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Notable Kentucky African Americans Database

<Homecoming Queens, Pageants, Contests>

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Baker, Bettye F.
The following information comes from Dr. Bettye F. Baker, a native of Louisville, KY, who lived on South Western Parkway; the family home was built by Samuel Plato. Dr. Baker was a member of the first African American Girl Scout Troop in Louisville, Troop 108. The troop leader, Ms. Sarah Bundy, lived in the 27th Street block of Chestnut Street. Dr. Baker was the first African American to represent Kentucky at the Girl Scout National Encampment in Cody, Wyoming, and the first African American president of the Kentucky State Girl Scout Conference. She won 3rd prize in the Lion's Club essay contest, "Why I love America," in 1951, but was denied entry into the Brown Hotel to receive her prize at the Lion's Club luncheon. The luncheon was moved to the Seelbach Hotel so that Dr. Baker could receive her prize [see Time article online]. Dr. Baker was among the first African Americans to attend the University of Louisville (U of L), where she earned her undergraduate degree. She was the first African American voted into the U of L Home Coming Queen's Court in 1958. She earned her doctorate in educational administration at Columbia University, her dissertation title is The Changes in the Elementary Principals' Role as a Result of Implementing the Plan to Revise Special Education in the State of New Jersey. Dr. Baker is the author of What is Black? and has published a number of articles, poems, and two juvenile novels that are currently in-print. Her most recent book, Hattie's Decision, will be published in 2010. Dr. Baker has been a columnist with Vineyard Gazette since 2005, she writes the Oak Bluffs column, opinion, and book reviews, all under the byline Bettye Foster Baker. Dr. Baker lives in Pennsylvania. See "Kentucky: sweet land of liberty," Time, 04/16/1951. For more information contact Dr. Bettye F. Baker.

See photo image of Dr. Bettye F. Baker by Gettysburg College, a flikr site.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Scouts (Boys and Girls), Homecoming Queens, Pageants, Contests, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Children's Books and Music
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cody, Wyoming / Pennsylvania

Brown-Lewis, Charliese
Birth Year : 1974
Born in Versailles, Kentucky, Charliese Brown was the third African American to be selected as the Kentucky Derby Festival Queen, crowned in 1996. Derby Festival Queens have been selected every year since 1957; it is believed that the first two African American queens were selected in the 1980s. Becoming a derby queen begins with a nomination. Brown was a junior at Kentucky State University (KSU) when she was nominated by Betty Gibson, Vice President of Student Affairs at KSU. An application and photos were submitted, and Brown was selected as a princess. The Royal Court acted as ambassadors and represented the community at a variety of functions. In addition to being named the Derby Festival Queen in 1996, Charliese Brown was recognized as a member of the 1996 KSU Homecoming Court. She is the daughter of Charles E. Brown Jr. and Geraldine Collins Brown, and a sister to Chantel Brown Depp. For more information see the Kentucky Derby Festival web site and contact Charliese Brown.
Subjects: Homecoming Queens, Pageants, Contests
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Cornett, Valerie C.
Birth Year : 1977
In 1995, at the age of 17, Valerie Cornett became the first African American homecoming queen at Hazard High School in Hazard, KY. For more see "Black students make history at high schools in Kentucky and Alabama," Jet, vol. 89, issue 2 (11/20/1995), p. 25.
Subjects: Homecoming Queens, Pageants, Contests
Geographic Region: Hazard, Perry County, Kentucky

Depp, Chantel R. Brown
Birth Year : 1969
Chantel R. B. Depp was born in Versailles, KY, the daughter of Charles E. Brown Jr. and Geraldine Collins Brown. In 1986, she was the first (and to date, the last) African American named homecoming queen of Woodford County High School. Depp was the school's prom queen in 1987; 20 years earlier, in 1967, her mother had been voted prom queen. Depp was Ms. Black U of L in 1988-89; Ms. Woodford County Fair Queen in 2000; and 3rd runner-up in the Mrs. Kentucky America Pageant. She was the first African American to be hired in the executive office of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; she joined the staff in 2004 as an employment recruiter and served as a staff assistant to the commissioner. Depp received the Diversity Award at the 2006 Southeastern Association of the Fish Wildlife Agencies Conference. She was the recipient of the 2005 Employee Support Award from Kentucky State University's Office of Career Counseling and Placement for her student recruitment efforts. Chantel Depp is a communication graduate of the University of Kentucky and earned a master's degree in public administration at Kentucky State University with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She is a graduate of the Governor's Minority Management Trainee Program. Depp is an instructor and model with Images Model Talent Agency, and since 1999 has been a choreographer with the Woodford County Fair Pageant Board. She has also been a dance coach and is an active leader in the St. Paul A.M.E. Church. Depp is the sister of Charliese Brown-Lewis. This information is taken, with permission, from the resume of Chantel Brown Depp.

See photo image of Chantel R. Depp at the Kentucky State University website.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Education and Educators, Homecoming Queens, Pageants, Contests, Fish & Wildlife, Forestry
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky

Goodwin, Leoda E. Lynn
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2005
Goodwin was born in Paducah, KY, where she graduated from Lincoln High School. When Leoda Lynn was a sophomore in college, her boyfriend and future husband, William Goodwin, encouraged her to enter the new popularity contest that was being held on campus. Goodwin represented her boyfriend's club, A.P.B, a fraternity. She won the title of 1929 Miss Kentucky State [Industrial College for Colored Persons], the first to hold the title. The 75th Anniversary of the event was held in 2004 at the school (now named Kentucky State University). After her marriage, Goodwin returned to college and earned her B.A. in mathematics from Kentucky State University and her M.A. in education from the University of Kentucky. She was a math teacher at old Dunbar High School and Bryan Station High School in Lexington, KY. For more see M. Davis, "Once a Queen, Always a Queen - first Miss Kentucky State has set example for rest to follow," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/14/2004, p. D2; and Leoda Lynn Goodwin in "Obituaries and Memorials" in the Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/05/2005, City & Region section, p. B3.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Homecoming Queens, Pageants, Contests
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Hopkins, Nadine
Birth Year : 1972
Hopkins, from Owenton, KY, was named homecoming queen at Northern Kentucky University in her senior year, 1994, her nomination sponsored by the Black Women's Organization. She was the first African American homecoming queen at the university. For more see "NKU homecoming queen's coronation makes history," The Kentucky Post, 02/14/1994, p. 6K.
Subjects: Homecoming Queens, Pageants, Contests, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Owenton, Owen County, Kentucky

Lewis, Lyda F.
Birth Year : 1948
In 1973, Lyda Lewis became the first African American to be named Miss Kentucky in the 26 year history of the competition. Lewis was the Kentucky representative to the Miss America pageant held in Atlantic City, NJ. Lewis, born in Maysville, KY, was a 1966 graduate of the then recently integrated Maysville High School, where she was one of the first African American cheerleaders. She is a 1970 graduate of Morehead State University. She was also the first African American homecoming queen at Morehead State in 1967. Lewis was employed as a special education teacher in Louisville, KY, in 1973, and planned to pursue her master's degree at the University of Louisville. She had been the runner-up in the 1972 Miss Kentucky pageant, and with her win in 1973, she received a $1,000 scholarship, $500 cash wardrobe, and a 1973 automobile. Lyda Lewis was Miss Jeffersontown in 1972 and Miss Louisville in 1973. She was the third African American to participate in the Miss America pageant, the first from the South. After her pageant career, Lyda Lewis was an actor and model in New York. For more see "First Black Miss Kentucky named," Lexington Leader, 07/16/1973; "Kentucky beauty queen wins on her second try," Jet, 08/09/1973, p. 17; "Miss Kentucky is black," New York Times, 07/16/1973, p. 16; and the Lyda Lewis entry by J. Klee in The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky, edited by P. A. Tenkotte and J. C. Claypool.

See the 1973 photo image of Lyda Lewis at Miss Kentucky website.
Subjects: Homecoming Queens, Pageants, Contests, Migration North
Geographic Region: Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

 

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