She Met Her Prince (for Real!) at a D.C. Nightclub – New York Times

Ariana Austin and Joel Makonnen aka Prince Yoel (Credit: Jared Soares for The New York Times)

by Katie Rogers via nytimes.com

Few love stories resemble a fairy tale as much as the courtship and marriage of Ariana Austin and Joel Makonnen. Of course, it helped that the groom is an actual prince and the bride has a prominent lineage of her own. Mr. Makonnen, known as Prince Yoel, is the 35-year-old great-grandson of Haile Selassie, the last emperor of Ethiopia. And Ms. Austin, 33, is of African-American and Guyanese descent; her maternal grandfather was a lord mayor of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana.

As the couple noted on their wedding website, their union happened when “Old World aristocracy met New World charm.” The old and new combined on Sept. 9, in a marathon day of events that lasted from 11 a.m. until late in the evening, and took place within two states.

The festivities began with a ceremony at the Debre Genet Medhane Alem Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church in Temple Hills, Md. In an incense-filled sanctuary, guests in stockinged feet watched as at least 13 priests and clergymen helped officiate the Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony between Mr. Makonnen and Ms. Austin, who just days before had converted to the religion.

Hours after the ceremony, the pair celebrated with a formal reception at Foxchase Manor in Manassas, Va., with 307 guests, amid gold sequins, platters of Ethiopian food and preboxed slices of Guyanese black cake for people to take home. Their marriage had been more than a decade in the making. In the nearly 12 years since they first met on a dance floor at the Washington nightclub Pearl, in December 2005, Mr. Makonnen and Ms. Austin have pursued degrees, jobs and, at times, each other. Eventually, planning a wedding just became the next item on this ambitious couple’s to-do list. “I think we both had this feeling that this was our destiny,” Ms. Austin said. “But I felt like I had things that I had to do.”

When the two met, Mr. Makonnen didn’t tell Ms. Austin about his royal background, and Ms. Austin, who was 21 at the time, wasn’t necessarily looking to meet her future husband. She was in the middle of a time in her life she fondly referred to as “the summer that never ended.” Mr. Makonnen, himself in bachelor mode, approached Ms. Austin and her friend Jami Ramberan, and told the two women that they looked like models for a brand of alcohol. “I said, ‘You guys look like an ad for Bombay Sapphire,’ or whatever the gin was,” Mr. Makonnen recalled of the pickup line, one now infamous with Ms. Austin’s family. (At the wedding, even Ms. Ramberan, a bridesmaid, recalled the strangeness of that evening: “You don’t expect to meet the person you’re going to marry at Pearl.”) Mr. Makonnen quickly focused on Ms. Austin: “Not even five minutes later I said, ‘You’re going to be my girlfriend.’ ”

To read full article, go to: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/13/fashion/weddings/she-met-her-prince-the-great-grandson-of-haile-selassie.html

Northwestern Professor and Poet Natasha Trethewey Wins the $250,000 Heinz Award in Arts and Humanities

Natasha Trethewey (photo via creativeloafing.com)

via jbhe.com

Natasha Trethewey, the Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, has been selected to receive the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities. The award comes with an unrestricted $250,000 prize. Teresa Heinz, chair of the Heinz Family Foundation, stated that Professor Trethewey’s “writing captivates us with its power and its ability to personalize and fearlessly illuminate stories of our past as a people and a nation. We honor her not only for her body of work, but for her contributions as a teacher and mentor dedicated to inspiring the next generation of writers.”

Professor Trethewey is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection, Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and three other poetry collections. She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press, 2010). Professor Trethewey served two terms as poet laureate of the United States. A native of Gulfport, Mississippi, Professor Trethewey is a graduate of the University of Georgia. She holds a master’s degree from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Professor Trethewey will be honored with three other Heinz Award winners at a ceremony in Pittsburgh on October 18.

Source: Natasha Trethewey Wins the $250,000 Heinz Award in Arts and Humanities : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

U.S. Postal Service Honors National Museum of African American History and Culture with Forever Stamp

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by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Opened just a year ago on Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) became the 19th Smithsonian museum and the only national museum devoted exclusively to African American life, art, history and culture. The museum’s collections, which include art, artifacts, photographs, films, documents, data, books, manuscripts and audio recordings, represent all regions of the United States and acknowledge the cultural links of African Americans to the black experience around the world as well.

To commemorate NMAAHC, the United States Postal Service is issuing a Forever Stamp in its honor. The stamp art is based on a photograph of the museum showing a view of the northwest corner of the building. Text in the upper-left corner of the stamp reads “National Museum of African American History and Culture.”

The First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony will be held on Friday, October 13 in Washington DC at the NMAAHC, and the stamp will be available for purchase nationwide that same day.

The U.S. Postal Service will post a video of the event at facebook.com/USPS. Share the news on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #NMAAHC and #APeoplesJourney.

Katherine G. Johnson Computational Facility Opens at NASA Langley Research Center

NASA Legend Katherine Johnson with Dr. Yvonne Cagle (photo by Megan Shinn via 11alive.com)

via 11alive.com

HAMPTON, Va. (WVEC) — An American treasure is being honored in Hampton. A new facility at the NASA Langley Research Center is named after Katherine Johnson. She’s the woman featured in the movie “Hidden Figures” for her inspiring work at NASA Langley. People knew the mathematician as a “human computer” who calculated America’s first space flights in the 1960s. “I liked what I was doing, I liked work,” said Katherine.

The 99-year-old worked for NASA at a time when it was extremely difficult for African-Americans — especially women — to get jobs in the science field. “My problem was to answer questions, and I did that to the best of my ability at all time,” said Katherine. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. She said, “I was excited for something new. Always liked something new.” U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck, and “Hidden Figures” author Margot Lee Shetterly were among the dignitaries who were on hand to honor Johnson.

Governor McAuliffe said, “Thank goodness for the movie and the book that actually came out and people got to understand what this woman meant to our county. I mean she really broke down the barriers.” The Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility (CRF) is a $23 million, 37,000-square-foot energy efficient structure that consolidates five Langley data centers and more than 30 server rooms. One NASA astronaut, Doctor Yvonne Cagle, said Katherine is the reason she is an astronaut today. “This is remarkable, I mean it really shows that when you make substantive contributions like this, that resonate both on and off the planet. There’s no time like the present.” Doctor Cagle said she’s excited the new building is named after Katherine. “Thank you all, thank everyone for recognizing and bringing to light this beautiful hidden figure,” said Cagle.

The facility will enhance NASA’s efforts in modeling and simulation, big data, and analysis. Much of the work now done by wind tunnels eventually will be performed by computers like those at the CRF. NASA Deputy Director of Center Operations, Erik Weiser said, this new facility will help them with their anticipated Mars landing in 2020.

Source: NASA legend Katherine Johnson honored in Hampton | 11alive.com

1st Black Men to Integrate U.S. Marines Honored 75 Years Later

John Thompson, Cleo Florence, Robert Thomas and Mack Haynes were honored on Saturday for their service as Marines. (WFMY)

by Taryn Finlay via huffingtonpost.com

The first African Americans to ever serve in the United States Marine Corps were honored on Saturday during a special ceremony at Joe C. Davidson Park in Burlington, North Carolina. For the 75th anniversary of Montford Point Marine Day ― which marks the day President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order to intregrate the Marines ― the Corps honored the black men who were trained at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina to become Marines in the 1940s.

Between 1942 and 1949, more than 20,000 servicemen received their basic training at Montford Point, according to the Camp Lejeune Globe. About 300 of them are still alive. Four of those men ― John Thompson, Cleo Florence, Robert Thomas and Mack Haynes ― were in attendance for Saturday’s ceremony, the Burlington Times News reports. “When I went in in 1947, how things was then and how things have progressed and how they are today… there’s been a great change, but there still be more change and we may be able to have one nation under God and one people.”

To read full article and to see video, go to: First Black Men To Enlist As Marines Honored 75 Years Later | HuffPost

Briana Scurry Becomes 1st African-American Woman Elected to National Soccer Hall of Fame

World Cup and Olympic Gold medalist goalie Brianna Curry (photo via theundefeated.com)

by Rihannon Walker via theundefeated.com

Briana Scurry’s soccer career began in Dayton, Minnesota. The 12-year-old was the only African-American and only girl on the team. Thirty-two years later, Scurry became the only African-American woman in the National Soccer Hall of Fame after she was elected recently in her fourth year of eligibility. The starting goaltender for the U.S. women’s national team that won the 1999 Women’s World Cup also was the first female goalie chosen for the hall, according to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff.

Scurry, who has been eligible since 2014, was the lone player elected among 33 nominees announced in May. Dr. Joe Machnik, a former player, coach, referee and commissioner, joined Scurry in the 2017 class. U.S. Soccer said details about the induction ceremony will be unveiled later.

A 14-year soccer veteran, Scurry retired from the Washington Freedom of the Women’s Professional Soccer League seven years ago. She suffered a career-ending concussion after taking a knee to the temple at full speed from a Philadelphia Independence forward. A gold medalist with the U.S. team at the 1996 and 2004 Summer Olympics, Scurry is remembered for her cross-net deflection of China’s Liu Ying’s spot kick that set up Brandi Chastain’s game-winning penalty-kick-to-shirtless-slide succession in the 1999 Women’s World Cup.

“It’s a fantastic honor to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. I remember watching the Olympics on the couch with my parents at 8 years old, dreaming of becoming an Olympian myself. It was with their help – and that of my coaches, teammates and countless others – that I was blessed to not only become an Olympian, but an Olympic and World Cup champion,” Scurry told U.S. Soccer. “Soccer had already given me so much more than I could possibly give back. Now, to be inducted alongside the likes of Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly – I am truly humbled. And though my mother and father have passed, I can feel their pride swell. Thank you for letting me play for you, and thank you all for this incredible honor.”

To read full article, go to: Briana Scurry is the first African-American woman elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame

Rozetia Ellis, Former Seamstress at now-Bankrupt Bridal Store, Becomes Hero for Brides-To-Be

Rozetia Ellis (photo via cbsnews.com)

by David Begnaud via cbsnews.com

Alfred Angelo‘s slogan “your dream, your dress” became “your loss” when the bridal giant abruptly closed last month, declared bankruptcy and left brides-to-be lined up and stood up. “I thought we’re never gonna see ’em again. Let’s not even bother. They’re gone,” said Stephanie Huey. And they were gone. Both of Stephanie Huey’s bridesmaids dresses, as well as the dresses of the other heartbroken women who purchased at an Oklahoma City store.

Rozetia Ellis took them home. “Loaded in my car, front, trunk, back seat, side panel, on the floor board, until they stacked all the way up to the top,” Ellis said. She was a contracted seamstress of the store who had lost her job but rescued those dresses. “At that point we thought, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you.’ You know, we were so grateful,” Huey said.

But Rose, as she’s known, had one more surprise. At her home in Tulsa, she was working on a special wedding gift. Stitch by stitch, she is altering more than 80 dresses for free. “I was dumbfounded. Honestly dumbfounded,” Huey said. “My integrity says I have to, ok? So, you have standards for yourself then you live up to those standards,” Ellis said.

Once a week, Ellis fills her car with dresses and drives 110 miles to an Oklahoma City hotel to deliver them. Motivated to do something, Huey has raised at least $5,600 for Ellis through a Go Fund Me page. “It’s going down fast — I’ve been just a busy bee,” Ellis said. The Oklahoma grandmother says she will continue working 15-hour days and making those weekly drive to meet the brides, until the 20 or so gowns that are left fit just right.

To read full article and see video, go to: Former Alfred Angelo seamstress becomes hero for desperate brides-to-be – CBS News