By Norma Adams-Wade
It’s hard to describe the feeling of watching a deserving person you know fulfill their potential and claim their success.
I was just thinking…I’ve been an eyewitness to such histories and still beam at the memories. Here’s paying tribute to some associates as examples of starting small and ascending high.
Roland Martin – (A dare-devil). Lived and worked for a while in Dallas. After battling his way through a number of media jobs and leadership positions, this national broadcast and print journalist now owns Black Star Network; his own media network that produces and delivers streaming content giving perspective of African American influencers. Ebony magazine three times has chosen the NABJ Hall of Famer as one among the nation’s 150 Most Influential African Americans. Martin has proved that he is comfortable at the top.
Dr. Sheila Detrick Brooks – (An adept climber). This Howard University graduate, journalist and entrepreneur became outstanding in marketing, journalism and business ownership. The 30-plus year veteran former reporter, producer, anchor, and news director ascended from the ground floor of journalism to its heights and is now founder, president and CEO of her own marketing and communications agency, SRB Communications, based in Washington, D. C.. After
years in the industry in Washington State, Brooks entered a management training program at The Dallas Morning News in Texas that opened the door to her new path. She is a three-time recipient of the National Association of Black Journalists’ President’s Award and a 2023 inductee into the NABJ Hall of Fame.
Curtis King – (A visionary). Began refining his acting and writing skills in high school. Illustrious poet Margaret Walker Alexander mentored him at Jackson State University and helped him interact with a number of prominent African-American stage and screen actors, actresses, and entertainers. Ultimately, King founded the Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letter in Dallas that later became The Black Academy of Arts and Letters. He overcame financial and political challenges that threatened to derail the Academy, but under King’s perseverance, it survived and thrived. Today King’s name is revered locally and nationally in African-American theater.
Cheryl Smith – (All things at all times). A proud Florida A&M University (FAMU) journalism graduate and just as proud a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Arriving in Dallas in the early 1980s, she has used her skills in broadcast and print media to develop a strong Dallas-Fort Worth area community voice as a producer, commentator, and host of the KKDA-AM/Blog Talk Radio shows “Reporter’s Roundtable and Cheryl’s World.” Her chutzpah and unwavering drive and vision have taken her to towering heights nationally. She founded the three-prong I Messenger Media in 2011, comprising Texas Metro News, Garland Journal, and I Messenger digital publication. She has held high offices in a number of national media organizations, including the National Association of Black Journalists, Society of Professional Journalists and National Newspaper Publishers Association. She founded the benevolent Don’t Believe the Hype Foundation and has taught journalism at Paul Quinn College, Texas Woman’s University, Dallas College and the University of North Texas.
Rev. Dr. Sheron Patterson – (Astronaut of Faith). The daughter of a policeman and schoolteacher has scaled the heights of leadership in faith groups. This senior pastor of The Park United Methodist Church in Dallas’ Hamilton Park community is a popular innovator in United Methodism and a familiar commentator on social issues in broadcast and print outlets. An author of nine books, she is a trustee at Southern Methodist University where the Perkins School of Theology is her alma mater along with Spelman College. As a breast cancer survivor her community efforts to educate and aid other women is boundless.
John Wiley Price – (rebel with a cause). Many people love to hate “Our Man Downtown.” What an appropriate moniker for this Dallas County Commissioner, District 3 whose public persona is that of a man of steel on a mission. He came to Dallas as a rebel-rousing civil rights protester and now is the ranking member of the Commissioner’s Court where he was elected 38 years ago as the first African American on the Court. He is a tooth-and-nail fighter for equality of Black folk in business and enterprise, for average underserved individuals, and for human and just treatment for the incarcerated.
THERE ARE OTHERS
The list above only scratches the surface. There are so many other veteran and younger achievers, not mentioned, with whom I’ve crossed paths as they ascended. Such as:
Kevin Merida – (A quiet storm). Now executive editor of the Los Angeles Times, who I once taught during a summer journalism program at the University of California at Berkeley. And two of my journalism “babies” who came into the industry years after me: Eva Gray Coleman – (relentless climber). She has ascended with the National Association of Black Journalists. And Dorothy Gentry – (Christlike). Educator and NBA and WNBA correspondent whose father, legendary Black newspaper icon Clarence Gentry, was a friend of mine.
To all of you, Dearly Beloved, I say: “The sky is the limit!”
Norma Adams-Wade, is a proud Dallas native, University of Texas at Austin journalism graduate and retired Dallas Morning News senior staff writer. She is a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists and was its first southwest regional director. She became The News’ first Black full-time reporter in 1974. email@example.com