Always in Fashion: Black Women and Their Many Hats

By Melvin Twigg Mason

The National Congress of Black Women Fashion show


The NCBW was founded nationally in 1984 by several notable black women of that era, including the late congresswoman Shirley Chisolm, who was the first black woman to run for president, and the late Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr.  Martin L. King Jr.  The non-profit is “dedicated to the educational, political, economic and cultural development of African American women and families.”


Besides mentoring and non-partisan political awareness programs, Cleveland’s NCBW hosts events to award four academic scholarships annually ($1,000, $750, and two worth $500 each) to well-deserving high-school women in the Cleveland, area.

The National Congress of Black Women Scholarship recipients are:

  • Kennedy Smith (Hawkins HS)
  • Nyla Vallot (Andrews Osborne Academy)
  • Zane Ramoni (Lutheran East HS)
  • Andrea Booker (CMDS)



“Women and Their Many Hats” is a collaboration between NCBW and Got Knacks, coordinated by Mary Addison-Carter and Donesha Jones, founders of Got Knacks. Through seven scenes and various fashion statements, the show identified and highlighted some of the many hats that’s African American women have had to wear to get the most out of life for themselves and their families: from historian to soldier, firespark (at home) to firefighter (in society), businesswoman to blue-collar worker.  She has always had to be PHENOMENAL!





Hats off, NCBW and Got Knacks!