Black News and News Makers in History: Ophelia DeVore Mitchell

Black news from Pasadena - Black News and News Makersf in History recognizes Ophelia DeVore-Mitchell this week in Black history.Ophelia DeVore was born on August 12, 1922 in South Carolina. She describes her parents as being one generation out of slavery. Her parents stressed the importance of communication, appearance and etiquette. They arranged the best education within their means for Ophelia.

After excelling in high school classes that included Latin, German and French, at age 17, she entered the Vogue School of Modeling in New York City. She is considered the first African American model in the United States, though many didn't realize her heritage at the time. She majored in mathematics at New York University.

As a result of an incident in school, she understood why her parents felt communication, social presence, and education were important and was motivated to share them with other African Americans. In 1946, with the help of four friends, she opened the Grace Del Marco Agency and, in 1948, she opened the Ophelia DeVore School of Self Development and Modeling. Enrollees have included Cicely Tyson, Camille Cosby, Gail Fisher, Diahann Carroll, Susan Taylor,, Bernie Casey, Beah Richards, Raymond St. Jacques, and Richard Roundtree. She was the first African American to open a charm school and modeling agency. She started a fashion column in the Black weekly publications to showcase models, designers and stores, then moved into television and began hosting fashion shows.

In 1959, she began publishing the Columbus Times, a weekly Black newspaper in Georgia and, during the civil rights movement, began a marketing firm to help agencies integrate their commercials. She also created a cosmetics line and is one of the founders of the Black Press Archives at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Her goal is to write history in a positive way that documents the great works of those who contributed to a positive image for the African American. It has been a life long goal to move away from stereotyped portrayals of African Americans.

Other accomplishments include serving on four presidential boards for the arts and has served as a consultant for some of the Fortune 500 Corporations. She has received more than 300 awards and honors from corporate, political, educational, governmental and social agencies.

She known to use the phrase "Black is Beautiful" long before it became popular and, as a result of her modeling school and marketing interests, has opened the door of opportunity for African Americans.

Compiled from various Internet sources.


Get our news by email!

Please be sure to add pasadenajournal.com to your approved senders list before subscribing! Learn More
Unsubscribe any time

Search the Journal


Some sections of our site are for registered and/or paid subscribers only. Please login or create an account.

To post Comments, submit events or access Article Archives you must be a registered member:


Missing Something?

Did you know you can get the Pasadena Journal weekly print publication for more news and information?


Black News and News Makers in History

4/24/1884: National Medical Association of Black Physicians organizes in Atlanta, GA.

4/24/1944: Bill Pickett, cowboy, bulldogging rodeo event creator, & Wild West Show star, dies. Read More.

4/25/1918: Ella Fitzgerald, "First Lady of Song," born. Read More.

4/25/1950: Charles "Chuck" Cooper, athlete, first African American drafted by NBA team Boston Celtics.

4/26/1844: Jim Beckwourth, explorer, fur trader, mountain man, discovered path through Sierra Nevadas. Beckwourth Pass (U.S. Alt 40 between Reno, NV & Sacramento, CA) made overland travel to gold fields possible.

4/26/1886: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Blues musician, born.

4/27/1903: W.E.B. DuBois, sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, editor, author, published "The Souls of Black Folk", crystallizing opposition to Booker T. Washington's program of social and political subordination.

4/27/1903: Maggie L. Walker named president of Richmond's St. Luke Bank and Trust Company, becoming first Black woman to head a bank.

4/27/1927: Coretta Scott, civil rights activist, born.

4/28/1924: Don Redman, musical prodigy, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, vocalist & bandleader, first to use oboe as jazz instrument in "After the Storm" solo.

4/29/1945: Richard Wright, author, book, 'Black Boy,' reaches first place on National Best Seller Book List.

4/30/1863: Sarah Thompson Garnet, educator, becomes first African American female principal in New York City public school system.

4/30/1926: Bessie Coleman, first Black woman pilot, dies during Jacksonville FL Negro Welfare League exhibition. Read More.