues in the films she made. Her works also reflected her struggles as a black woman. In her early career, she conducted anthropological and ethnographic research and focused more on writing and film-making in her later years. The most popular of her four novels is “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” published in 1937. She also wrote more than 50 short stories, plays, and essays.