February is Black History Month
My interest in etiquette started when my Mom sent me to Wendy Ward Charm School and as they say the rest is history. When networking, people often ask me what I do and I tell them, I teach etiquette. Some look at me peculiar, as if only people from certain cultures can teach etiquette. Etiquette is embracing of all cultures, and as a consultant/coach I would be remiss if I did not share with you this history and some of the African American trailblazers in etiquette.
Ptahhotep, was an ancient Egyptian vizier (City administrator) who served under Pharoah Isesi during the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt. He is considered the Father of Ethics and with authoring The Maxims of Ptahhotep, an instruction on appropriate behavior in young men.
Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown 1883 – 1961. An educator and the founder of Palmer Memorial Institute, a boarding schoolfor African Americans located in Sedalia, North Carolina which existed until 1971. Brown is the author of The Correct Thing – To Do, to Say to Wear, an etiquette book which was published in 1940.
Maxine Powell – 1915-2013 She was the founder of the Maxine Powell Finishing School in Detroit, Michigan which trained African American models . She later became the Director of Artist Development department within Motown Records during the 1960s. She taught the artists deportment – how to groom, dress and carry themselves in public. She worked with Motown artists such as the Supremes and the Jackson 5.
Ophelia Devore 1922 -2014 A businesswoman, model and publisher of the Columbus Times, a paper for the African-American community in Georgia . Devore helped to open one of the first modeling school and agencies, Grace Del Marco and is noted with helping Diahann Carrol and Cicely Tyson’s career. She opened a charm school for women to learn etiquette and presentation skills which was located in the Empire State Building in New York.